Tax Obligations for Crowdfunding Companies: Mastering Form 1099-K

What are crowdfunding companies and how are they required to file 1099-K with the IRS?

1099-k filing requirements for crowdfunding companies

In the age of digital innovation, crowdfunding has emerged as a powerful tool for turning creative ideas into reality. Whether you’re a passionate artist, an aspiring entrepreneur, or someone in need of financial support for a worthy cause, crowdfunding platforms offer a means to connect with a global audience and raise funds.

However, with great power comes great responsibility – especially when it comes to IRS tax compliance. In this blog, we’ll explore the tax implications and filing requirements for crowdfunding companies and shed light on the new Form 1099-K reporting rules that may affect you.

What Is a Crowdfunding Company?

Let’s start with the basics. How is a crowdfunding company defined?

 A crowdfunding company is an entity, typically an online platform, that facilitates the collection of funds from individuals or groups of people for a wide range of purposes. These purposes can include supporting creative projects, launching new products, or contributing to charitable causes. Well-known crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter, Indiegogo, and GoFundMe have made this form of fundraising accessible to millions of people worldwide. 

1099 Tax Implications for Crowdfunding Platforms

Just like all business entities and emerging industries, crowdfunding platforms have specific tax filing obligations. One of the most common IRS tax filing requirements that businesses encounter is the 1099 forms, and crowdfunding platforms are no different in these regards. 

The 1099 Series of forms is made up of many variants, all of which are designed to report certain types of payment transactions to the IRS. Some of the most common are the 1099-NEC which is used to report all nonemployee compensation, and the 1099-MISC which reports miscellaneous payments (rents, awards, payments to an attorney, etc). 

However, due to the new rules for 1099-K reporting, crowdfunding platforms will most certainly encounter this filing requirement more regularly than in any prior tax year. More on this later!

What is IRS Form 1099-K?

Form 1099-K, often referred to as the “Payment Card and Third Party Network Transactions” form, is used to report payment card and third-party network transactions. In the context of crowdfunding, it’s used to report payments made to recipients when their crowdfunding campaigns generate a certain level of income.

What is the New Reporting Rule for 1099-K?

The new rule impacting Form 1099-K revolves around the threshold for reporting. In the past, if a crowdfunding company processed payments of $20,000 or more and had 200 or more transactions in a calendar year, they were required to issue Form 1099-K to the campaign creator. However, there have been changes, and now the threshold has been lowered to $600. 

This new rule will have big impacts in the near future, as this rule goes into effect for the 2023 tax year. This means starting in January, individuals who contribute to creative projects and charitable causes will begin receiving copies of 1099-K from these platforms. 

What is the Impact on Crowdfunding Companies?

The lowered 1099-K threshold to $600 means that more crowdfunding companies will be required to report payments to campaign creators. This change ensures that a broader spectrum of crowdfunding campaigns is subject to tax reporting.

Many taxpayers who interact with and make payments totaling $600 or more will receive 1099-K Forms when they haven’t in the past. The tricky aspect of dealing with crowdfunding payments is that there is a grey area. Some payments are donations, the taxpayer contributes to a cause without expecting anything in return. 

However, contributing to a creative campaign or project, although also a worthy cause, is taxable. Why? Well, because the contributor is expecting an outcome, something will be produced. This is treated more like an investment than a donation. 

To clarify, here are a few scenarios. 

You created a Kickstarter campaign to fund a creative product. 

If you’re the recipient of funds generated through the crowdfunding campaign and your total receipts exceed $600, you may receive Form 1099-K from the crowdfunding platform. Receiving a 1099-K Form means that the crowdfunding platform has reported your income to the IRS. You’ll need to take this information into account when filing your taxes.

In most cases, funds received through a crowdfunding platform are considered taxable income. It’s crucial to report this income accurately to the IRS to avoid potential tax issues in the future.

I contributed to a cause through a crowdsourcing platform, is my payment a donation?

When people make purely charitable donations without expecting anything in return, those donations are typically not considered taxable income. However, for crowdfunding campaigns where backers receive rewards or products in exchange for their contributions, it’s important to account for the income properly.

Simplified Online 1099-K Filing with TaxBandits

To stay compliant with the new 1099-K reporting rules and simplify your tax filing process, you can choose to file 1099-K online with TaxBandits. Our user-friendly platform is designed to assist you in meeting your tax obligations efficiently and accurately. You can take advantage of bulk upload templates to import all of the 1099 form data, and built-in error checks to ensure that forms are generated in accordance with the IRS Business Rules. 

In addition to filing with the IRS and state(s), recipient copies of Form 1099-K must be distributed by January 31, 2024. With TaxBandits, you can choose from simple options for delivering your recipient copies. Opt-in to Postal Mailing Services, or choose to distribute electronic copies by giving your recipients access to them via our secure, online Tax Form Access Portal. 

In conclusion, while crowdfunding platforms have opened up incredible opportunities for creators and causes, it’s essential to understand the tax implications associated with your campaign.

Staying informed about the recent changes in Form 1099-K reporting requirements and using the right tools can help you navigate this aspect of your crowdfunding journey seamlessly. Remember, this information is meant to provide a general overview; for personalized tax advice, always consult a qualified tax preparer or CPA.

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