Yes, all tips and donations received by a Twitch streamer are taxable income in the United States, whether these amounts have been received directly from your Twitch account, or indirectly from your fans paid to your PayPal account.
How do Twitch streamers pay taxes? See our detailed U.S. Tax Guide.
Twitch Income That Is Taxable in the United States
Anytime you are carrying on a business through social media channels or digital platforms, such as Twitch, you must report all income, both monetary and non-monetary, on your personal income tax return, and specifically on your Form 1040 tax return as self-employment income.
Income earned from any of the below items must be reported on your tax return:
- Subscriptions to your channel
- Advertising income
- Sponsorship income
- Merchandise sales or commissions on sales
- Tips and donations
- Perks such as products, clothes, trips, games, or other gifts
- Referral codes
Twitch Expenses That Are Tax Deductible
While you must include all of the above-listed items as taxable income, you are also entitled to a deduction for expenses incurred that relate to earning that income. Some things that you may deduct from your Twitch income include, but are not limited to:
- Business use of home expenses
- Office expenses
- Internet costs
- Cell phone costs
- Professional fees
- Vehicle and mileage
- Travel costs
- Data storage and subscriptions
- Bank account and credit card fees
- Gaming hardware, systems, and games
- Computer hardware and software
- Camera equipment, webcams, lighting
Consult a Tax Professional
As a Twitch streamer, you should ensure that you consult your tax professional to ensure that you have adequately reported all of your income from all sources and ensure that you are fairly taking a deduction against this income.