Some things you should know about crowdfunding and taxes

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Crowdfunding is a popular way to raise money online. People often use it to fundraise for a business, for charity or for gifts. It is important to know that money raised through crowdfunding may be taxable.

Some money raised through crowdfunding may be considered a gift

Under federal tax law, gross income includes all income from any source, unless it is excluded from gross income by law. In most cases, gifts are not included in the gross income of the person receiving the gift.

Here’s what people involved in crowdfunding should know:

  • If a crowdfunding organizer is raising money on behalf of others, the money may not be included in the organizer’s gross income, as long as the organizer gives the money to the person for whom they organized the crowdfunding campaign.
  • If people donate to a crowdfunding campaign out of generosity and without expecting anything in return, the donations are gifts. Therefore, they will not be included in the gross income of the person for whom the campaign was organized.

However, not all contributions to crowdfunding campaigns are gifts and may be taxable.

When employers give to crowdfunding campaigns for an employee, those contributions are generally included in the employee’s gross income.

Taxpayers may want to consult a trusted tax pro for information and advice regarding how to treat amounts received from crowdfunding campaigns.

People may receive Form 1099-K for money raised through crowdfunding

The crowdfunding website or its payment processor must file Form 1099-K, Payment Card and Third Party Network Transactions with the IRS if:

  • The amount raised is more than $600
  • Contributors to the crowdfunding campaign receive goods or services for their contributions.
  • If a Form 1099-K is filed, the crowdfunding organizer or the beneficiary of the fundraiser will receive a copy, depending on who received the funding directly from the crowdfunding website.

Receiving a Form 1099-K doesn’t automatically mean the amount shown is taxable. But if the taxpayer doesn’t include the distributions from the form on their tax return, the IRS may contact the recipient for more information. The recipient may need to explain why the crowdfunding distributions weren’t reported.

Recordkeeping for money raised through crowdfunding

People who run crowdfunding campaigns or receive money from one should keep careful records about the campaign and the disposition of funds for at least three years.

For more information, visit www.irs.gov.

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