How Do eBay Fees Affect Your Income Taxes? A Guide to eBay Tax Laws for Every Seller

How Do eBay Fees Affect Your Income Taxes? A Guide to eBay Tax Laws for Every Seller

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Michael Schwartz

Are you an eBay seller trying to figure out how your online sales can affect your income tax? With over 185 million active users using eBay to sell and buy products every day, it has become an amazing online marketplace where people can earn money. However, with additional income comes additional taxes, and every business person should know their tax obligations.

What is eBay Sales Tax?

Do I need to pay sales tax as an eBay seller?

Sales tax is a portion of the sale cost that calls for some vendors to collect on sales opportunities. The amount that must be paid varies from state to state and country to country, though eBay sellers are mandated to collect and document state sales tax under certain criteria. If you sell products in the same state eBay's located in, you'd be required to collect sales tax on all transactions from there.

What is the tax obligation for eBay sellers?

You need to collect sales tax from buyers if they happen to be located in the same state as your eBay account. You can use software like what eBay offers to your customer when they make a purchase. eBay would then pay the sales tax on your behalf. This means you don't have to worry about it at all. Nevertheless, the responsibility falls solely on the eBay seller in states not part of eBay's automated tax collection.

How does eBay's sales tax affect my income tax?

Sales tax is already added to the sales price, so you don't have to pay income tax. All sales tax you receive is set directly to the tax authority and shouldn't be considered revenue. If eBay collects and pays your sales tax, there's no need for that revenue to be reported on your tax return. 

If you are also a seller on Amazon, here is a comprehensive guide on sales tax for that platform.

Paying income tax on eBay profit

Understanding eBay Income Tax

Do I need to pay income tax as an eBay seller?

Of course, you don't want to owe the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). While many people view selling on platforms like Etsy and eBay as something similar to having a yard sale or an informal money-making hobby, this is not what the law views it. As long as you earn more than $400 selling on eBay, you need to report that income to the IRS and pay the tax you owe accordingly.

How do I file taxes for my eBay income?

You must file a tax return and pay self-employment tax if you are an eBay seller. You are considered self-employed and must report your sales income, what you've earned from selling on eBay in the past year, on a Schedule C that you attach to your Form 1040 income tax return.

Can I claim tax deductions as an eBay business?

Yes. Most eBay sellers have operating expenses they can consider as tax deductions and take out their business's taxable profits. Sellers on eBay may take out the cost of goods they buy to resell on eBay. They can also deduct the fees paid to eBay for services provided, listing fees, shipping and handling fees, packaging products, and any other expenses for running an eBay business. These administrative expenses include materials used to prepare eBay orders.

Tax deductions for eBay sellers

Collecting and Reporting eBay 1099 Taxes

What are eBay 1099 taxes, and do I need to pay them?

If you are a high-volume eBay seller, you will receive an IRS Form 1099-K, which eBay must file with the IRS on behalf of sellers who receive payments totaling more than $20,000 in gross sales and 200 or more transactions a year. This doesn't mean that you need to pay 1099 taxes. It's just an informational return reporting the income.

How do I report eBay income on my tax return?

You should report all business income on IRS Form 1040 Schedule C and pay self-employment tax on net profit from this business. This profit refers to whatever income is earned minus business expenses.

What are the tax deductions I can claim as an eBay seller?

The IRS allows eBay sellers to deduct all business-related expenses. The cost of items sold and fees paid to eBay can be considered tax deductions. Shipping supplies and materials used in preparing items for sale may also be included as tax deductions. Home office fees such as phone and internet bills, equipment, and business supplies also qualify as deductions against your income tax. If you want to learn more about tax deductions as an Amazon seller, click here.

Paying Self-Employment Tax on eBay Income

What is self-employment tax and how does it apply to eBay income?

The self-employment tax is a contribution to social security and Medicare that every self-employed individual, such as an eBay seller, must pay. The Social Security rate is 12.4%, and the Medicare rate is 2.9 % so the total self-employment tax is around 15.3 % on business income.

What is my self-employment tax obligation as an eBay seller?

As a seller on eBay, you are both an employee and an employer for taxes. You must pay self-employment taxes on your net earnings. If your net earnings from being self-employed exceed $400 in any tax year, you have to pay self-employment tax to the IRS.

Can I deduct eBay fees as a business expense for tax purposes?

Yes, all online selling platforms like eBay charge fees, and you can write off any expenses incurred as a business expense on your taxes.

Tax returns due every April 15th

eBay Income Tax Laws and Regulations

What are the tax laws and regulations for eBay sellers in the US?

Sellers on eBay must pay income tax and be subject to the laws that control all e-commerce and online marketplace activities. As a rule, the tax sellers on this platform need to settle is controlled by the same principles that apply to any online business: you must report your income and pay taxes on your gross eBay sales income.

When is the tax year for eBay sellers, and when do I need to file my taxes?

The IRS considers eBayers to be lawfully required to report all of their sales to the IRS in the tax year of the sale. It makes no difference when payment is received - what counts is when the sale occurs. The tax year follows the normal calendar year, and tax returns are due on April 15th every year.

What should I do if I receive a 1099-K for my eBay sales?

If you receive an IRS Form 1099-K, the information provided by such form will be sent to IRS, and therefore you will have to reimburse the right tax value into their pockets for your eBay sales. It’s very important to speak with a tax professional or use a reliable tax software program to avoid paying the wrong amount of taxes.

Earning money on eBay can be a great way to earn some income. Some would call it hobby sales, and that may be the case, but tax obligations still remain. It should not be ignored or overlooked. Sellers need to know about eBay sales tax, income tax, and self-employment tax, among others, for operating an online business on a platform like eBay.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do eBay Fees affect your income taxes?

As an eBay seller, you’re probably familiar with the notion that you have to pay taxes on your earnings — including any fees you pay to eBay. It can definitely impact what you report as taxable income and potentially increase how much tax you owe. Make sure to keep really good records of all the sales you make from eBay auctions and what fees you paid, and see a certified public accountant at least annually.

Do I have to pay taxes on my eBay sales?

Yes, if you are making money from your eBay sales - in other words, if you are turning a profit - then it is income that needs to be declared and paid as taxable income to the government. Whether you think of these sales as a hobby or garage sale earning, the IRS views it as income and will keep at least part of your profits by taxing you.

What is my tax rate on eBay sales?

Your tax rate will be determined by your total taxable income for the whole year. The US tax system is mostly progressive, which means that the bigger your income is, the higher the tax rate will apply to you. You should contact a tax professional to understand all details regarding your tax affairs and get useful tax tips.

How do I file my taxes as an eBay seller?

You'll need to report income on a tax return. If you're required to use Schedule C, file using that form while if you must use Schedule F, file using that form only. When you receive a tax form (1099-K) from eBay, insert those forms into your filing at tax time. Keep accurate records of all your sales and fees during the year so you don't have to go back and do more paperwork as much later to file taxes.

Do I have to pay sales tax on my eBay sales?

It depends on your state or locality’s applicable taxes. Some states require online sellers to collect and remit sales tax in the US, whereas others do not. Check the state tax laws where you do business to find out if you need to collect sales tax on your eBay sales.

Can I deduct eBay fees from my taxes?

Yes, you can deduct any eBay fees you paid as business expenses which will help reduce your taxable income. However, if you are selling as a hobby, you may be unable to claim these tax deductions. A tax professional can better inform you what tax deductions an eBay seller can claim.

How do I know if I have a taxable eBay business?

If you regularly profit from selling items on eBay, the IRS is likely to regard this as a business. This means you could be required to register for value-added tax and file your taxes as a business. Keep good records of what you sell and what you spend, and get advice from a professional to identify if your online selling activities qualify you as a business.

Do I need to pay income tax on my eBay sales if I am running an eBay business?

The Internet sales tax (the Marketplace Facilitator law) requires onsite marketplaces like eBay to collect and remit sales tax for their sellers in states where this is required. This means that eBay must collect the tax paid by your buyers and remit that tax to the state. You don't have to worry about it; check with your state tax agency for more information.

What should I do if I owe taxes on my eBay sales?

If you owe taxes on your sales on eBay, pay them by the tax filing deadline or ask for an extension so they do not apply penalties and interest. If you cannot pay the full amount immediately, you can also work with the IRS to devise a payment plan. A tax professional can provide more information about your obligations and advise you.

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Michael Schwartz
Michael is the CEO and co-founder of taxomate, one of the leading ecommerce accounting integration software solutions.