There’s no better place to get your questions answered than directly from the IRS Sharing Economy Tax Center. The IRS recently put together an extensive webpage to go over many of the issues facing those in the sharing economy. You can view the website here or continue reading below for a snap-shot of what to expect:
If you use one of the many online platforms available to rent a spare bedroom, provide car rides, or to connect and provide a number of other goods or services, you’re involved in what is sometimes called the sharing economy.
An emerging area of activity in the past few years, the sharing economy has changed how people commute, travel, rent vacation places and perform many other activities. Also referred to as the on-demand, gig or access economy, sharing economies allow individuals and groups to utilize technology advancements to arrange transactions to generate revenue from assets they possess – (such as cars and homes) – or services they provide – (such as household chores or technology services). Although this is a developing area of the economy, there are tax implications for the companies that provide the services and the individuals who perform the services.
This means if you receive income from a sharing economy activity, it’s generally taxable even if you don’t receive a Form 1099-MISC, Miscellaneous Income, Form 1099-K, Payment Card and Third Party Network Transactions, Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement, or some other income statement. This is true even if you do it as a side job or just as a part time business and even if you are paid in cash. On the other hand, depending upon the circumstances, some or all of your business expenses may be deductible, subject to the normal tax limitations and rules.
The IRS encourages taxpayers working in these areas to understand the potential tax issues affecting them. The IRS is providing additional information to help people, and many tax professionals, with tax issues and questions related to this emerging area. The tax software industry is also looking at this area, and many software programs can assist when you do your taxes in 2017.
Among the following tax issues that may apply to those participating in the sharing economy:
- Issues for Individuals Performing Services
- Employment Tax Issues for the Companies Providing Services
- Determining Whether the Individuals Providing Services are Employees or Independent Contractors
- Employer/Payer Employment Tax Obligations