Patreon creators’ top tax questions answered

By Michael Mincieli

Photo by Jeremy Cohen, featuring Broke-Ass Stuart

From navigating forms to filing, here’s Patreon’s tax-time primer.

If you have a tax bill, congratulations! You've encountered some amount of financial success. But with that success comes at least one responsibility that might make you feel a little less than celebratory — namely, dealing with said tax bill.

Yearly income taxes are likely top of mind for those in the United States right now, with the April 14, 2024 deadline on the horizon. And for creators elsewhere, taxes and regulations come in many other flavors, like sales and use taxes, value-added taxes, and income taxes.

Patreon's small-but-mighty tax team has compiled answers to the most common questions we hear from creators, so you can navigate tax season with confidence.

Do I need to pay taxes on my Patreon income?

Yes — or at the very least, you need to account for Patreon earnings on your tax return. While we'd love to be able to offer every creator individualized advice, each person's situation is unique. Consult with a local tax professional about any questions specific to your situation.

Does Patreon pay income taxes for me?

No, Patreon doesn't (and can't) pay income taxes on your behalf. In many places, the money you receive from your members is considered taxable income. In the United States, for instance, the IRS code's first line defines "gross income" as "all income from whatever source derived," which can include what members pay you. Therefore, you should account for any profit made through your Patreon campaign when filing taxes. Since laws vary by location, consulting with a local tax advisor will ensure that you're meeting the tax reporting requirements where you live.

On a related note, for creators who meet a certain income threshold, Patreon is required by law to report specific information on the amount of income you earn through our platform. If you're a U.S.-based creator, this is handled through the 1099-K tax form. Notably, this form is informational in nature and does not impact, one way or another, your responsibility to pay your taxes.

Finally, Patreon does not withhold taxes or anything else (aside from our fees) from your funds earned on our platform.

Which forms should I fill out on my tax return?

As an individual filing a U.S. income tax return, you'll most likely file the following:

The Schedule C acts as a business return to attach to your personal tax return. It includes income (your earnings) in Section 1, as well as expenses (for example, the fees payment processors like PayPal may charge, or the cost of your supplies) in Section 2.

It's important to consider your expenses carefully. It's likely that there are supplies (like microphones, software, or laptops) that you use to produce your creations. Consider this question: Starting from scratch, how would you go about generating your next post or project? If you were in a blank, empty room, what would you need to acquire in order to do what you do? The tools and materials that come to mind are most likely your business expenses.

For more information on business expenses, read What you can (and can't) write off as a creator.

I'm a creator located outside of the U.S. Do I need to pay taxes on my Patreon income?

Yes. Generally, the income you earn on Patreon will be subject to income tax in the country where you live. This might be personal income tax if you are an individual, or corporate income tax if you are an incorporated business.

If you are in one of the 27 EU member states, Patreon is required to collect and report the taxpayer information and earnings of sellers (creators) who earn certain income on Patreon. More information can be found here.

Consult a local tax adviser or accountant for advice on tax you may owe on your Patreon income.

Why do I need to fill out a W-9 form for Patreon?

In order for Patreon to meet IRS reporting requirements and generate your Form 1099-K, it's essential that we have your tax information on file. For this reason, we require U.S. creators to submit a W-9, a tax form that's used most commonly when you're working as a freelancer or independent contractor, rather than as an employee. Patreon collects a W-9 form from creators so we can notify the IRS of the amount earned in a calendar year. So it's important to keep this form up to date! Make sure that your address is accurate on the form, since certain states require us to file forms with them directly.

Why do I need to fill out a W-8 form for Patreon?

The IRS reporting requirements assume that, because Patreon is a U.S. company, all Patreon creators are U.S. citizens, unless we prove that they are not. If you're a creator based outside of the U.S., you'll need to fill out a Form W-8BEN (or W-8BEN-E if you're an entity) to confirm that you are both a non-U.S. citizen and not physically located within the U.S. — and therefore not someone from whom the IRS should expect a tax return.

Will I get a Form 1099-K?

Creators in the U.S. who meet certain earnings thresholds receive a Form 1099-K. This form reports gross earnings by law, without taking into account any fees or refunds. In other words, if you earned $10, and incurred $1 in fees and refunded another $2, the form would still report the $10.

Review the chart below to find out if you meet those earnings thresholds:

State Earnings threshold (for 2023)
All U.S. states and territories $20k+ USD in a calendar year
Arkansas $2,500+ USD in a calendar year
Illinois $1,000+ USD in a calendar year
New Jersey $1,000+ USD in a calendar year
District of Columbia $600+ USD in a calendar year
Massachusetts $600+ USD in a calendar year
Maryland $600+ USD in a calendar year
Mississippi $600+ USD in a calendar year
Virginia $600+ USD in a calendar year
Vermont $600+ USD in a calendar year
Oregon Any earnings

For more information, read this Patreon Help Center article on form 1099-K.

Why didn't I get a 1099-K?

If you are not a U.S. citizen, or didn’t reach the above thresholds, you won’t receive a Form 1099-K from Patreon. Be sure to report all income to the relevant tax authorities, regardless of whether or not you receive a Form 1099-K.

I noticed an error on my 1099-K. What should I do?

If you receive a Form 1099-K from Patreon with incorrect or outdated information, please submit a support ticket with a correction request. To ensure that this process runs smoothly, double-check that your W-9 on file displays your most accurate tax information in your creator account on Patreon (Settings > Billing and Payouts > Fill out a W-9).

Does Patreon remit taxes collected from my members on my behalf?

In addition to income taxes, there's a whole separate world of "transaction taxes" or "indirect taxes," which consist of sales tax (in the U.S.), value-added tax (VAT), goods and services tax (GST), or similar indirect taxes. VAT, which you'll often hear used as shorthand for all indirect taxes, applies in more than 160 countries. Transaction taxes generally apply based on the nature of the sale and the location of your members. For instance, sales of tangible things (like records, T-shirts, or other merch) are taxable almost everywhere, but the "sale" of a shoutout in the end credits of a video in exchange for a pledge isn't as commonly taxed. Patreon collects and remits these taxes to the corresponding tax authorities in several locations.

To see the amount of transaction taxes Patreon has collected from your members, log in to your creator account and go to Payouts > Statements. Download the sales tax report to get a breakdown of sales tax, including VAT by the country or state in the U.S.

Why are my members being charged sales taxes or VAT?

If your members are charged sales tax, VAT, or GST by Patreon, that's because the member's country has passed laws requiring Patreon to act as an "intermediary" and apply, collect, and remit the appropriate taxes. Patreon remits the collected taxes to the tax authority of each member's location. Whether or not sales tax, VAT, or GST applies generally depends on the benefits you're offering in return for the pledge, and whether or not those benefits are subject to tax in the member's country.

Where should I look for more guidance?

For more resources and tips for tackling your taxes, read What you can (and can't) write off as a creator and What creators need to know about 1099-K forms this tax season, or you can peruse all the tax articles on the Creator Hub. For specific questions, seek assistance from a local tax professional. And check out tools that make filing easier, such as Keeper, tax-filing software designed for people with business income. You've got this!

This article is intended as knowledge-sharing, not tax, financial, or legal advice. Always consult with tax, financial, and legal professionals to determine what's best for your business.

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