Do I need to pay taxes on money I make as a creator or on Twitch?

Do I need to pay taxes on money I make as a creator or on Twitch?

If you generate income as a result of streaming on Twitch, you are likely required to report these on your tax return.


Twitch Creators may earn money related to their channels in a variety of ways:

  • Twitch Subscriptions
  • Bits
  • Advertising
  • Sponsorships
  • Donations via 3rd parties such as Paypal, Venmo, etc.
  • Affiliate Links
  • Selling Merchandise

Generally, unless you happen to be a tax exempt organization (think churches, non-profits, etc), the money you earn from these activities will be income and you will be required to pay income tax on it. Note that "donations", despite their name, are considered income and must be reported for tax purposes.

Tax laws differ from country to country and evolve regularly. Always contact a licensed tax advisor such as a certified public accountant if you are not certain about how to report income, how much of your earnings to set aside for when taxes are due, which expenses can be deducted, etc.

Twitch Onboarding Process

Twitch requires all creators,  whether U.S. or non-U.S., or an organization that is non-profit or tax-exempt to provide Twitch valid taxpayer identification in order to comply with U.S. tax reporting regulations. To collect this taxpayer identification information, Twitch uses an online tax interview, which you will take during your onboarding as an Affiliate or Partner. If you need to retake the interview, you can log into your Twitch account. Once logged in, go to the Affiliate / Partner section under your Dashboard and once there, proceed through to the Partner / Affiliate Onboarding and click "Start Over".

For more information on this online tax interview process, please see the FAQs on tax issues in the Twitch Help Center.

US Streamers

As a US-based streamer, taxes will be due on income derived from your streaming activities. Generally, the process is as follows:

  1. Unless your information has changed, the information you provided in Twitch's online tax interview that you completed when you onboarded as an Affiliate or Partner will be passed along to the IRS to produce IRS Form W-8 or W-9.
  2. Independently keep track of all income earned from streaming activities throughout the year. You can do this in a spreadsheet, or using dedicated tax software.
  3. Twitch will make a Form 1099-MISC available to you on or before January 31 via snail mail. If you have consented to electronic delivery, you will receive an email from Twitch with instructions on how to retrieve your Form 1099-MISC electronically.
  4. If you receive money from any other source, you must independently report this on your taxes.

Unlike employee income, taxes for income you receive from your streaming activities are not automatically deducted. This means that you should always set aside a sufficient part of your income for taxes. This avoids unwelcome surprises when your tax bill is due.

California Lawyers for the Arts maintains a detailed tax guide that goes into great detail on various aspects of filing taxes as a creative artist. You can access the tax guide here.

TwitchCon 2017 featured a panel titled: "The Top 10 Things Streamers Need to Know About Accounting and Taxes". This panel was recorded, and lays out practical tips for dealing with taxes. In addition, you can review the FAQs on tax issues in the Twitch Help Center.

Non-US Streamers

Most countries will treat income received from streaming as taxable. Depending on where you live, the amount you earned may not meet the reporting threshold, or other exceptions may apply. Always consult a tax advisor if you are uncertain about your tax situation.

The U.S. IRS may require Twitch to withhold a percentage of payments issued to non-U.S. persons as a withholding tax that will automatically be deducted from the payment.

You may be eligible for a reduced rate of U.S. withholding tax under certain circumstances. For example, if your country of permanent residence has an income tax treaty with the U.S. The list of tax treaty countries and applicable rates can be found in IRS Publication 515.

Generally, the process with Twitch is similar to the process a US-based streamer faces.

  1. Twitch requires all non-U.S. payees to provide valid taxpayer identification information by taking the online tax interview to certify your non-U.S. status. You provide this information when you onboard as an Affiliate or Partner. A taxpayer identification number (TIN) is not required unless you wish to claim a reduced rate of withholding tax.
  2. You may be eligible for a reduced rate of U.S. withholding tax under certain circumstances. For example, if your country of permanent residence has an income tax treaty with the U.S. The list of tax treaty countries and applicable rates can be found in IRS Publication 515.
  3. Independently keep track of all income earned from streaming activities throughout the year. You can do this in a spreadsheet, or using dedicated tax software.
  4. Twitch will make Form 1042-S available to you on or before March 15 of the following calendar year via snail mail as the form will be postmarked on or before March 15 and will be sent to the physical address that you have provided in your Twitch onboarding process. If you have consented to electronic delivery and successfully logged into Tax Central, on or before March 15 of the following year, you will receive an email from Twitch with instructions on how to retrieve your Form 1042-S.
  5. If you receive money from any other source, you must independently report this on your taxes.

For more information, you can review the FAQs on tax issues in the Twitch Help Center.