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I have sponsors on Github and rake in a cool $2 per month. It's obviously less after taxes so I also have a day job.


A ~5k star project of mine brings in an average of maybe ~$15 of donations per year, so I suspect you’re already outperforming the median donation/star (or I’m way underperforming).

Be hilarious if the tax people in various countries started checking repos to see if people were reporting their donations as they assumed you guys make bank.

They do not need to do that, they just get a report from the banks and ask you to declare your income.

I suspect you are European.

In the USA, any non-shady organization will send you a 1099-<some_code> report of how much income you generated. You're supposed to submit that form when you do your taxes, which is kind of dumb, because a copy of the 1099 was already sent to the IRS. USA tax filing is not efficient for reasons...

gives Intuit the stink eye

The threshold for a 1099-MISC is $600. Plenty of non-shady organizations won't file extra paperwork.

Another 1099 example: For most states Stripe won't issue you a 1099-K if you don't meet both $20K volume and >200 charges. Is Stripe shady?

Heck, a buddy showed me a form letter the IRS sent him when he was first starting out and didn't make a whole lot of money (< $500 living at home). He had filed taxes and the IRS had sent him a letter telling him he really didn't need to file and please don't do it again until he had a higher income. He is doing much better now and keeps the letter as inspiration.

But the IRS isn't aware of what deductions you have and what credits you qualify for until you tell them. This completely changes your tax liability.

When you actually understand the system, it makes sense why it is the way it is.

But what are those based on? Do you really need to reenter/recalculate them each year?

Countries like Estonia prefill the tax filing and they say somewhere above 90% of people don't need to make any changes when they file. Most people file within the first day and get their rebate within less than a week. If you had no significant changes (eg opened foreign bank accounts or sjmjlsr) you likely have no need to change anything. There's little fraud possible as data gathered is good and even less mistakes are possible. No one spends a day on their taxes and few need tla tax advisor for regular filing. This is increasingly common across at least Europe but sadly in few countries does it reach such sophistication yet.

Are you sure the US system works that well?

You get forms from your financial institutions, jobs, and healthcare companies. Some of the forms aren't even available until after your taxes are due.

> You're supposed to submit that form when you do your taxes, which is kind of dumb, because a copy of the 1099 was already sent to the IRS.

Isn't that just an escape hatch if you do have additional income to report? The tax office should present it as such. Here, the tax office gets that kind of report from a bank. If I agree that it's correct, all I have to do is sign a prefilled form digitally. Unless I've generated income elsewhere, doing the taxes as an employer literally takes less than 5 minutes.

It isn't though, even though the irs has that information for most people we have to fill out tax forms as if the irs had nothing.

I mean practically, as in the only practical use of it is as an escape hatch for when your income isn't accurately reflected by the forms.

For US citizens, you have to provide social security number. Stripe may have some minimum requirement to generate a 1099 and report to the IRS, but that number is definitely less than $600 ($50/mo)

Just curious (clicked on your GitHub profile), why Singapore? Do you remote work/freelance? I'm thinking about moving to SE Asia and working remotely. It would be cool to hear other HN user's experiences :)

I work for a bank. They also have an office in London but I like Singapore more.

To avoid paying too many taxes on those sweet donations of course /s

In Sweden gifts are tax-free, where do you live and how much tax do you have to pay on those 2$?

It's an interesting question (as far as tax can be interesting!), whether patreon and other contribution/donations systems count as gifts, or income from your work.

I'm sure the tax authorities would like argue it is income, if you're making $8K monthly on patreon (e.g. Dwarf fortress creators).

Patreon seems to think it's likely to be income:


Which makes me wonder, is there some other way to aggregate donations such that they are gifts?

I think most tax departments will say they are gifts, but also that gifts are income.

And “give €5 and get a sticker” might make it a sale, making it subject to VAT, too.

In the US gifts are tax free unless someone gives you a large gift. Last I checked it was $10,000, but I believe it is around $18,000 now. Obviously this is large enough that few people care.

Gifts are always tax free for the recipient unless both parties fill out some additional paperwork. The annual tax exemption is currently $14k but goes up every couple of years.

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