6.   Tip Income

Introduction

This chapter is for employees who receive tips.

All tips you receive are income and are subject to federal income tax. You must include in gross income all tips you receive directly, charged tips paid to you by your employer, and your share of any tips you receive under a tip-splitting or tip-pooling arrangement.

The value of noncash tips, such as tickets, passes, or other items of value, is also income and subject to tax.

Reporting your tip income correctly is not difficult. You must do three things.

  1. Keep a daily tip record.

  2. Report tips to your employer.

  3. Report all your tips on your income tax return.

 
This chapter will explain these three things and show you what to do on your tax return if you have not done the first two. This chapter will also show you how to treat allocated tips.

For information on special tip programs and agreements, see Publication 531.

Useful Items - You may want to see:

Publication

  • 531 Reporting Tip Income

  • 1244 Employee's Daily Record of Tips and Report to Employer

Form (and Instructions)

  • 4137 Social Security and Medicare Tax on Unreported Tip Income

  • 4070 Employee's Report of Tips to Employer

Keeping a Daily Tip Record

Why keep a daily tip record.   You must keep a daily tip record so you can:
  • Report your tips accurately to your employer,

  • Report your tips accurately on your tax return, and

  • Prove your tip income if your return is ever questioned.

How to keep a daily tip record.   There are two ways to keep a daily tip record. You can either:
  • Write information about your tips in a tip diary, or

  • Keep copies of documents that show your tips, such as restaurant bills and credit or debit card charge slips.

You should keep your daily tip record with your tax or other personal records. You must keep your records for as long as they are important for administration of the federal tax law. For information on how long to keep records, see How long to keep records in chapter 1.

   If you keep a tip diary, you can use Form 4070A, Employee's Daily Record of Tips. To get Form 4070A, ask the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) or your employer for Publication 1244. Also, Publication 1244 is available online at www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p1244.pdf. Publication 1244 includes a 1-year supply of Form 4070A. Each day, write in the information asked for on the form.

  In addition to the information asked for on Form 4070A, you also need to keep a record of the date and value of any noncash tips you get, such as tickets, passes, or other items of value. Although you do not report these tips to your employer, you must report them on your tax return.

  If you do not use Form 4070A, start your records by writing your name, your employer's name, and the name of the business (if it is different from your employer's name). Then, each workday, write the date and the following information.
  • Cash tips you get directly from customers or from other employees.

  • Tips from credit and debit card charge customers that your employer pays you.

  • The value of any noncash tips you get, such as tickets, passes, or other items of value.

  • The amount of tips you paid out to other employees through tip pools or tip splitting, or other arrangements, and the names of the employees to whom you paid the tips.

Electronic tip record.   You can use an electronic system provided by your employer to record your daily tips. If you do, you must receive and keep a paper copy of this record.

Service charges.    Do not write in your tip diary the amount of any service charge that your employer adds to a customer's bill and then pays to you and treats as wages. This is part of your wages, not a tip. See examples below.

Example 1.

Good Food Restaurant adds an 18% charge to the bill for parties of 6 or more customers. Jane’s bill for food and beverages for her party of 8 includes an amount on the tip line equal to 18% of the charges for food and beverages, and the total includes this amount. Because Jane did not have an unrestricted right to determine the amount on the “tip line,” the 18% charge is considered a service charge. Do not include the 18% charge in your tip diary. Service charges that are paid to you are considered wages, not tips.

Example 2.

Good Food Restaurant also includes sample calculations of tip amounts at the bottom of its bills for food and beverages provided to customers. David’s bill includes a blank “tip line,” with sample tip calculations of 15%, 18%, and 20% of his charges for food and beverages at the bottom of the bill beneath the signature line. Because David is free to enter any amount on the “tip line” or leave it blank, any amount he includes is considered a tip. Be sure to include this amount in your tip diary.

Reporting Tips to Your Employer

Why report tips to your employer.   You must report tips to your employer so that:
  • Your employer can withhold federal income tax and social security, Medicare, Additional Medicare, or railroad retirement taxes,

  • Your employer can report the correct amount of your earnings to the Social Security Administration or Railroad Retirement Board (which affects your benefits when you retire or if you become disabled, or your family's benefits if you die), and

  • You can avoid the penalty for not reporting tips to your employer (explained later).

What tips to report.   Report to your employer only cash, check, and debit and credit card tips you receive.

  If your total tips for any 1 month from any one job are less than $20, do not report the tips for that month to that employer.

  If you participate in a tip-splitting or tip-pooling arrangement, report only the tips you receive and retain. Do not report to your employer any portion of the tips you receive that you pass on to other employees. However, you must report tips you receive from other employees.

   Do not report the value of any noncash tips, such as tickets or passes, to your employer. You do not pay social security, Medicare, Additional Medicare or railroad retirement taxes on these tips.

How to report.    If your employer does not give you any other way to report tips, you can use Form 4070. Fill in the information asked for on the form, sign and date the form, and give it to your employer. To get a 1-year supply of the form, ask the IRS or your employer for Publication 1244.

  If you do not use Form 4070, give your employer a statement with the following information.
  • Your name, address, and social security number.

  • Your employer's name, address, and business name (if it is different from your employer's name).

  • The month (or the dates of any shorter period) in which you received tips.

  • The total tips required to be reported for that period.

You must sign and date the statement. Be sure to keep a copy with your tax or other personal records.

  Your employer may require you to report your tips more than once a month. However, the statement cannot cover a period of more than 1 calendar month.

Electronic tip statement.   Your employer can have you furnish your tip statements electronically.

When to report.   Give your report for each month to your employer by the 10th of the next month. If the 10th falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday, give your employer the report by the next day that is not a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday.

Example.

You must report your tips received in September 2014 by October 10, 2014.

Final report.   If your employment ends during the month, you can report your tips when your employment ends.

Penalty for not reporting tips.   If you do not report tips to your employer as required, you may be subject to a penalty equal to 50% of the social security, Medicare, and Additional Medicare taxes or railroad retirement tax you owe on the unreported tips. (For information about these taxes, see Reporting social security, Medicare, Additional Medicare, or railroad retirement taxes on tips not reported to your employer under Reporting Tips on Your Tax Return, later.) The penalty amount is in addition to the taxes you owe.

  You can avoid this penalty if you can show reasonable cause for not reporting the tips to your employer. To do so, attach a statement to your return explaining why you did not report them.

Giving your employer money for taxes.   Your regular pay may not be enough for your employer to withhold all the taxes you owe on your regular pay plus your reported tips. If this happens, you can give your employer money until the close of the calendar year to pay the rest of the taxes.

  If you do not give your employer enough money, your employer will apply your regular pay and any money you give in the following order.
  1. All taxes on your regular pay.

  2. Social security, Medicare, and Additional Medicare taxes or railroad retirement taxes on your reported tips.

  3. Federal, state, and local income taxes on your reported tips.

   Any taxes that remain unpaid can be collected by your employer from your next paycheck. If withholding taxes remain uncollected at the end of the year, you may be subject to a penalty for underpayment of estimated taxes. See Publication 505, Tax Withholding and Estimated Tax, for more information.

  
Uncollected taxes. You must report on your tax return any social security and Medicare taxes or railroad retirement tax that remained uncollected at the end of 2013. These uncollected taxes will be shown on your 2013 Form W-2. See Reporting uncollected social security, Medicare, or railroad retirement taxes on tips reported to your employer under Reporting Tips on Your Tax Return, later.

Reporting Tips on Your Tax Return

How to report tips.    Report your tips with your wages on Form 1040, line 7; Form 1040A, line 7; or Form 1040EZ, line 1.

What tips to report.   You must report all tips you received in 2013 on your tax return, including both cash tips and noncash tips. Any tips you reported to your employer for 2013 are included in the wages shown in box 1 of your Form W-2. Add to the amount in box 1 only the tips you did not report to your employer.

  
If you received $20 or more in cash and charge tips in a month and did not report all of those tips to your employer, see Reporting social security, Medicare, Additional Medicare, or railroad retirement taxes on tips not reported to your employer, later.

  
If you did not keep a daily tip record as required and an amount is shown in box 8 of your Form W-2, see Allocated Tips, later.

  If you kept a daily tip record and reported tips to your employer as required under the rules explained earlier, add the following tips to the amount in box 1 of your Form W-2.
  • Cash and charge tips you received that totaled less than $20 for any month.

  • The value of noncash tips, such as tickets, passes, or other items of value.

Example.

Ben Smith began working at the Blue Ocean Restaurant (his only employer in 2013) on June 30 and received $10,000 in wages during the year. Ben kept a daily tip record showing that his tips for June were $18 and his tips for the rest of the year totaled $7,000. He was not required to report his June tips to his employer, but he reported all of the rest of his tips to his employer as required.

Ben's Form W-2 from Blue Ocean Restaurant shows $17,000 ($10,000 wages plus $7,000 reported tips) in box 1. He adds the $18 unreported tips to that amount and reports $17,018 as wages on his tax return.

Reporting social security, Medicare, Additional Medicare, or railroad retirement taxes on tips not reported to your employer.    If you received $20 or more in cash and charge tips in a month from any one job and did not report all of those tips to your employer, you must report the social security, Medicare, and Additional Medicare taxes on the unreported tips as additional tax on your return. To report these taxes, you must file a return even if you would not otherwise have to file. You must use Form 1040. (You cannot file Form 1040EZ or Form 1040A.)

   Use Form 4137 to figure social security and Medicare taxes. Enter the tax on your return as instructed, and attach the completed Form 4137 to your return. Use Form 8959 to figure Additional Medicare Tax.

  
If you are subject to the Railroad Retirement Tax Act, you cannot use Form 4137 to pay railroad retirement tax on unreported tips. To get railroad retirement credit, you must report tips to your employer.

Reporting uncollected social security, Medicare, or railroad retirement taxes on tips reported to your employer.   You may have uncollected taxes if your regular pay was not enough for your employer to withhold all the taxes you owe and you did not give your employer enough money to pay the rest of the taxes. For more information, see Giving your employer money for taxes , under Reporting Tips to Your Employer, earlier.

  If your employer could not collect all the social security and Medicare taxes or railroad retirement tax you owe on tips reported for 2013, the uncollected taxes will be shown in box 12 of your Form W-2 (codes A and B). You must report these amounts as additional tax on your return. Unlike the uncollected portion of the regular (1.45%) Medicare tax, the uncollected Additional Medicare Tax is not reported in box 12 of Form W-2 with code B.

   To report these uncollected taxes, you must file a return even if you would not otherwise have to file. You must report these taxes on Form 1040, line 60. See the instructions for Form 1040, line 60. (You cannot file Form 1040EZ or Form 1040A.)

Allocated Tips

If your employer allocated tips to you, they are shown separately in box 8 of your Form W-2. They are not included in box 1 with your wages and reported tips. If box 8 is blank, this discussion does not apply to you.

What are allocated tips.   These are tips that your employer assigned to you in addition to the tips you reported to your employer for the year. Your employer will have done this only if:
  • You worked in an establishment (restaurant, cocktail lounge, or similar business) that must allocate tips to employees, and

  • The tips you reported to your employer were less than your share of 8% of food and drink sales.

No income, social security, Medicare, Additional Medicare or railroad retirement taxes are withheld on allocated tips.

How were your allocated tips figured.   The tips allocated to you are your share of an amount figured by subtracting the reported tips of all employees from 8% (or an approved lower rate) of food and drink sales (other than carryout sales and sales with a service charge of 10% or more). Your share of that amount was figured using either a method provided by an employer-employee agreement or a method provided by IRS regulations based on employees' sales or hours worked. For information about the exact allocation method used, ask your employer.

Must you report your allocated tips on your tax return.   You must report all tips you received in 2013 on your tax return, including both cash tips and noncash tips. Any tips you reported to your employer for 2013 are included in the wages shown in box 1 of your Form W-2. Add to the amount in box 1 only the tips you did not report to your employer. This should include any allocated tips shown in box 8 on your Form(s) W-2, unless you have adequate records to show that you received less tips in the year than the allocated figures.

  See What tips to report under Reporting Tips on Your Tax Return, and Keeping a Daily Tip Record , earlier.

How to report allocated tips.   Report the amount in box 1 and the allocated tips in box 8 of your Form(s) W-2 as wages on Form 1040, line 7; Form 1040NR, line 8; or Form 1040NR-EZ, line 3. (You cannot file Form 1040A or Form 1040EZ when you have allocated tips.)

   Because social security, Medicare, and Additional Medicare taxes were not withheld from the allocated tips, you must report those taxes as additional tax on your return. Complete Form 4137, and include the allocated tips on line 1 of the form. See Reporting social security, Medicare, Additional Medicare, or railroad retirement taxes on tips not reported to your employer under Reporting Tips on Your Tax Return, earlier.


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