Making Money by Streaming Your Gaming Sessions? Here’s What It Means for Your Taxes

Self-Employed Concentrated teenager playing video games with joystick at home, copy space

Did you know that some streamers make up to $500,000 per month live streaming their gameplay on Twitch, Facebook, or YouTube? While you may not be making quite that much, if you’re a gamer regularly earning any income from streaming, you’re required to report it as taxable income.

In the eyes of the IRS, those who earn a steady income from streaming are considered self-employed. Fortunately, Lisa Greene-Lewis from TurboTax is here to make sure you’re reporting your streaming income properly with these top tips:

  • Subscriptions: Any monthly revenue you make from your rising number of subscribers must be reported as taxable income. When it’s time to file, you will likely receive a 1099-MISC from Twitch, Facebook, YouTube Gaming and/or any other platform you used to stream this year.
  • How to report Twitch Cheers, Facebook Stars, and other tips: If your viewers reward a victory royale with a tip or “Cheer” on Twitch, “Super Chat” on YouTube Gaming or a “Star” on Facebook Gaming, you’re required to report it as revenue on your taxes. Though some online tips may be referred to as “donations,” please note that because the monetary gift was made to you and not to a nonprofit organization, this donation is still taxable by federal law.
  • Deductions: The good news is that you only have to pay taxes on your gross income minus your relevant expenses because your streaming is considered to be your business. These relevant business expenses can include anything from a new desktop, camera, streaming software, microphone, and beyond (as long as they are directly related to your income and you).
  • Quarterly taxes: If you anticipate owing more than $1,000 in taxes, you will have to make estimated tax payments by the deadline in order to avoid penalties.

Don’t worry about knowing these tax rules — TurboTax Self-Employed will ask simple questions about you and your business and give you the tax deductions and credits you’re eligible for. TurboTax Self-Employed also has an industry-specific deduction feature that uncovers tax deductions specific to your unique business.

If you have questions, you can connect live via one-way video to a TurboTax Live Self-Employed CPA or Enrolled Agent with an average of 15 years of experience to get your tax questions answered. A TurboTax Live CPA or Enrolled Agent can even review, sign, and file your taxes.

TurboTax Self-Employed also comes with a year of Quickbooks Self-Employed for free. Quickbooks Self-Employed allows you to track your business income, expenses, mileage and capture your receipts year-round. You can then easily export your information directly to your TurboTax Self-Employed tax return.

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