Big Tax Headaches for the Gurus (and everyone else)

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There were some prior threads about the new healthcare law and the upcoming need to file 1099 forms for practically any business purchases of $600 or more.

EVERY Internet Marketing ("IM") purchase you make should be considered a business purchase.

In the news today, gold dealers are up in arms because literally every sale they make exceeds $600, and they're looking at a blizzard of forms.

IM Gurus should be next to start phoning their favorite politician.

Sell an IM product for more than $600 and the IRS is going to want the Guru to file a 1099 form listing the buyer's name, address, telephone number, and social security number / taxpayer identification number.

Another copy of the 1099 is sent to the buyer, which will include similar information about the Guru.

Don't forget about the new 'PayPal' law, part of a different bill, which will also require 1099s to be filed and sent by PayPal and other credit card processors.

And of course, don't forget about any affiliate in the equation - another 1099.

Soooo .... sell one of the $1997 courses via PayPal or credit card, have an affiliate, and suddenly you have 1099s coming out your ears.

(Maybe all those $1997 products will become $599.99 products?)
#big #gurus #headaches #tax
  • Profile picture of the author Paul Hancox
    Originally Posted by kindsvater View Post

    (Maybe all those $1997 products will become $599.99 products?)
    Or maybe they will now be sold in 4 parts... $497 per part
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    • Profile picture of the author Lance K
      Seems like the IRS would have to drastically increase staff to handle all the extra paperwork.
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    • Profile picture of the author Lance K
      Originally Posted by Paul Hancox View Post

      Or maybe they will now be sold in 4 parts... $497 per part
      That won't work.

      But I'm assuming that's why you included the .
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  • Profile picture of the author BizBoost
    This is why companies are leaving this country. Perhaps it's time to open up an office in Malaysia.
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  • Profile picture of the author jacktackett
    Originally Posted by kindsvater View Post

    (Maybe all those $1997 products will become $599.99 products?)

    You need to be careful about this tactic too. While I'm not a lawyer like you Brian, there was a case recently here where a man made several deposits under the reporting cap (can't remember if the cap is 5K or 10K - but he made multiple deposits just under the cap).

    Now he had claimed and paid income tax on all the money he had - and of course he proved he had received the money legally. All of which the prosecutors admitted in court. But the man was still successfully prosecuted for evading the law.

    It was covered in the News and Observer here in Raleigh NC - the man involved was a lawyer who collected his fees over several years in cash, but became concerned he'd be robbed by keeping it all at home - so he started depositing it.

    What is our country coming too?

    --Jack
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  • Profile picture of the author Chris Worner
    Come to Australia, no BS paperwork laws like this and the country isn't going bankrupt either unlike the rest of the world.

    Chris
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    • Profile picture of the author mainstreetcm
      Originally Posted by skyfox7 View Post

      Come to Australia, no BS paperwork laws like this and the country isn't going bankrupt either unlike the rest of the world.

      Chris
      Count me in! I've always wanted to live in Australia and find me a sexy Aussie girl haha. I've heard your country has really strange entertainment laws though.

      Back to the OP. So if you make over $600 in business proceedings don't you have to start paying taxes on that anyway and fill out the 1099 forms? Or am I getting something confused...
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      • Profile picture of the author Kay King
        those with expertise to weigh in
        What kind of expertise do you recognize...perhaps a lawyer like Kindsvater??

        Paperwork landmines like this are what happens when you rush through bills before reading them.

        kay
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        • Profile picture of the author Bill Farnham
          Originally Posted by Kay King View Post

          Paperwork landmines like this are what happens when you rush through bills before reading them.
          Kay,

          It was clearly stated by the leadership that we had to "pass the bill so we could see what was in it".

          Are you saying they 'rushed' it? :rolleyes:

          On another note, after doing some reading up on the bill it wouldn't surprise me if they have to repeal it. Not necessarily before damage is done, but the way it looks right now the scheme just won't work out as intended.

          Or maybe that's the point...

          ~Bill
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        • Profile picture of the author J Bold
          Originally Posted by Kay King View Post

          What kind of expertise do you recognize...perhaps a lawyer like Kindsvater??

          Paperwork landmines like this are what happens when you rush through bills before reading them.

          kay

          How about a CPA? I heard other lawyers on this very topic giving completely different opinions, as well. I meant the peanut gallery posts are not really helpful, we need a complete, clear view from knowledgeable discussion.
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          • Profile picture of the author Lance K
            Originally Posted by redicelander View Post

            How about a CPA? I heard other lawyers on this very topic giving completely different opinions, as well. I meant the peanut gallery posts are not really helpful, we need a complete, clear view from knowledgeable discussion.
            At this point even those with "expertise" only have opinions as well. So until something official is announced, I'll trust my reading comprehension skills to interpret the bill. Regardless, 2012 is still a ways off, so I won't get too consumed with it.
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            • Profile picture of the author J Bold
              Originally Posted by Lance K View Post

              At this point even those with "expertise" only have opinions as well. So until something official is announced, I'll trust my reading comprehension skills to interpret the bill. Regardless, 2012 is still a ways off, so I won't get too consumed with it.

              Do you have a link to where we can read it? I think this would be helpful for everybody. And it's set to come in to play starting in 2012, only?

              Thanks for your comments, more knowledge on a confusing topic never hurt anybody. And yes, I think it's all opinions at this point, and that's just what I wanted to hear, more opinions but those with a bit more knowledge than the rest. The OP is one voice, and probably more knowledgeable than the rest, just wanted to hear more viewpoints.
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              • Profile picture of the author Jimmy Reilly
                Originally Posted by redicelander View Post

                Do you have a link to where we can read it? I think this would be helpful for everybody. And it's set to come in to play starting in 2012, only?

                Thanks for your comments, more knowledge on a confusing topic never hurt anybody. And yes, I think it's all opinions at this point, and that's just what I wanted to hear, more opinions but those with a bit more knowledge than the rest. The OP is one voice, and probably more knowledgeable than the rest, just wanted to hear more viewpoints.
                It's true:
                Prepare Now For 1099 Reporting Under The Health Care Act

                Apparently any purchases after December 31, 2011.

                Big thanks to the OP for bringing this to my attention! Funny thing is I have been on the fence about moving my company overseas next year, and if this pans out the way it looks like it is, my mind will have been made up for me. It will no longer make any sense for me to own a business in the USA.
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      • Profile picture of the author Chris Worner
        Originally Posted by mainstreetcm View Post

        Count me in! I've always wanted to live in Australia and find me a sexy Aussie girl haha. I've heard your country has really strange entertainment laws though.
        Indeed, you Americans think you have censorship issues? You should do a search on films that have been banned in Australia, then of course, there is that absurd internet filter. I might also mention the stupid pornography distribution laws in this country. Even better, we have a very politically correct speech system as well.

        As for the ladies, they do seem to have a thing for travelers, so getting laid should be no issue.

        Chris
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  • Profile picture of the author Jacqueline Smith
    After reading this thread I am reminded how fortunate I am to be living in Canada. We have rules too but they're much more reasonable!
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  • Profile picture of the author J Bold
    This has been debated here, before. One tax expert said to hold on to your horses and that the law is intended just to be more clear about independent contractors and anyone who generates money for your in your business. If they generate money for you and you pay them over $600, then you file a 1099 for them.

    Now, I know some are saying if it's you make any business purchase over $600 you need to file a 1099 for that business you bought from because it appears that's the way the law is written.

    Also, your joke makes no sense about making products $599 instead of $1997. (edit: unless you're talking about IM products, which it looks like you are, that you don't want to get a bunch of 1099s from buyers, then, I see. But not for non-IM products). Also, if an affiliate makes $1000 with one sale or $1000 with 3 sales, it doesn't matter, you still have to file a 1099 for them. Of course you have always had to file 1099 for affiliates, that hasn't really changed.

    The best way for threads like this is for those with expertise to weigh in and give their expert advice. That's what I'd like to hear. Otherwise, it's just a bunch of flaming the IRS, which can be granted but doesn't really help us see through the mud, and alarmist statements. I don't know either way about this law, but I would like to hear more from those who truly know what they're talking about.
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    • Profile picture of the author Steven Carl Kelly
      Originally Posted by redicelander View Post

      This has been debated here, before. One tax expert said to hold on to your horses and that the law is intended just to be more clear about independent contractors and anyone who generates money for your in your business. If they generate money for you and you pay them over $600, then you file a 1099 for them.
      I just popped in to say: THIS.
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      • Profile picture of the author Lance K
        Originally Posted by Steven Carl Kelly View Post

        Originally Posted by redicelander View Post

        This has been debated here, before. One tax expert said to hold on to your horses and that the law is intended just to be more clear about independent contractors and anyone who generates money for your in your business. If they generate money for you and you pay them over $600, then you file a 1099 for them.
        I just popped in to say: THIS.
        Well, the number of 1099s a "guru" gets could be the latest and greatest form of social proof then. More 1099s means their product/program/whatever worked for more people.



        Sorry, couldn't resist.
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  • Profile picture of the author Steven Carl Kelly
    Ok, if you're THAT worried about it, the IRS is seeking public comments on the issue:

    Internal Revenue Bulletin - July 19, 2010 - Notice 2010-51

    You have until September 29 to make your thoughts known.
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  • Profile picture of the author kindsvater
    Jack and others - you're right about multiple payments. The threshhold for reporting is an amount paid to someone during the year. Having a bunch of $500 payments does not skirt the law.

    Regarding the IRS request for opinions - no question there is, and will be, attempted backpeddling because this is all so absurd.

    But here is the problem (without going back to doublecheck the Healthcare Reform Law), the new form reporting requirement is statutory. Not regulatory. If it was regulatory then the IRS could simply say stop sending us all these worthless 1099s, we only want _________. Statutory changes have to be made by Congress.

    Of course, if someone wanted to be enterprising about this, there's a whole new business opportunity to do this for everyone who just wants to work from home in their underwear.
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  • Profile picture of the author Steven Carl Kelly
    Personally, I don't see this as that big of a burden even if it goes into effect without modification, to be honest. Let's break this down (I'm going to purposely go a little simplistic simply for the sake of discussion):

    - You will need to keep track of all of your business expenses (something you should be doing anyway);

    - You will have to file a 1099 for anyone you pay business expenses of $600 or more during the year;

    - You will have to keep track of all of your business income (something you should be doing anyway);

    - You will receive a 1099 from anyone who pays YOU $600 or more during the year.

    Ok, so in the end it boils down to this...

    The record keeping is something you should be already doing. If you're not, then you're just taking unsanctioned shortcuts you shouldn't be taking anyhow. Come tax time, you will be required to send 1099's and you will receive them. By the time this comes into effect, there's no doubt in my mind that you will be able to send these 1099 forms electronically, and there will be no postage requirements.

    No doubt there will be a service provider who will handle these for you, for a small fee.

    In the end, it seems to me that this is a just some more paperwork that, when the rubber meets the road, shouldn't add more than a few hours to my tax preparation. Again, knowing where your money goes and where it comes from is something you ALREADY should be doing, and are required to do by law.

    Personally, I use my AMEX for almost every single business-related expense and at the end of the year AMEX provides me a complete breakdown of every dime I spent, sorted out by name.
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    • Profile picture of the author Jeremy Kelsall
      Originally Posted by Steven Carl Kelly View Post

      Personally, I don't see this as that big of a burden even if it goes into effect without modification, to be honest. Let's break this down (I'm going to purposely go a little simplistic simply for the sake of discussion):

      - You will need to keep track of all of your business expenses (something you should be doing anyway);

      - You will have to file a 1099 for anyone you pay business expenses of $600 or more during the year;

      - You will have to keep track of all of your business income (something you should be doing anyway);

      - You will receive a 1099 from anyone who pays YOU $600 or more during the year.

      Ok, so in the end it boils down to this...

      The record keeping is something you should be already doing. If you're not, then you're just taking unsanctioned shortcuts you shouldn't be taking anyhow. Come tax time, you will be required to send 1099's and you will receive them. By the time this comes into effect, there's no doubt in my mind that you will be able to send these 1099 forms electronically, and there will be no postage requirements.

      No doubt there will be a service provider who will handle these for you, for a small fee.

      In the end, it seems to me that this is a just some more paperwork that, when the rubber meets the road, shouldn't add more than a few hours to my tax preparation. Again, knowing where your money goes and where it comes from is something you ALREADY should be doing, and are required to do by law.

      Personally, I use my AMEX for almost every single business-related expense and at the end of the year AMEX provides me a complete breakdown of every dime I spent, sorted out by name.
      I think the point is that it is an change that isn't necessary and it is more or less a pain in the ass. The tax code is something that is supposed to be easily understood - not something where you have to get the opinion of 5 different lawyers or CPA's and then decide which one you think is right.
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    • Profile picture of the author kindsvater
      Originally Posted by Steven Carl Kelly View Post

      In the end, it seems to me that this is a just some more paperwork that....

      Personally, I use my AMEX for almost every single business-related expense and at the end of the year AMEX provides me a complete breakdown of every dime I spent, sorted out by name.
      Steven, you and I apparently have much different tax returns. Mine already hit the triple-digit mark in page length. It you're not affected - fine. But for me and millions of other businesses, 'just some more paperwork' is a lot of time and expense.

      This is not purely speculation, but I'm guessing that if you had to redo your 2009 tax filings, and have 1099s prepared, your AMEX expense report is just a starting point. You will not be able to prepare 1099s from it.

      For example, you pay my law office $750 using AMEX via PayPal for a liability review of your websites. That doesn't give you squat to prepare a 1099.

      And if you don't, the fines from the IRS can be nasty.

      But at least you're smart enough to use your AMEX for business expenses. That is a good way to save yourself a lot of time and headache each tax season. One thing you may want to also consider is to photocopy receipts and put them in a yearly binder or envelope. Not only can that help prepare the taxes, but it's a lifesaver if you're ever audited.

      ----

      Just a thought ... if you're writing off a portion of your home expenses and utilities due to a home office, I wonder if you may have even more 'hidden' 1099s to file.
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      • Profile picture of the author Steven Carl Kelly
        Originally Posted by kindsvater View Post

        Steven, you and I apparently have much different tax returns. Mine already hit the triple-digit mark in page length. It you're not affected - fine. But for me and millions of other businesses, 'just some more paperwork' is a lot of time and expense.
        My accountant actually prepares my return, but naturally I have to supply all of the appropriate documentation for preparation. I do already have to deal with a bunch of 1099's annually.

        Originally Posted by kindsvater View Post

        This is not purely speculation, but I'm guessing that if you had to redo your 2009 tax filings, and have 1099s prepared, your AMEX expense report is just a starting point. You will not be able to prepare 1099s from it.

        For example, you pay my law office $750 using AMEX via PayPal for a liability review of your websites. That doesn't give you squat to prepare a 1099.
        Yeah, I have to pull my PayPal activity to match up with my AMEX. And of course I keep copies of all records offline as well as online in several places. It will be more work for me, but not so much that I have to start wringing my hands over it right now.

        It sort of reminds me of all the furor and worry and upset in the forum over the updated FTC guidance regarding testimonials and typical results.

        We'll see how it all works out. If it happens I'll comply. I won't be happy about it, but I also won't get out my stool and my rope, either.
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  • Profile picture of the author Sonomacats
    I hate living where it snows (I used to live in Minnesota). But it might be time to head for Canada.
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  • Profile picture of the author mfusionxl
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    • Profile picture of the author Boomachucka
      You know, I was going to post something asking about this... I may end up contacting a government official, but I should as here anyways since there are other Canadian marketers here

      Once you have your American EIN number, which is a requirement of the W-8 BEN, are you liable for supporting things such as this/other IRS forms? It was my understanding that you would be listed as a company providing services from outside the 'States and therefore only have to pay whatever your own country's tax laws may apply.

      Sorry for the minor jacking, but I figure it's better to put it here than put up a whole new thread.
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  • Profile picture of the author mainstreetcm
    I would like to add that I do feel this will be modified. Big business owns the government and I really don't see this as something "big business" will want to partake in. Look to see this go through some changes before the December 2011 deadline.
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  • Profile picture of the author timpears
    What ever happened to "The Paperwork Reduction Act"? This obviously violates that big time.

    It is amazing to me how politicians, especially liberal politicians, can put stupid obstacles in the way of business. They just can't figure it out that the harder you make it for business to make a profit, the less jobs you create. And they wonder why the job growth is dismal. When are they going to wise up?
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    • Profile picture of the author Mohammad Afaq
      Originally Posted by timpears View Post

      What ever happened to "The Paperwork Reduction Act"? This obviously violates that big time.

      It is amazing to me how politicians, especially liberal politicians, can put stupid obstacles in the way of business. They just can't figure it out that the harder you make it for business to make a profit, the less jobs you create. And they wonder why the job growth is dismal. When are they going to wise up?
      It's not only the liberals, it's all the politicians.

      The problem is that the politicians' advertising and promotion budgets are huge but their brains, not as much.
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  • Profile picture of the author Sonomacats
    This presumes that the IRS has a way of figuring out that each individual IM'er actually paid more than $600 to any one specific other IM'er. When we fill out our Schedule C's, all purchases are lumped into one sum and are not itemized. (Of course, this could change, but for now that's the case.)

    How the heck are they going to track down each and every person engaged in IM and check where the money went? They can't possibly audit every one of us.

    And that presupposes that we keep "accurate" records of each payee. What's to stop someone from designating a different payee when the amount nears $575 just so they don't have to deal with that kind of paperwork?

    It reminds me of the way jobs are set up so you are forced to lie about being sick when all you wanted was a sick day. You're not allowed to simply ask for a sick day. You are required to call in "sick" that day instead of being allowed to be honest.

    In this case, I suspect a good portion of the IM industry (and probably others) will simply not deal with this garbage and huge waste of time by keeping appropriately edited records. They'll still show the total amount spent on each category, but no one individual (according to the records) will get more than $600.

    As a seller, it will be a little more interesting coming up with ways to get around that amount or the reporting requirements.

    Really, the IRS is just creating another reason to be creative in filing taxes and getting around this ridiculous time waster.

    As Steven said, "Idiots".
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    • Profile picture of the author Steven Carl Kelly
      Originally Posted by Sonomacats View Post

      This presumes that the IRS has a way of figuring out that each individual IM'er actually paid more than $600 to any one specific other IM'er. When we fill out our Schedule C's, all purchases are lumped into one sum and are not itemized. (Of course, this could change, but for now that's the case.)
      Not just IM'ers, but business expense you have. If you go buy office supplies from Office Depot and spend more than $600 with them over the course of the year, according to some interpretations of the rule you'll need to send them a 1099.

      Originally Posted by Sonomacats View Post

      How the heck are they going to track down each and every person engaged in IM and check where the money went? They can't possibly audit every one of us.
      They won't have to. Remember this is a two-way process. You'll file a 1099 for payments, and the payees will have to file that they received income from you. So if the IRS finds records that don't jibe (Mr. X reports that he got $2,000 in income from you but you don't report paying Mr. X anything), that will increase your audit risk.

      Originally Posted by Sonomacats View Post

      And that presupposes that we keep "accurate" records of each payee. What's to stop someone from designating a different payee when the amount nears $575 just so they don't have to deal with that kind of paperwork?
      Our failure to keep accurate records is not a defense. We are all required to keep accurate records. Not sure what you mean by "designating a different payee" but if you mean paying a DIFFERENT person to do the work, then that's perfectly fine. If you mean using a different NAME for the same person when it comes to record keeping, then that wouldn't be effective. 1099's are recorded based on the taxpayer ID number, not name. So no matter what name you put on the transactions, you will be required to use an accurate taxpayer ID number.

      Again, I view this as nothing more than a minor annoyance that is probably going to be modified before it comes into effect anyway. 1099's are things that I already deal with every year, this will only increase the volume. Now for those who aren't keeping accurate records in the first place, well, they'll probably consider this a lot more burdensome.
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  • Profile picture of the author Sonomacats
    But as a payor, if you don't file a 1099, they have nothing to match it up to. I certainly don't give my taxpayer ID to whoever I'm buying from. Nor do I collect it when I'm purchasing the latest WSO. And I can't see the IRS enforcing this for purchases like that.

    Of course, as you say, it will likely be modified over the next year. The nightmare of actually making this work and enforcing it is going to become extremely clear - not to mention the hordes of people protesting when they find out more of the details.
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    • Profile picture of the author Steven Carl Kelly
      Originally Posted by Sonomacats View Post

      Of course, as you say, it will likely be modified over the next year. The nightmare of actually making this work and enforcing it is going to become extremely clear - not to mention the hordes of people protesting when they find out more of the details.
      The US government is controlled by big business. If big business finds this too burdensome, then you can expect it to somehow go away... or perhaps they'll just get exemptions for big business!
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  • Profile picture of the author rondo
    I think the US should get rid of all the different sales taxes and introduce a national 10% GST. This will simplify business, make many things cheaper, and every receipt/invoice automatically becomes a 'tax invoice'. No 1099's needed.

    It works quite well down here in Oz.


    Andrew
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    • Profile picture of the author Kevin Marshall
      Originally Posted by rondo View Post

      I think the US should get rid of all the different sales taxes and introduce a national 10% GST. This will simplify business, make many things cheaper, and every receipt/invoice automatically becomes a 'tax invoice'. No 1099's needed.

      It works quite well down here in Oz.


      Andrew
      Well it seems so easy to us..but common sense has gone out the window in the United States government.

      I think it would be awesome if we just paid a 10% flat tax. The economy would be booming!
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  • Profile picture of the author timpears
    And they complain about all the jobs going overseas. Duh!! Pretty soon, the only jobs in the USA will be working for the government. Not sure where the tax revenue will come from though.
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  • Profile picture of the author zorus
    The US government is controlled by a socialist lawyer president, socialist people don't care about business and progress, lawyer love paperwork and trouble, so you have a socialist and lawyer, what can be worst than that. Also thy are people who know nothing about how economics works, all should read to Milton Friedman and Ayn Rand.

    Do you know what party rules the worst Europeans economies countries, Yes the socialist party from Greek and Spain. Recently Iceland played with bankruptcy, they had socialist president too.

    In the other side, Singapore is a Neo Liberal dictatorial country and they are great.
    South Korea, they fight hard to any socialist rules, and they are great now.

    This is serious stuff guys.
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  • Profile picture of the author Sonomacats
    As much as I get tired of the endless initiatives that have made a hash of California, it would be nice to be able to vote on a national 10% tax. I suspect it would pass by a landslide.
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    You can find the first prequel to my Purgatory series (How Blended are Dust and Fire) on Amazon and Smashwords.

    Whether you think you can or think you cannot, you are right. -- Henry Ford

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