Do You Have to Pay Taxes on StubHub Ticket Sales?

Chloe Bryan
April 26, 2023
April 25, 2023
Icon check
Reviewed by
Isaiah McCoy, CPA
Do You Have to Pay Taxes on StubHub Ticket Sales?
Chloe Bryan
April 26, 2023
April 25, 2023
Icon check
Reviewed by
Isaiah McCoy, CPA

As Taylor Swift, Beyoncé, and Bruce Springsteen fans probably know, it’s a real chore to score a concert ticket these days. After enduring sky-high prices, unpredictable Ticketmaster queues, and service fees for what felt like the worst service of your life, you’re probably going to hold onto a coveted ticket if you manage to buy one. 

Still, you might occasionally find yourself needing to resell those tickets on StubHub.

Thought face value tickets were expensive? Resale prices are even wilder, which means you can often make substantial profits. Substantial enough, in fact, that you might be on the hook for taxes.

Here’s what you need to know about paying taxes on resold event tickets.


Do you have to pay taxes if you resell tickets on StubHub?

Maybe. In general, independent contractors (including resellers) should assume they owe taxes if they make $400 or more in profit in a given year. 

So if you bought Springsteen tickets for $400, then sold them for $900, you’d owe at least some tax on your sale — after all, you made $500 in profit.

What if you didn’t make any money on your ticket sale?

You won’t owe taxes if you ended up with a loss (or just broke even).

Let’s say you buy a ticket to see Charli XCX and pay $55. As the concert approaches, though, you aren’t feeling so good. After a trip to the doctor, you discover that you have the flu. (Sorry to hear that, fictional person!) 

Unfortunately, you can’t dance to “Vroom Vroom” with a contagious illness, and you have to sell your ticket. But because you’re selling at the last minute, you can only get $35, resulting in a total loss of $20.

Because you didn’t make any profit selling your ticket, you won’t owe taxes on the sale. Unfortunately, you won’t get any tax benefits from your loss, either.


When do you pay taxes on your StubHub sales?

You’ll pay taxes on your earnings the year StubHub actually sends you the funds — which might be the year after you sold your ticket. 

According to CPA Tim Owens, in tax terms, the transaction occurs when you receive the funds. “If StubHub were to issue a 1099 for anything, it wouldn't be until the money actually changed hands,” he explains.

Why would StubHub pay you the year after you sold your ticket?

StubHub only delivers earnings to sellers after the show has taken place. If you sold a Taylor Swift Eras Tour ticket in late 2022, for example, you won’t receive the funds until after the concert date in 2023.

This practice was implemented in early 2020. According to StubHub, it was intended to reduce risk for buyers whose events were likely to be canceled due to COVID-19. 

What taxes do you pay on your StubHub income?

When you’re planning for your StubHub taxes, you’ll need to consider two taxes: income tax (federal and state) and self-employment tax. But what you’ll actually owe depends on the kind of seller you are.

Hobby sellers vs. business sellers: Which taxes do you owe?

If you’re reading this, there’s a decent chance you just sold a one-off ticket to a show you couldn’t attend anymore. Do you really still have to pay taxes?

Unfortunately, yes. Even if you’re not a ticket seller by trade, you still owe income tax on the income you generated from your sale. You’re what’s known as a “hobby seller.” As an added disadvantage, you’re unable to claim business write-offs — but, thankfully, you don’t have to pay self-employment tax.

If you’re a business seller — meaning, you buy and resell tickets frequently for the express purpose of making a profit — you’ll have to pay both income tax and self-employment tax. However, you can claim write-offs.

Income tax

No matter what kind of work you do or how you’re paid for it, you have to pay income tax. If you’re a W-2 employee, your employer will generally take this out of your paycheck automatically. If you make self-employed income, though — including through ticket sales — you have to calculate and pay it yourself.

To get an idea of how much income tax you’ll owe (or how much your refund will be), check out Keeper’s income tax calculator. It’s especially useful if you have both W-2 and 1099 income — it’ll estimate your W-2 withholding automatically.


Self-employment tax

Next is self-employment tax, which is also known as FICA (Federal Insurance Contributions Act). It helps pay for Social Security and Medicare.

The 15.3% FICA tax is generally split into two halves: 7.65% paid by the employer and 7.65% paid by the employee. However, a self-employed person is — you guessed it — both of those things. So they’re on the hook for the full 15.3%.

Why you’ll pay less tax if you wait to sell your ticket

In the vast majority of cases, the time between your initial ticket purchase and your resale date will be less than a year. In these cases, your profits are considered a “short-term capital gain,” and they’ll be taxed at a normal income tax rate. But if you’re a hobby seller and wait a year or more to sell your ticket, you’ll actually pay less tax on it.

Let’s say you buy a presale ticket in 2021, but don’t sell that ticket on StubHub until 2023. Because you held onto the ticket for over a year, the profit you make on its sale is then considered a “long-term capital gain,” and is thus taxed at preferential rates.

This is the same tax treatment people get for assets like stocks and crypto, but it applies to your tickets too.

Do StubHub sellers need to pay quarterly taxes?

It depends! Generally speaking, self-employed workers who expect to owe at least $1,000 in taxes at the end of the year should plan to file quarterly taxes. 

If you only sold one (or one set of) tickets in a given year, it’s unlikely that you’ll owe that much — but we recommend checking just in case! You can use Keeper’s estimated quarterly tax calculator to get an idea of how much you’ll owe.

If you do end up having to pay quarterly taxes, you’ll need to file on the following four dates:

  • April 15
  • June 15
  • September 15
  • January 15

Be sure to mark your calendar!

How to lower your StubHub taxes with write-offs

Despite what you may have seen on Schitt’s Creek, tax-deductible expenses don’t lower your tax bill dollar for dollar. Tax write-offs lower the amount of income you’re taxed on.

Normally, we at Keeper are itching to tell you about the tax write-offs you can take. That’s what we’re all about! Unfortunately, though, you do have to be a business reseller to take advantage of write-offs — if you’re a hobby seller, you don’t get to take any.

That said, business resellers should keep a few deductions in mind.

  • 🌐 Internet bill: Spent hours in a Ticketmaster queue? You can deduct part of your internet bill
  • 💻 ComputerIf you use your computer for business purposes, you can write off the business-use percentage there, too
  • ✨ Apps and software: Any apps or programs you use for your business, like banking apps, productivity tools, or marketing tools, are deductible

With Keeper, you can track business expenses and file your taxes right on the app, even if you’re a complete beginner. If you run into problems, Keeper’s team of tax assistants is as ready as a Swiftie on presale day.


Why does StubHub ask you for your SSN/TIN?

You may have gotten an email from StubHub asking for your TIN (tax identification number), perhaps with the subject line “ACTION REQUIRED: Payouts pending until receipt of TIN.” 

An email from StubHub requesting that the user provide TIN information

Despite the intimidating tone, this is no big deal — StubHub is just asking for a way to identify you in case they need to send you a 1099 form. US citizens should use their Social Security number. If you’re not a US citizen, you’ll use your ITIN (individual taxpayer identification number). 

Here’s what the IRS says:

“A foreign person, who doesn't have and can't get an SSN, must use an individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN). A foreign person may be a resident alien for income tax purposes based on his or her days of presence in the United States.”

If you haven’t received an email like this but anticipate getting one, it might be worth checking your spam folder. Anna, a 30-year-old television writer in Los Angeles who frequently sells Dodgers baseball tickets on the platform, told us that her emails from StubHub frequently end up in spam.

How to file your StubHub taxes

When it’s time to file, you’ll need to keep two forms in mind: 1099 and Schedule C.

Step #1: Get your StubHub 1099 form

If you’ve sold over $600 in tickets in a given year, StubHub will send you a 1099-K form through the mail. (Make sure your address is up-to-date on the platform!) This form is basically a record of all the money you received via StubHub during the year. You and the IRS will both receive a copy.

When will you receive my 1099 form?

Companies are required to send their 1099 forms by January 31. If you haven’t gotten one by then, don’t panic — they’re generally sent via snail mail, so you might get yours in early February instead.

What if you don’t get a 1099 form?

If you collect less than $600 in transactions from StubHub (or if there’s a mistake on StubHub’s end), you might not get a 1099 at all. 

That doesn’t mean that you don’t owe taxes, unfortunately (remember, if you made $400 or more in profit, you’re on the hook), but it’s also not cause for much concern.

Your 1099 form provides a neat summary of information, but you don’t actually need it to file. You can find the same info in other places, like:

  • Your bank statements
  • Your StubHub “Payments” tab

If you transfer your tickets through Ticketmaster, will they send you a 1099?

No, only StubHub will give you a 1099.

It’s not uncommon to sell a ticket through StubHub, then manually transfer the ticket to your buyer through Ticketmaster. However, you’ll only get a 1099 from companies from which you received monetary payments. So, even though you transferred tickets through Ticketmaster, no actual funds were transferred — thus, no 1099.

Do you have to pay taxes on StubHub fees?

No, you do not have to pay taxes on StubHub seller’s fees.

If you receive a 1099 form, it will show your “gross sales” (that’s what you enter on your  Schedule C!) — which is the amount you were paid out by StubHub. At this point, they’ll have taken the fee out already, so no need to subtract it again. For example, if you sold a Beyoncé ticket for $1,000 and StubHub takes 10% of that, your gross payment should be $900.

Remember, though, that you should only pay taxes on the income you actually got to enjoy from your sale. This means you can also subtract the price of your original ticket to calculate your final net income. 

Say you originally paid $200 for that Beyoncé ticket on Ticketmaster. You can subtract that $200 to get your final net income: $700. That’s what you’ll be taxed on — and what you should report.

Next, you’ll fill out another form, but what that form is depends on whether you’re a business seller or hobby seller. So, in the spirit of Taylor Swift, we’ve created two separate versions of Step #2.

Step #2 (Business Seller’s Version): Fill out your Schedule C

When you’re ready to report your income and expenses to the IRS, you’ll use Form Schedule C if you’re a business seller: 

  • Part I is for reporting your “gross receipts and sales.” That’s your income before you claim any deductions
  • Part II is for recording your deductions. These are the business expenses that will lower your taxable income — and save you money

Step #2 (Hobby Seller’s Version): Report your StubHub income on Schedule D and fill out Form 8949

If you’re a hobby seller who made a profit, you won’t use Schedule C. Instead, you’ll fill out Form 8949 (Sales and Other Dispositions of Capital Assets). 

In column (d), you’ll enter the sale price of your ticket, and in column (e), you’ll enter the amount you paid for it initially. The difference between the two goes in column (h): That’s your gain.

You’ll also report that gain on Schedule D (Capital Gains and Losses) using one of three lines: (1b), (2), or (3). The line you pick depends on whether you checked box A, B, or C on Form 8949. You’ll check A if the IRS is already aware of how much you paid for your ticket (unless you bought and sold on the same platform, it likely isn’t), check B if the IRS isn’t aware how much you paid for your ticket, and check C if you didn’t receive a 1099 form for the income at all.

Sound like a lot? Well, it is, but you’re not working alone! Whether you’re a business seller or a hobby seller, Keeper can help you get your taxes in order before the deadline. You can find write-offs, prepare your forms, and ask questions right on the app.

Bonus Track: Do StubHub sellers need to pay quarterly taxes?

It depends! Generally speaking, self-employed workers who expect to owe at least $1,000 in taxes at the end of the year should plan to file quarterly taxes. 

If you only sold one (or one set of) tickets in a given year, it’s unlikely that you’ll owe that much — but we recommend checking just in case! You can use Keeper’s estimated quarterly tax calculator to get an idea of how much you’ll owe.

If you do end up having to pay quarterly taxes, you’ll need to file on the following four dates:

  • April 15
  • June 15
  • September 15
  • January 15

Be sure to mark your calendar!

Troubleshooting your StubHub taxes

While filing your StubHub taxes, you might have questions for StubHub and for the original ticket platform — which, statistically, will probably be Ticketmaster. So here’s the customer service situation for each platform.

How to reach StubHub

StubHub has a fairly robust help and FAQ section, which includes some general tax information. If you can’t find what you’re looking for there, you can call StubHub’s customer service line between 5:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. Pacific time.

How to reach Ticketmaster

On the Ticketmaster side, you can inquire about a specific event by clicking on its name on the “My Events” page, then clicking “See Details.” From there, you’ll see a “Contact Us” button — press that and you’ll be able to chat with a chatbot. If you need more help, you can escalate the question and connect with a customer service agent via email.

And remember, Keeper’s here to help you find write-offs, figure out your forms, and file. If you have to miss a great show, it’s really the least we can do.

Chloe Bryan

Chloe Bryan


Chloe is a staff writer at Keeper and a writer, editor, and journalist. She previously reported on internet culture and lifestyle trends for Mashable, where she also led the shopping section. In her free time, she enjoys reading and writing poetry, traveling, watching the Mets, and hanging out with her dog Pete.

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At Keeper, we’re on a mission to help people overcome the complexity of taxes. We’ve provided this information for educational purposes, and it does not constitute tax, legal, or accounting advice. If you would like a tax expert to clarify it for you, feel free to sign up for Keeper. You may also email with your questions.