President Joe Biden passed the American Rescue Plan Act in March 2021 which lowered some parts of the Internal Revenue Code. The law lowered the reporting requirement to receive a Form 1099-K in a calendar year for payments received from online processors like PayPal. Before this law was passed, many self-employed individuals avoided taxes by using online payment processors.
PayPal is required to report gross payments received for sellers who receive $20,000 in gross payment volume AND 200 transactions or more. Many freelancers took advantage of this low reporting requirement by staying under the minimum condition and not paying taxes. The current laws do not require you to report payments on a Form 1099 for tax returns.
Now that PayPal will be issuing a 1099-K more often, it'll be difficult to hide. You don't want to risk a penalty for not filing a 1099. The actual amount of income reported to the IRS may even be higher than what you actually received. In this article, we'll go over the updates to the tax laws and how it impacts freelancers.
Note: With the new requirements, it's going to be a lot harder to avoid a PayPal Form 1099-K. You'll need to pay taxes on your business income. The best way to lower your taxable income for your income tax return is to track tax write-offs. Bonsai Tax can help you with that. Our app will scan your bank/credit card receipts to discover potential tax write-offs automatically. Users typically save $5,600 from their tax bill. Claim your 14-day free trial today.
IRC Section 6050W Internal Revenue Code (IRC) Section 6050W states that all US payment processors are required by the IRS to give information to the IRS about certain customers who receive payments for the sale of goods or services through PayPal.
When sending and receiving money on PayPal and Venmo - what is changing? Let's break down the tax implications.
Form 1099-K is an IRS information tax form used to report payments received by a business or individual for the sale of goods and services that were paid via a third-party network (like PayPal). A 1099-K will be sent to you and the IRS. In other words, when the IRS receives this form, they'll know you need to pay tax on your earnings.
The IRS requires third-party transaction networks to issue a Form 1099-K, which shows the total amount of payments received from a third-party transaction network in the calendar year.
The threshold change for Form 1099-K is currently only for payments received for goods and services transactions. In the eyes of the IRS, any income cumulated through a peer-to-peer payment app is no different than any other business transaction that comes from a regular bank account.
However, whenever you send personal payments to your friends or family members using PayPal or Venmo for dinner, gifts, shared trips, etc-- it would not count as the reportable income.
The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 changed the reporting threshold for third-party settlement organizations such as Venmo and PayPal for goods and services transactions to $600 or more in annual gross sales in the same year. Remember, the current reporting threshold is 200 transactions or more and $20,000 in payment volume from sales in goods or services in a single calendar year.
One example is if a client paid you $35,456 in services rendered via PayPal in 2021. Because it doesn't meet the minimum of 200 transactions, you would not receive a Form 1099-K from PayPal.
The Form 1099-K change will take effect on January 1, 2022.
At a State level, several states have already closed this reporting loophole.
For example, Maryland, Vermont, Massachusetts, Virginia, and Mississippi require a 1099-K to be filed along with a State tax agency if a resident earned $600 or more in a calendar year. Other States have a slightly higher threshold. Missouri has a $1,200 reporting threshold. Residents in Illinois and New Jersey have a 1099-K reporting requirement of $1,000. Illinois requires at least 4 transactions.
Arkansas has a $2,500 reporting threshold to receive a 1099-K.
While the IRS requires banks and payment service providers such as PayPal and Venmo to send customers a Form 1099-K if their income exceeds $600, there are some amounts that may be listed on the form that are normally omitted from gross income and thus not subject to income tax.
There are some instances where online sellers get rid of their old belongings for less than they originally paid. This would be like a garage sale. Although personal household goods do not need to be claimed as income, do not ignore the 1099-K you may receive. It is best to seek tax advice from a CPA.
If you have any questions in regards to filing your PayPal 1099 taxes, we always recommend you get tax advice from an accountant or CPA. A tax advisor can help you stay compliant with the law as well as work around the tax rules to lower your payments to the IRS.
If you sell for profit and not for a hobby, then you are considered to be a business owner according to the IRS.
Both of these peer-to-peer apps have an option to tag transactions for goods and services or for personal/friends and family. When sending payments, you'll simply choose the appropriate category for each transaction. If a client sends you payments via PayPal for services, they would tag the transaction as a payment for goods and services.
A benefit of choosing this option is by selecting "Goods and Services, the transaction would be covered by PayPal's purchase protection program.
When you create a PayPal account, you may be asked to provide your Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN), Social Security Number (SSN), Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN), or Employer Identification Number (EIN) to your PayPal account. You'll need to provide this in order to accept payments.
If you meet the Internal Revenue Service threshold in a calendar year, PayPal will send you a Form 1099-K at the beginning of the following year.
If you receive some or all your business income through a peer-to-peer payment platform, it is best to set up a PayPal business account. You don't want to mix your personal and business transactions because it can make filing your tax return a lot more difficult.
The best way to avoid paying taxes is to keep detailed records of all your business expenses. Keeping receipts allows you to claim as tax deductions which reduce your Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) and thus your taxable income on your income tax return. This can sometimes cause a larger refund, the amount you owe to decrease, or have no refund or owed tax liability.
Although it may appear like more work, with the help of technology, many software can discover and record expenses at the push of a button. Be sure to keep your detailed records for at least 3 years after you file. If you get audited years later, you'll need to have this documentation to prove your tax write-offs.
Note: if you want to maximize all your tax deductions, try Bonsai Tax. Our app scans your bank/credit card receipts to discover possible tax write-offs. The software organizes all your business expenses for your tax returns. In fact, Bonsai users typically save $5,600 from their tax bill. Claim your 14-day free trial here.
A simple way to claim a deduction from your taxes is the Qualified Business Income deduction (QBI).
The QBI deduction is simple. If you are a partnership, S corporation, or sole proprietorship, the IRS allows you to deduct a set amount. In 2021, qualified self-employed folks can deduct up to 20% of their qualified business income from their taxes. It should be noted, total taxable income in 2021 must be below $164,900 for single filers or $329,800 for joint filers to qualify.
This deduction does not require you to track expenses and is given as an automatic deduction, regardless of your business loss. Practically all tax deductions have something to do with the money you spent to run your business. The QBI deduction is uncommon because it is not the result of any money spent or business costs incurred.
The thought of sending money to the IRS at the end of the tax year is not a pleasant one. Independent contractors and business owners need to pay their fair share. The IRS is cracking down on small businesses that try to sneak past paying money to the government on their tax return.
If you are a small business, the surefire way to lower your tax bill when you file a 1099-K is to record all your business receipts to claim as tax write-offs. Bonsai Tax can help you with that. If you receive a Form 1099-K from Venmo or PayPal, don't panic. Simply do your due diligence and properly prepare to report your income to the IRS. Our app can help you estimate your tax bill, send filing reminders, and track all your tax deductions. Try a 14-day free trial on the house.
Check out our article on other tax loopholes for self-employed folks.
You can find out more information on the new tax changes the IRS made by visiting the government's website. This blog is not meant to be used as tax advice. It is only an information resource. With the ever-changing tax laws, Bonsai is not responsible for the accuracy and reliability of the content. Again, please consult with a proper tax professional to answer any questions or receive any advice.
A verbal contract (formally called an oral contract) refers to an agreement between two parties that's made —you guessed it— verbally.
Formal contracts, like those between an employee and an employer, are typically written down. However, some professional transactions take place based on verbally agreed terms.
Freelancers are a good example of this. Often, freelancers will take on projects having agreed on the terms and payment via the phone, or an email. Unfortunately, sometimes clients don't pull through on their agreements, and hardworking freelancers can find themselves out of pocket and wondering whether a legal battle is worth all the hassle.
The main differences between written and oral contracts are that the former is signed and documented, whereas the latter is solely attributed to verbal communication.
Verbal contracts are a bit of a gray area for most people unfamiliar with contract law —which is most of us, right?— due to the fact that there's no physical evidence to support the claims made by the implemented parties.
For any contract (written or verbal) to be binding, there are four major elements which need to be in place. The crucial elements of a contract are as follows:
Therefore, an oral agreement has legal validity if all of these elements are present. However, verbal contracts can be difficult to enforce in a court of law. In the next section, we take a look at how oral agreements hold up in court.
Most business professionals are wary of entering into contracts orally because they can difficult to enforce in the face of the law.
If an oral contract is brought in front of a court of law, there is increased risk of one party (or both!) lying about the initial terms of the agreement. This is problematic for the court, as there's no unbiased way to conclude the case; often, this will result in the case being disregarded. Moreover, it can be difficult to outline contract defects if it's not in writing.
That being said, there are plenty of situations where enforceable contracts do not need to be written or spoken, they're simply implied. For instance, when you buy milk from a store, you give something in exchange for something else and enter into an implied contract, in this case - money is exchanged for goods.
There are some types of contracts which must be in writing.
The Statute of Frauds is a legal statute which states that certain kinds of contracts must be executed in writing and signed by the parties involved. The Statute of Frauds has been adopted in almost all U.S states, and requires a written contract for the following purposes:
Typically, a court of law won't enforce an oral agreement in any of these circumstances under the statute. Instead, a written document is required to make the contract enforceable.
Contract law is generally doesn't favor contracts agreed upon verbally. A verbal agreement is difficult to prove, and can be used by those intent on committing fraud. For that reason, it's always best to put any agreements in writing and ensure all parties have fully understood and consented to signing.
Verbal agreements can be proven with actions in the absence of physical documentation. Any oral promise to provide the sale of goods or perform a service that you agreed to counts as a valid contract. So, when facing a court of law, what evidence can you provide to enforce a verbal agreement?
Unfortunately, without solid proof, it may be difficult to convince a court of the legality of an oral contract. Without witnesses to testify to the oral agreement taking place or other forms of evidence, oral contracts won't stand up in court. Instead, it becomes a matter of "he-said-she-said" - which legal professionals definitely don't have time for!
If you were to enter into a verbal contract, it's recommended to follow up with an email or a letter confirming the offer, the terms of the agreement , and payment conditions. The more you can document the elements of a contract, the better your chances of legally enforcing a oral contract.
Another option is to make a recording of the conversation where the agreement is verbalized. This can be used to support your claims in the absence of a written agreement. However, it's always best to gain the permission of the other involved parties before hitting record.
Fundamentally, most verbal agreements are legally valid as long as they meet all the requirements for a contract. However, if you were to go to court over one party not fulfilling the terms of the contract, proving that the interaction took place can be extremely taxing.
So, ultimately, the question is: written or verbal agreements?
Any good lawyer, contract law firm, or legal professional would advise you to make sure you formalize any professional agreement with a written agreement. Written contracts provide a secure testament to the conditions that were agreed and signed by the two parties involved. If it comes to it, a physical contract is much easier to eviden in legal circumstances.
Freelancers, in particular, should be aware of the extra security that digital contracts may provide. Many people choose to stick to executing contracts verbally because they're not sure how to write a contract, or they think writing out the contract terms is too complicated or requires expensive legal advice. However, this is no longer the case.
Today, we have a world of resources available at our fingertips. The internet is a treasure trove of invaluable information, platforms, and software that simplifies our lives. Creating, signing, and sending contracts has never been easier. What's more, you don't have to rely on a hiring a lawyer to explain all that legal jargon anymore.
There are plenty of tools available online for freelancers to use for guidance when drafting digital contracts. Tools like Bonsai provide a range of customizable, vetted contract templates for all kinds of freelance professionals. No matter what industry you're operating in, Bonsai has a professional template to offer.
A written contract makes the agreement much easier to prove the terms of the agreement in case something were to go awry. The two parties involved can rest assured that they're legal rights are protected, and the terms of the contract are sufficiently documented. Plus, it provides both parties with peace of mind to focus on the tasks at hand.
Bonsai's product suite for freelancers allows users to make contracts from scratch, or using professional templates, and sign them using an online signature maker.
With Bonsai, you can streamline and automate all of the boring back-office tasks that come with being a freelancer. From creating proposals that clients can't say no to, to sealing the deal with a professional contract - Bonsai will revolutionize the way you do business as a freelancer.
Why not secure your business today and sign up for a free trial?