If you’re just starting out on YouTube, or even better, making money from YouTube, you might be wondering, “Do YouTubers pay taxes?”
In short, YouTubers do pay taxes, but it really depends on how much money you make and spend, which then impacts whether you pay quarterly or all at once on tax day. You’ll learn all about how in this post about YouTube taxes.
Disclaimer: This post does not contain financial advice and is purely for entertainment purposes. Reach out to your local CPA for specific tax information for your business.
Do YouTubers pay taxes?
In the eyes of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), YouTubers are self-employed individuals, and as a self-employed individual, you “have to file an income tax return if your net earnings from self-employment were $400 or more.”
Thus, if you make $400 or more from YouTube in net earnings, then you have to file a tax return, which will help you figure out if you need to pay taxes or not.
What is YouTube taxable income?
Taxable income from YouTube is essentially the money you make from YouTube minus the money you spend on your YouTube business.
The money you make from YouTube is also known as income or revenue. It can come from sources like ad views, channel memberships, sponsorships, affiliate marketing and digital/physical sales of products.
The money you spend on products or services that help your YouTube business make money is known as an expense, tax deduction or tax write off*. In general, your taxable income is calculated by subtracting expenses or tax write offs from income. This number is used to help decide how much you will pay in taxes on your YouTube income.
*Tax deductions or write-offs may have a different meaning based on whether you are a salaried/hourly worker or if you are a business/sole proprietor. You can get a better understanding of this here.
What are examples of YouTube tax write offs?
To save money on taxes, you want to get your taxable income as low as possible by making sure to not miss any expenses.
Some YouTube tax write offs include but are not limited to:
- Cameras and equipment
- People you hire (i.e. videographer, accountant, assistant, etc.)
- Home office space
How do you do YouTube taxes?
YouTube will withhold taxes for you if you:
- Fill out your tax information within the platform
- Make money on YouTube through ad views, YouTube Premium, Super Chat Super Stickers and channel memberships
- Have U.S. viewers.
If you make money through sponsorships, affiliate marketing, or other sources outside of YouTube itself, then you’ll want to keep track of your complete YouTube-related income and spend throughout the year to get your taxable income.
With the help of a tax software or tax professional, you can use your taxable income to decide whether you need to pay estimated tax payments every quarter. With that knowledge, you then file taxes at the end of the year to either pay your YouTube taxes or receive a refund.
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When do you need to pay taxes on your YouTube income?
There are two types of taxes you have to pay on your YouTube income: your quarterly estimated tax payments and your yearly tax payment. And, if you end up owing money you may also get a tax refund.
If you are expected to pay over $1,000 in taxes for the year, you need to pay estimated tax payments on your YouTube income every quarter on:
- April 15 for Quarter 1 (January 1 to March 31)
- June 15 for Quarter 2 (April 1 to May 31)
- September 15 for Quarter 3 (June 1 to August 31)
- January 15 in the following year for Quarter 4 (September 1 to December 31)
You can use IRS’ Form 1040-ES to calculate your estimated tax payments for each quarter or work with a local Certified Public Accountant (CPA) to help you figure out how much you owe.
As for yearly tax filings, depending on how much you paid in estimated tax payments over the year and your personal tax situation, you may either owe more taxes at year end or receive a refund.
To find this out, you would do your taxes by April 15 in the following year by using a tax software or working with a tax professional like a CPA. I
If you have more questions about taxes and how they work overall for creators, check out our interview on Tax Essentials for Creators.
About the Author
Hey fellow creators! I’m Sarah Chetrit. I used to be a Certified Public Accountant* and now have been a content creator for six years. I started as a travel blogger and now teach bloggers and content creators how to make money with their content-creating business. Find me at SarahChetrit.com, @sarchetrit (Instagram) or @sarah.chetrit (TikTok).
* I am an inactive and unregistered CPA. This post is purely for entertainment purposes and does not contain financial advice.