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Unveiling the Secrets of Taxable Income: What You Need to Know

Navigating the landscape of taxable income can be intricate and full of unexpected twists. In this article, we explore different scenarios that might take individuals by surprise when it comes to understanding taxable income.

1. Uncovering the Basics of Taxable Income

To comprehend what income is taxable, we must start with Section 61(a) of the Internal Revenue Code. This section defines gross income as income from any source, with specific exclusions. Whether it’s compensation for services, fees, commissions, or fringe benefits, all contribute to taxable income. Even finding a $10 bill on the street is technically considered taxable income.

2. Common Misconceptions About Taxable Income

While W-2 wages, 1099 income, and various investment returns are widely known to be taxable, there are other sources often overlooked:

  1. The $600 Threshold Myth
    Many believe that if income is below $600, it’s not taxable. This is a misconception; the $600 threshold is for 1099 reporting, not taxation. Even income below this limit is still taxable, as with interest income reported on a 1099-INT.
  2. Cash Sales and the 1099-K
    Businesses may exclude cash sales, assuming they can’t be traced. However, the IRS introduced the Form 1099-K to track third-party transactions, reducing the reporting threshold to $600 in 2023. Individuals with online side hustles should be aware of this change.

3. Unique Sources of Taxable Income

Exploring unconventional sources of taxable income sheds light on unsuspecting scenarios:

  1. Reselling Sports and Concert Tickets
    Profits from reselling tickets, especially with the lowered 1099-K threshold, constitute taxable income. Determining whether it’s an occasional act or a consistent business effort affects how it’s reported and taxed.
  2. Crowdfunding and the Gift Tax Trap
    Crowdfunding for non-business purposes is typically non-taxable, but a “gift tax trap” occurs when funds are held by the fundraiser before reaching the beneficiary. Understanding the gift tax implications is crucial.
  3. On-line Garage Sales and the 1099-K
    Even personal property sales on platforms like eBay may trigger a 1099-K if the proceeds exceed $600. While most personal sales are non-taxable, reporting procedures are necessary to reconcile 1099-K income.


Navigating the complexities of taxable income requires vigilance and understanding of diverse scenarios. From cash sales to online garage sales, each source contributes to the overall tax picture. If you have questions or concerns about any discussed issues, do not hesitate to contact our office for guidance. Stay informed, stay compliant, and make the most of your financial journey.

JS Morlu LLC is a top-tier accounting firm based in Woodbridge, Virginia, with a team of highly experienced and qualified CPAs and business advisors. We are dedicated to providing comprehensive accounting, tax, and business advisory services to clients throughout the Washington, D.C. Metro Area and the surrounding regions. With over a decade of experience, we have cultivated a deep understanding of our clients’ needs and aspirations. We recognize that our clients seek more than just value-added accounting services; they seek a trusted partner who can guide them towards achieving their business goals and personal financial well-being.
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