Is Crowdfunding Taxable?

is crowdfunding taxable

There are obligations you should understand when dealing with the money raised from crowdfunding. In a nutshell, there are tax implications. It can be considered taxable income. But there are some exceptions to the tax law in the USA.

Confused? That’s because the platform is relatively new. And there are different ways to use crowdfunding proceeds with the different types of crowdfunding campaigns.

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Read on, this article will sort everything out for you. It will deal with the issues you need to know about what are considered nontaxable gifts, how crowdfunding taxes work, and what’s considered income.

What Is Crowdfunding?

This is a way of raising money to finance businesses and projects through a crowdfunding campaign. Crowdfunding projects generally raise money through websites from a large number of people. There are a few different ways to generate funds. Startups use these platforms, so it’s a great way to raise money when a business begins.

Do I Have to Pay Taxes on Crowdfunding Income?

Yes and no. For tax purposes, you’ll need to raise over $20,000 and have over 200 transactions. Those gross amount thresholds are considered taxable business income. But there are other situations with no income tax consequences. Like nontaxable gifts. But it’s a good idea to make sure that you understand any gift tax limit imposed by the IRS.

Is Crowdfunding Taxable?

When Does the IRS Consider Crowdfunded Money a Gift Instead of Taxable Income?

The Internal Revenue Service requires that everyone keep complete and accurate records when reporting crowdfunding income. The money raised might not be attached to some kind of product or service sold by the campaign. Or a benefit/reward, then it’s not taxable. Think donation to a charity or nonprofit.

Here’s another helpful hint. Taxing authorities return good records for fund distribution and fundraising. A crowdfunding organizer should maintain these for three years. They might be required for tax returns on federal income tax.

There are a few concepts you’ll need to read about . Here’s a link to some information on the IRS website that’s helpful. Taxation can come down to intention.

Gifts that are given out of charity, admiration, respect, or other like impulses fall under the banner of detached and disinterested generosity. That determines whether the money can be included in your income for donation-based crowdfunding or other types.

Crowdfunding Income Tax for Businesses

Using a crowdfunding website for things like startup costs is different. Deciding if crowdfunding donation taxable income needs to be reported depends on a few factors for a new business.

Read on to sort through what taxable business income is. And what needs another type of tax treatment, plus where crowdfunding contributions fit in.

Remember things can get complicated. Depending on the accounting method used, payments distributed through a client’s crowdfunding income need a 1099-K. But the name of the filer might not be on the form. It could list the payment processor instead. Best to get any issues with crowdfunding taxes straightened out with the tax pros. The number of filings is expected to jump in the calendar years beginning after 2021.

Is Crowdfunding Taxable?

Business Income from Reward-based Crowdfunding

Reward-based crowdfunding helps businesses get money. It’s a popular tool. If you offer a gift or reward in return for a pledge, the money is considered taxable income. That makes it susceptible to federal tax.

Gifts can include copies of a new album if you’re a musician raising money.

Business Income from Equity-based Crowdfunding

There are rules for this type of crowdfunding. Businesses collect small sums of money from big numbers of private investors. And these investors get a financial stake in the business. This is one way to fund businesses. The pledges don’t need to be claimed as income on a tax return. Because securities are offered. The equity interest is a big draw to bring money in.

Deductions from Business Expenses

If you paid startup expenses in a certain year for your business, they might be tax-deductible. That’s good news for new businesses that are trying to raise capital. An active business can claim expenses. You might even be able to claim a business loss if your expenses are higher than your income.

Here’s some more tax advice on that subject. You raised some money in developing a product. If you wound up spending exactly that amount, your net income should be zero.

Watch out for making taxable money late in the year. You might not have any business expenses until the following year. That means the money you made is taxable income. But you can’t deduct those expenses early. Your business profits and deductions fall in different years.

Is Crowdfunding Taxable?

State Income Tax

The IRS has thresholds. These are anything over $20,000 and/or more than 200 transactions in one calendar year. That’s when an IRS Form 1099-K is needed. Some states have different thresholds for a campaign.

How Is Crowdfunding Income Reported?

The money raised through crowdfunding needs to be reported on Form 1099-K. That’s if the gross income raised exceeds $600. Third-party network transactions and payment card transactions both need to be filed too.

The crowdfunding website and the payment processor might need to report distributions of money. Keep in mind you’ll need to look at some sales tax considerations too. Depending on where you are physically located you might need to pay sales tax. It’s best to check the Internal Revenue Code and look into any state sales tax for your tax year. Chances are you’ll be paying taxes on any successful fundraising campaign.

Are Crowdfunding Investments Tax Deductible?

Some contributions are tax-deductible. The donations made through a crowdfunding website need to be made to a registered charity. These charitable donations need to be made in a place that’s regulated by federal and state law. Tax preparers will check to see if they are a 501(c)(3) organization.

You can use crowdfunding as an option to finance medical expenses. In fact, there is research that says people are using crowdfunding for important cancer and IVF treatments.

Is Crowdfunding Taxable?

Protecting Your Crowdfunding Campaign: Security Measures

Ensuring the security of your crowdfunding campaign is paramount to safeguarding your backers’ trust and financial information. Implementing robust security measures can help prevent unauthorized access and maintain the integrity of your campaign. Here are essential steps to protect your crowdfunding campaign:

  • Secure Platform Selection: Choose a reputable crowdfunding platform that prioritizes security and has a proven track record of safeguarding user data.
  • Two-Factor Authentication: Enable two-factor authentication (2FA) for your crowdfunding account. This adds an extra layer of protection by requiring a secondary verification method in addition to your password.
  • Strong Passwords: Create strong and unique passwords for your crowdfunding account. Avoid using common phrases, birthdays, or easily guessable information.
  • Secure Payment Gateway: Opt for a secure payment gateway that encrypts payment information and complies with industry standards.
  • Regular Updates: Keep your crowdfunding platform, operating system, and any plugins or extensions up to date with the latest security patches.
  • Secure Hosting: If you’re hosting campaign content or a website, choose a reputable and secure hosting provider that offers strong security features.
  • Data Encryption: Ensure that all sensitive data, such as user information and payment details, is encrypted using industry-standard encryption protocols.
  • Privacy Policies: Clearly outline your privacy policies and how user data will be handled. This transparency builds trust and shows your commitment to data protection.
  • Backer Communication: Use secure communication channels for interacting with backers, avoiding sharing sensitive information via insecure methods.
  • Regular Monitoring: Monitor your campaign for any unusual or suspicious activities. Regularly review transactions and financial records.
  • Educate Your Team: If you have a team managing the campaign, educate them about security best practices and ensure they follow them diligently.
  • Backup Campaign Data: Regularly backup your campaign data to prevent data loss due to technical issues or security breaches.
Security MeasuresDescription
Secure Platform SelectionOpt for a reputable crowdfunding platform known for prioritizing security and safeguarding user data. Research the platform's history and security measures before launching your campaign.
Two-Factor AuthenticationEnable two-factor authentication (2FA) for your crowdfunding account. This adds an extra layer of protection by requiring a secondary verification method, such as a code sent to your phone, in addition to your password.
Strong PasswordsCreate strong and unique passwords for your crowdfunding account. Avoid using common phrases, birthdays, or easily guessable information. Use a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols to enhance password strength.
Secure Payment GatewayChoose a secure payment gateway that encrypts payment information and complies with industry standards for data protection. A reputable gateway ensures that financial transactions are safe and confidential.
Regular UpdatesKeep your crowdfunding platform, operating system, plugins, and extensions up to date with the latest security patches. Regular updates help fix vulnerabilities and protect against potential security breaches.
Secure HostingIf hosting campaign content or a website, select a reputable and secure hosting provider that offers strong security features. Ensure that the provider employs encryption and other security protocols to safeguard your data.
Data EncryptionEncrypt all sensitive data, including user information and payment details, using industry-standard encryption protocols. Encryption ensures that even if data is accessed, it remains unreadable and protected from unauthorized access.
Privacy PoliciesClearly outline your privacy policies, including how user data will be handled and protected. Transparent communication about data protection builds trust with backers and demonstrates your commitment to safeguarding their information.
Backer CommunicationInteract with backers using secure communication channels. Avoid sharing sensitive information through insecure methods, such as unencrypted emails, to prevent potential data breaches or unauthorized access.
Regular MonitoringMonitor your crowdfunding campaign for any unusual or suspicious activities. Regularly review transactions and financial records to identify any unauthorized access or fraudulent transactions promptly.
Educate Your TeamIf you have a team managing the campaign, educate them about security best practices. Ensure that all team members follow security protocols diligently to prevent any potential vulnerabilities or breaches.
Backup Campaign DataRegularly back up your campaign data to prevent data loss due to technical issues or security breaches. Maintain up-to-date backups to ensure that your campaign information remains accessible and secure.

By prioritizing security measures, you can create a safe and trustworthy environment for your backers, minimize risks, and ensure the success of your crowdfunding campaign.


In the world of crowdfunding, understanding the tax implications and implementing robust security measures are crucial steps for both campaign organizers and backers. The evolving landscape of crowdfunding platforms and the variety of campaign types can make taxation complex, but with the right knowledge, you can make informed decisions. Whether you’re a campaign organizer seeking funding for a project or a backer supporting a cause, staying informed about the tax implications and safeguarding your financial data should be top priorities.

The tax considerations outlined in this article shed light on the various scenarios where crowdfunding income might be taxable, nontaxable, or eligible for deductions. Different types of campaigns, from donation-based to reward-based and equity-based, have distinct tax treatments that require careful attention. As crowdfunding continues to grow as a financing option, it’s essential to keep up to date with the latest tax regulations and guidelines.

Furthermore, protecting your crowdfunding campaign through robust security measures is fundamental. Backers and organizers alike need to ensure that sensitive information remains confidential and that funds are secure. By following the security steps provided, you can establish trust with your backers, maintain the integrity of your campaign, and safeguard against potential threats.

In conclusion, crowdfunding offers unique opportunities for fundraising and supporting innovative projects, businesses, and charitable causes. By understanding the tax implications, implementing security measures, and staying informed, you can navigate the crowdfunding landscape with confidence, ensuring a successful and secure experience for all parties involved.


Image: Envato Elements

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Rob Starr Rob Starr is a staff writer for Small Business Trends. Rob is a freelance journalist and content strategist/manager with three decades of experience in both print and online writing. He currently works in New York City as a copywriter and all across North America for a variety of editing and writing enterprises.

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