OnlyFans Income: How It’s Taxed and What You Can Write Off

by
Sarah York, EA
Updated 
September 21, 2022
September 15, 2022
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Just a few years after it started in 2016, OnlyFans became a thriving hub for fast-paced, social-savvy content creators. By 2021, it had already transferred an estimated $3 billion dollars of wealth to workers on its platform. 

If you’re a creator, you know this income doesn’t come easily. You have to handle marketing, editing, order fulfillment, and customer service. On top of all of that, you also have to think about taxes — the sad, yet unavoidable consequence of a successful business.  

Contents

Do you have to pay taxes on your OnlyFans income? 

Yes. OnlyFans income — including tips — is subject to the same taxes as any other job. It’s considered self-employment income: money you earn from working that isn’t a wage. That means you’ll have to pay income and self-employment taxes on it. 

Your income taxes will work the same as anyone working a 9-to-5. Self-employment taxes, on the other hand, come with special considerations.

How do self-employment taxes work for OnlyFans creators?

As an OnlyFans creator, you’re considered a small business owner by the IRS. That means paying self-employment taxes on your income at a flat 15.3% rate.

When do you start paying self-employment tax on your OnlyFans income?

You’ll have to start paying this tax as soon as you make $400 from OnlyFans in a year. (Multiply that by your 15.3% tax rate, and you’ll owe the government $61.20.)

Luckily, self-employment tax is applied to net business income, not your gross income. So you won’t necessarily have to pay self-employment tax as soon as you get $400 from the app.

What does it mean to pay taxes on your net income?

Your net business income is your earnings after you subtract eligible business write-offs.

As a small business owner, many of the costs associated with your OnlyFans account are business write-offs. That means you can subtract them from your income on your taxes. What you end up with is your actual, taxable income.

Not only does this lower self-employment taxes, it lowers your income taxes as well. 

That’s why Keeper was started: Our mission is to help 1099 workers find and maximize all their tax write-offs. Our app connects with your bank and credit card accounts and finds your write-offs for you. 

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What OnlyFans expenses can you write off? 

Now for the fun part — your tax write-offs!

Before we get into it, I need to stress a very important point:

The write-offs I mention below are only deductible if you’re actually trying to make a profit. In other words, treating OnlyFans like a job (even if it’s your side hustle).

If OnlyFans is something you just do occasionally, as a means of self-expression or just for fun, you might have a hobby, not a business. Not sure what your situation is? Read our hobby vs. business article to find out. 

With that out of the way, let’s get into it!

What makes something a business expense? 

Just because something could be good for your business doesn’t automatically make it a write-off.

The IRS has two rules every expense has to meet for you to deduct it:

  • It must be “ordinary” (meaning, a normal or expected cost in your line of work)
  • It must be “necessary” (meaning, helpful and appropriate for the functioning of your business — not necessarily indispensable)

This is meant to keep people from writing off anything loosely connected to their business. The purchases have to have a clear, work-related purpose. 

Your baseline tax write-offs

Let’s start with the easy stuff. These are your no-brainer deductions that you shouldn’t think twice about claiming. They are:

  • 📱 Cell phone
  • 📹 Filming equipment
  • 🎙️ Sound equipment
  • 💻 Computer
  • 🎬 Editing services
  • 💡 Lighting 
  • 🛋️ Props for staging
  • 🛍️ Supplies
  • 🧾 Name registration fees
  • 🍰 Commissions
  • 🤝 Contractor payments
  • 💲 OnlyFans platform fees
  • 📸 Professional photoshoots
  • 🏠 Home office deduction

These expenses are necessary to get started on the platform, so don’t hesitate to claim them on your taxes. 

Write-offs for exclusive content

Most OnlyFans creators earn their bread and butter through their exclusive content, with their A-list clients often supplying 80% or more of their income

In situations where you receive specific requests from paying customers, the cost of fulfilling those orders is tax-deductible. This is known as “cost of goods of good sold” — meaning, expenses to produce the product you’re selling.

These costs could include things like: 

  • 👮‍♀️ Costumes
  • 👙 Lingerie 
  • 🍆 Toys
  • 🧁 Food
  • ⛓️ Props
  • 👩‍🎤 Wigs
  • ✈️ Travel 
  • 🦋 Temporary tattoos
  • 🪣 Supplies

Bottom line: If it’s required to fulfill a specific order, write it off.

These won’t count if they’re just for general marketing, but for order fulfillment, they will.

Why some “personal” items can be write-offs if you’re using them in exclusive content
Historically, taxpayers have only been allowed to write off traditionally “personal items” when they’re directly responsible for generating revenue.

For example, Corey L. Wheir v. Commissioner was a court case in which a bodybuilder in the early 2000s tried to write off a number personal costs. Among them were things like:

  • The three pounds of bison meat he ate daily for protein
  • His workout supplements
  • His pre-show body oil bronzer

The court denied all of his expenses except the body oil. Why? Because it was clearly connected with a revenue-generating event: the competitions. 

For an OnlyFans creator, the equivalent would be a piece of exclusive content filmed for a subscriber request.

Write-offs for niche marketing

Regularly posting photos and videos to your page is a necessary part of growing and maintaining your follower base. Anything you spend on making this content is considered marketing

If you work a particular angle on your platform — bartending, fitness, makeup, chess, ASMR, etc. — maintaining or showcasing those skills give you unique write-off opportunities. Let’s look at some examples: 

Foodie
You have a food channel and regularly post content about your must-try recipes, baking adventures, or go-to snacks.

What you can write off: 

  • 🧂 Ingredients you use when filming content
  • 📖 Recipe books, food magazines, and culinary podcasts

What you can’t write off:

  • Your personal groceries
  • Your personal kitchenware 

Fashionista 

You’re a fashion reviewer, regularly posting pictures or videos modeling your favorite trends. 

What you can write off:

  • 👀 Clothing racks to display your items
  • 📦 Shipping or transportation costs to acquire the clothes
  • 👗 Clothes you intend to resell or are being paid to model

What you can’t write off:

  • Clothes you intend to keep for personal use
  • Hair products and makeup 

Cosplay queen
You are a history buff, and regularly post videos discussing military stratagems. You frequently share photos in cosplay attire, such as Viking warrior or samurai. 

What you can write off

  • 📚 Research costs like books, podcasts, and war movie rentals 
  • 🎭 Costume and costume accessories, including tailoring and wigs
  • 📜 Video editing and scripting costs

What you can’t write off

  • Your personal costumes
  • Street clothes — even if it appears in your posted content

Fitness babe

You post inspirational content featuring your workout routines, and share your favorite yoga poses and stretches. 

What you can write off: 

  • 🧘‍♀️ Yoga mat and blocks
  • 📘 Educational materials, like magazines or podcasts

What can’t you write off:

  •  Workout clothes 
  •  Supplements
  •  Gym or personal trainers

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What expenses can’t you deduct?

Like I mentioned earlier, just because something is good for your business doesn’t automatically mean it’s a write-off.

There are a few expenses that are considered strictly personal, and can’t be written off. They are: 

  • Tanning services
  • Hair removal services
  • Haircuts and styling 
  • Makeup 
  • Personal trainers
  • Clothing
  • Gym memberships
  • Supplements
  • Nail care
  • Teeth whitening or dental work
  • Botox or lip fillers
  • Skincare products
  • Facials
  • Tattoos
  • Breast implants

All of these items are considered “personal expenses,” because you get to enjoy them off the clock too. 

Exceptions to the rule

Every good rule has exceptions. Here are some ways to workaround the limits above: 

Paid promotion

If you’re being paid to test, model, or review a product or service mentioned on the list above, write it off. 

Paid modeling

If you’re being paid to model in an official shoot, pre-shoot prep can be deducted. Things like:

Separate makeup stash

It’s possible to write off makeup if you keep a work-only collection separate from your personal stash.

Work makeup means what you wear while producing exclusive content or doing paid photoshoots. What you wore to your birthday party doesn’t count — even if you uploaded a pic to your OnlyFans later. 

Now that you know about legitimate workarounds, let’s debunk a few myths about tax write-offs that always get shared around.

The cosmetic surgery myth

You’ve probably seen a headlines that say something like, “Adult entertainers can write off boob jobs!” They’ll then reference a famous case, Hess v. Commissioner, in which the tax court let a taxpayer write off her breast implants because she was an exotic dancer.

This is where most soundbite tax advisors stop reading. The actual details of the case need more parsing out.

Why not all implants are write-offs for adult entertainers

Hess’s operation was so extreme — her breast size increased to 56N and weighed over 20 pounds — it led to a series of bacterial infections and other severe medical complications.

However, it also increased her profits and the number of gigs she booked. Hess had the operation reversed as soon as she left show business. The tax court concluded that these circumstances made it a work-only surgery: she got no benefit from it in her personal life.

Bottom line: Implants are not deductible unless you derive little-to-know personal benefit and can prove it directly increases profits. 

The personal brand myth

There’s no denying that a personal brand is a key ingredient in building a successful platform on OnlyFans. If done right, it can be a way to write off ordinarily nondeductible things like clothing.

However, it’s not license to write off literally anything that makes an appearance in your content.

What is a personal brand?
A personal brand is your reputation or public persona based on your experiences, expertise, or achievements. Branding is a way of differentiating yourself and increasing your circle of influence.

For something to be incorporated into your brand, it must be: 

  • Distinctive: It sets you apart from your competition or makes your platform unique
  • Recurring: It’s used regularly and consistently as a hallmark of your brand
  • Strategically aligned: It’s consistent with your overall persona and market objectives
  • Exclusive: It belongs to your business

A personal brand in action
Example: Mike Morgan, beloved Oklahoma City weather anchor, wore bedazzled ties to indicate tornado warnings to viewers:

  • The rhinestones and loud prints made them stand out on air
  • He consistently wore them on bad weather days
  • They signaled important weather news to viewers
  • He took them off at the end of his work day

His ties are part of his personal brand.

How to tell what counts as part of your brand

While your brand is an extension of you, it’s not you. Think of it this way: as far as you and your brand go, eventually one side has to stop and let the other begin. So your brand should be — like Mike Morgan’s ties — removable. 

This is why things like a hairstyles rarely count: your haircut can’t be switched off when you clock out. 

How do OnlyFans creators file taxes? 

At the end of the year, creators will receive a form 1099-NEC from OnlyFans listing your total earnings for the year.

This is your gross business income, and you can refer to it when it’s time to file your self-employment taxes

Step #1: Download your 1099-NEC

OnlyFans provides its 1099s digitally on the banking screen of the app. You’ll be able to download your 1099 form by January 31.

OnlyFans will also send out a paper copy of your 1099 to the address they have on file for you.

What to do if the info on your 1099 is wrong

If something on your form is incorrect, you can contact OnlyFans customer support to get it fixed. 

Note: The info on your 1099-NEC is based on what OnlyFans has on record for you from your W-9. If something changed over the course of the year — for example, if you moved — you’ll want to update your W-9 by December 31.

Step #2: Fill out the tax forms specific to self-employed people

When it comes time to file your Onlys taxes, you’ll need to fill out a few extra forms in addition to your regular 1040. 

Schedule C: Business income or loss

Schedule C is where you report your OnlyFans income and expenses. Any income leftover after subtracting your work expenses is what will be taxed.

You can DIY Schedule C yourself, or download the Keeper app, and we can handle it for you. Our app not only prepares your tax forms, but scans your bank and credit card statements to find all your eligible write-offs as well. 

Form 8829: Business use of home

If you film or edit your content from home, you might be eligible to write off a portion of your home expenses, including:

You can only claim the home office deduction  if you have a designated workstation in your house or apartment, however. Working from your bed or living room couch won’t count. 

That said, your workstation doesn’t have to be an entire room. If you have a specific corner of your bedroom where you keep your backdrop and filming equipment, or a small desk area that you only use for editing, that counts.

Form 4562: Business use of car

If you shoot on location or use your car to shop for supplies, you might be eligible to write off a portion of your car expenses. This includes things like:

  • ⛽ Gas
  • 🛡️Car insurance
  • ⚒️ Repairs 

There are a few rules you’ll have to be mindful of, so check out our article on car write-offs to see if you qualify. 

Schedule SE: Self-employment taxes

Last but not least, whatever income is leftover after your tax write-offs has to be listed on your Schedule SE. This form calculates your self-employment taxes.  

You can make this process easier by following our step-by-step guide, or filing through Keeper. 

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Step #3: Figure out if you should pay quarterly

If you expect to owe more than $1,000 in taxes on your OnlyFans income, try to make estimated payments four times a year — also known as paying your quarterly taxes. This helps you avoid penalties and interest

Not sure if you should make these estimated payments? Use our quarterly tax calculator to find out.

Why self-employed people have to pay taxes quarterly

The United States operates on a pay-as-you-go system, which means taxes are due when your money is earned, not when your tax return is due.

Small business owners — unlike W-2 employees — are responsible for their own tax payments. With no one withholding taxes and remitting them for you, you’re forced to pay quarterly. 

To accurately forecast your estimated payments, you need a good idea of what your work expenses are. Remember, taxes are only due on your net income. 

This is where Keeper can help. Rather than painstakingly maintaining spreadsheets and cataloguing receipts yourself, our app can track your purchases in real time and create records that will satisfy the IRS. From there, you can seamlessly file your taxes through the app. Don’t let taxes throw off your hustle, and download the Keeper app today. We’re the only fan you really need.

Sarah York, EA

Sarah York, EA

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Sarah is a staff writer at Keeper Tax and has her Enrolled Agent license with the IRS. Her work has been featured in Business Insider, Money Under 30, Best Life, GOBankingRates, and Shopify. She has nearly a decade of public accounting experience, and has worked with clients in a wide range of industries, including oil and gas, manufacturing, real estate, wholesale and retail, finance, and ecommerce. Sarah has extensive experience offering strategic tax planning at the state and federal level. During her time in industry, she handled tax returns for C Corps, S corps, partnerships, nonprofits, and sole proprietorships. Sarah is a member of the National Association of Enrolled Agents (NAEA) and maintains her continuing education requirements by completing over 30 hours of tax training every year. In her spare time, she is a devoted cat mom and enjoys hiking, baking, and overwatering her houseplants.

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