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Americans: Paying Tax on Online Survey Income
The IRS (Internal Revenue Service) requires all individual income to be claimed, no matter what the source. There is no such minimum dollar value such as $500 or more that has to be claimed - each and every penny you make should be reported on your personal income tax to the IRS. Online survey earnings are normally reported under "other income" on your personal income tax. Records that substantiate the amount of this income (such as check stubs from market research companies) should be kept on file.
If you receive a W99 form from a market research company, you are considered a self-employed contractor of the marketing firm. Your total yearly earnings should also be claimed under "other income" on your personal income taxes, however you are also able to complete Schedule C, which allows for deductible expenses. Expenses incurred taking online survey taking are minimal, but can include such things as internet access, electricity, office furniture, computer equipment, etc. These expenses will offset your total income earned, but you will still be required to pay self-employment tax on the remaining income.
If you claim a substantial amount of income on the "other personal income" line of your personal income tax without completing Schedule C, the IRS will question this. It is important to receive W99 forms from market research companies with whom you have generated large amounts of income from. Not only will this appease the IRS, but it is also beneficial for you to be considered self-employed as you are able to write off expenses. If you have not received a W99 form from an online survey company, contact them and ask them to issue you this form.
If you have additional income tax questions, please contact the IRS directly.