Most of us at one point in time or another pick up a side job. With the pressures of bills or emergency expenses facing us, it makes sense to earn some extra income.
If your side job also includes receiving tips from customers, it’s important to understand the “hows” and “whys” of reporting tip income.
The IRS requires taxpayers to report ALL income, including tips. You are required to report your tips if:
- You earn more than $20.00 in tips. Report the initial $20.00 plus anything over and above that amount.
- Tips are not included as a required gratuity or service charge instituted by your employer.
- If you have a slow month and don’t earn $20.00 in tips, you don’t need to report any tip income you do receive, as long as it is under the $20.00 threshold.
If your employer has attached an automatic gratuity or service to their price structure, you do not need to report that gratuity, even if your employer distributes the service charge or gratuity to you and other employees.
For example, if you’re have a side job as a limo driver and your employer adds a 5% gratuity to their rates, you do not need to report your share of the gratuity as tip income.
On the other hand, if at the end of the night, your customer tips you $50.00 for a job well done you will need to report the cash tip.
Tips can also be in the form of credit card charges, cash, gift cards, transit or event passes, and other gifts instead of cash. You do not need to report the value of non-monetary tips.
How to report your tips
You will need to get the IRS 4070 form from your manager, payroll department or HR department. Fill it out with all the required information and return it on or before the 10th of each month.
Your employer will then take the standard deductions for taxes and social security just as they do for your regular pay.
Why to report your tips
As with any tax matter, the IRS will assess penalties for withholding or under-reporting information, especially your income.
While it may be tempting to not report your tips in order to get caught up on expenses or to save for a vacation, it is essential that you report tip income.
If you choose not to report your tip income, you could face penalties and fines for failure to report all of your income. Consequences can include a penalty equal to 50% of the applicable payroll taxes on the tips. This penalty will be in addition to any unpaid taxes you owe.
In addition, accurately reporting your tips will ensure that you receive the correct amount of Social Security and Medicare benefits once you become eligible.
Keep accurate records of your tips since you will also need to report them at the end of the year when you file your tax return.
Fill out the IRS 4070 form, and return it to your manager or payroll department on the 10th of each month. Doing so will ensure that you are accurately reporting your income to the IRS.