US Creator: Frequently Asked Tax Questions

  • Updated

Let’s face it: taxes can be a lot – while we can’t offer specific advice on how to file your taxes, we’ve compiled this list of frequently asked questions from other creators to help you navigate this tax season with more ease.  

Is the money I earned from Patreon “taxable income”?

In many jurisdictions, the money you receive from your members and customers is considered taxable income.

There are many types of taxpayers, from corporations to individuals, and how each is taxed is, unfortunately, beyond the scope of this document. That said, the IRS considers gross income to mean “all income from whatever source derived”, which can include payments of support made to you from your members or purchases from customers if you are selling digital products through Commerce. From there, things get interesting. Most, if not all, creators will have expenses that offset some or all of that income. Further, if you are a legally recognised not-for-profit (for example, a USA 501(C)(3) charity), then you might not owe tax on your Patreon income. A local tax advisor would know for sure, so we encourage you to reach out to one for additional information.

Learn more about being a non-profit creator here: Can non-profits use Patreon?

Does Patreon withhold any taxes from my payments?

No – Patreon doesn’t withhold anything (aside from our fees) from your funds earned on Patreon. We are obligated to add, collect and remit sales tax and VAT on top of some payments, but those funds are not calculated anywhere as ‘earnings’. You can see your gross earnings by visiting the Documents page of your Payouts section.

Which fees are subject to tax?

Patreon may have sales tax and VAT obligations related to the service fees it charges to its creators. This obligation usually depends on the local tax laws applicable to a creator’s jurisdiction. As a general rule, where applicable, all fees will be subject to tax unless an exemption or exception is found to be relevant in a particular location, for a particular fee and/or for a particular scenario.

With the launch of Commerce on the platform in June 2023, Patreon will start collecting applicable VAT/GST/Sales taxes on services provided to creators on a tax-exclusive basis, meaning on the total transaction. The application of taxes on top of the creator fees will take place in phases to allow Patreon and creators to ensure the best possible tax compliance.

How does Patreon calculate my gross earnings?

To calculate your gross earnings, we take the total amount of processed payments from your members before refunds and deduct fees (platform, payment, currency conversion and processing fees).

Your gross earnings for a given year will be available on the Documents page of your Payouts section

What is the W-9 Form? 

The W-9 form is used in a wide range of payment situations. Most commonly, taxpayers fill out a W-9 when working as a freelancer or independent contractor rather than an employee. The purpose of collecting the W-9 form is to record your tax identification number, along with your name and address, so that Patreon can notify the IRS of the amount earned in a calendar year.

Patreon requires creators who meet certain earnings thresholds to complete the W-9 form to generate a 1099-K – please review the section below to find out if you meet those earnings thresholds.

Do I need to submit a W-9?

Creators who reach $600 in earnings in a calendar year are required to complete a Form W-9 (or W-8BEN or W-8BEN-E).

How do I submit a W-9 form?

To complete a W-9 form for your Patreon, follow the directions below: 

  1. Log in to your Patreon account
  2. Once logged into your account, click the Settings button in the left menu to open your Settings 
  3. Click into the Payouts and Taxes tab from the menu bar
  4. Scroll to the Tax settings section at the bottom of the page 
  5. Click on the Fill out W-9 form button to access an electronic W-9 form 

For detailed instructions on how to complete your W-9 form, we recommend reviewing the IRS instructions for completing your W-9.

What is Form 1099-K?

Form 1099-K is an IRS information return used to report certain payment transactions to improve voluntary tax compliance. It is wholly informational in nature; there is nothing on the form that you could not otherwise find in the dashboards.

Will I receive a Form 1099-K?

Whether or not you’ll receive a 1099-K from Patreon depends on your earnings. Review the current earnings thresholds to know if you should expect one from us: Will I receive a 1099 form?

What is a TIN?

A Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) is an identification number used by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to administrate tax laws. It is issued either by the Social Security Administration (SSA) or the IRS. The SSA issues a Social Security Number (SSN), whereas the IRS issues all other TINs.

What if I need help filing my taxes?

Patreon has partnered with Keeper to offer discounted prices for their tax filing service, which is customised for freelancers and creators. Learn more about Keeper here: Keeper | Patreon

Is my personal information secure on Patreon?

When submitting your W-9, Patreon will check the information against the IRS database to ensure accuracy.

Real-Time TIN Verification makes it possible to proactively validate your information and check individual data against the IRS TIN matching database, Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) list and Death Master File (DMF) as you submit your form. (This is done in real-time, and thus we will let you know if there is a mismatch or problem with the submission.)

All information provided is secure. We encrypt your forms with 2048bit RSA encryption. Each time you want to update your W-9, you will have to submit an entirely new form, as we do not surface previous information considered sensitive.

Does Patreon handle VAT, QST, GST, or Sales Tax?

Maybe! It depends on the jurisdiction. If we do, there’s nothing you need to do or worry about. We’ll calculate and add the tax due on top of the member/customer payment, collect it and remit it to the taxing authority of the member/customer directly. Find a list of places where this is the case here: Where is Patreon collecting tax, and what are the tax rates?

I am a US citizen living outside of the US; which tax form should I fill out?

I have not paid US taxes, I don’t earn income in the US nor do I live or own anything in the US.

  • Based on the instructions on the W-8BEN if you are a US citizen you should fill out a W-9 regardless of where you are currently living. Your income from Patreon may be subject to 1099 reporting. 
  • Please review our help guide to find out if you’ll receive a 1099-K: Will I receive a 1099-K form?
  • Please refer to the W-8BEN form for more instructions here: Instructions for Form W-8BEN. Consult with a tax professional to determine your tax responsibilities. 

What is a USA tax identification number?

ID Type Definition
SSN For USA creators who are individuals/persons — your Social Security Number
EIN Employer Identification Number
ITIN Individual Taxpayer Identification Number
ATIN Taxpayer Identification Number for Pending US Adoptions
PTIN Preparer Taxpayer Identification Number

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