If you use one of the many online platforms available to rent a spare bedroom, provide car rides, or to connect and provide a number of other goods or services, you’re involved in what is sometimes called the sharing economy.
An emerging area of activity in the past few years, the sharing economy has changed how people commute, travel, rent vacation places and perform many other activities. Also referred to as the on-demand, gig or access economy, sharing economies allow individuals and groups to utilize technology advancements to arrange transactions to generate revenue from assets they possess – (such as cars and homes) – or services they provide – (such as household chores or technology services). Although this is a developing area of the economy, there are tax implications for the companies that provide the services and the individuals who perform the services.
This means if you receive income from a sharing economy activity, it’s generally taxable even if you don’t receive a Form 1099-MISC, Miscellaneous Income, Form 1099-K, Payment Card and Third Party Network Transactions, Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement, or some other income statement. This is true even if you do it as a side job or just as a part time business and even if you are paid in cash. On the other hand, depending upon the circumstances, some or all of your business expenses may be deductible, subject to the normal tax limitations and rules.
Uber Tax Tips
- Pay Self-Employment Tax
Tax deductions for your car
Other tax deductions for ride-share drivers
Commissions you pay to the ride-share company are a business expense, as is any cost you may have to pay for technology installed in your car. Other tax deductions include:
- Car washes and interior cleaning
- Water, gum or snacks for passengers
- Tolls and parking fees
In addition, ride-sharing companies typically require use of a smartphone.
- The portion of your mobile phone expenses attributable to your ride-share work can be used to reduce your self-employment income.
- For simplicity’s sake, it may make sense to have a dedicated phone for work.
AirBNB Tax Tips
- Learn About 14 Day Rule
Learn About Exceptions for Rooms
Don’t Panic if You Get an IRS Letter
Keep Flawless Records of Rental Periods
Document All Business Expenses
Apportion Mortgage Interest and Taxes if You Rent Room Only
Fill Out Form W-9 Taxpayer Identification Number
Deduct the Guest-Service or Host-Service Fees
Learn About Applicable Occupancy Taxes
Pay Self-Employment Taxes
If you receive rental income for the use of a house or an apartment, including a vacation home, it must be reported on your return in most cases. You may deduct certain expenses, but special rules and limits often apply. These deductible expenses, which may include mortgage interest, real estate taxes, casualty losses, maintenance, utilities, insurance and depreciation, reduce the amount of rental income that is subject to tax.
If you use the dwelling unit for both rental and personal purposes, you generally must divide your total expenses between the rental use and the personal use based on the number of days used for each purpose. You won’t be able to deduct your rental expense in excess of the gross rental income limitation.
There’s a special rule if you use a dwelling unit as a personal residence and rent it for fewer than 15 days. In this case, don’t report any of the rental income and don’t deduct any expenses as rental expenses. If you provide substantial services that are primarily for your tenant’s convenience, such as regular cleaning, changing linen, or maid service, you report your rental income and expenses on Schedule C (Form 1040), Profit or Loss From Business, or Schedule C-EZ (Form 1040), Net Profit From Business. Use Form 1065, U.S. Return of Partnership Income, if your rental activity is a partnership (including a partnership with your spouse unless it is a qualified joint venture). Substantial services don’t include such things as heat and light, cleaning of public areas, or trash collection.