By Jack Phillips
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) on Friday announced it would delay a rule that would have required tens of millions of Americans who received payments of at least $600 to report their earnings, following widespread confusion and angst about the new requirements.
Under the 2021 American Rescue Plan, anyone who earned $600 via platforms like PayPal, Etsy, Venmo, Airbnb, eBay, and others, would receive a 1099-K tax form from those services. Previously, those payment apps were required to send users the tax form if their gross income exceeded $20,000 or if they had 200 separate transactions in a calendar year.
But acting IRS Commissioner Doug O’Donnell told news outlets Friday that the rule triggered confusion and would be delayed by another year. The Epoch Times has contacted the Treasury Department for comment.
“The additional time will help reduce confusion during the coming 2023 tax filing season and provide more time for taxpayers to prepare and understand the new reporting requirements,” O’Donnell told the Wall Street Journal.
“The I.R.S. and Treasury heard a number of concerns regarding the timeline of implementation of these changes under the American Rescue Plan,” O’Donnel told the New York Times. “To help smooth the transition and ensure clarity for taxpayers, tax professionals and industry, the IRS will delay implementation of the 1099-K changes.”
The rule does not change what income is taxable, just what payment information the IRS will receive. Gig workers and sellers who use online platforms are required under the law to report and track their income.
Several weeks ago, the IRS issued a warning that taxpayers may need to have their financial documents ready ahead of the filing season, and some independent analysts said early filers should postpone submitting their tax returns if they anticipate getting a 1099-K form.
“A little extra caution could save people additional time and effort related to filing an amended tax return,” the IRS said. “Now, a transaction exceeding $600 can require the third party platform to issue a 1099-K. Money received through third party payment networks from friends and relatives as personal gifts or reimbursements for personal expenses is not taxable.”
Concerns and Confusion
Before O’Donnell’s statement, both Democrats and Republicans in Congress proposed raising the $600 reporting threshold or delaying the rule from being instated in 2023. In recent weeks, several Republican senators, including Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.), signaled they would be willing to raise the threshold, while Democrats sent letters to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen about how the IRS would handle processing the wave of 1099-K forms.
In a statement earlier this month, Scott accused the Treasury Department of launching “an outrageous violation of Americans’ privacy” and added the reporting rule is “stuff we see in communist China.” Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), the head of the Senate Finance Committee, sent a letter to Yellen urging the IRS to improve its communication about the pending rule change.
“There has been significant confusion about this provision, and the IRS needs to provide greater clarity to taxpayers as soon as possible,” Wyden said in the letter.
Yellen, meanwhile, has said the rule change was needed to deal with a significant, multi-trillion-dollar tax gap over the next decade. The secretary has expressed concern about what she has described as a shortfall in what the IRS has been able to collect from taxpayers.
Some groups representing PayPal, Venmo, CashApp, and other payment services have warned that gig workers who haven’t reported some of their income on their tax returns would receive a shock when they get their 1099-K forms on those previously untaxed earnings. One lawyer recently estimated that as many as 50 million Americans would be impacted.
“If Congress doesn’t act, we’ll see a tsunami of 1099s going out to people who will be confused,” Arshi Siddiqui, the attorney, told the New York Times on Dec. 21.
There has been confusion about whether the tax change would impact payments for gifts, payments for rent, or selling old items on eBay or similar services. Companies including PayPal, CashApp, and Venmo said that the rule change won’t affect gifts.
“This doesn’t include things like paying your family or friends back using PayPal or Venmo for dinner, gifts, shared trips,” PayPal says on its website.
On CashApp’s website, it says that “if you have a personal Cash App account, you will not receive a Form 1099-K from Cash App, and Cash App will not report any of your personal transactions to the IRS.”