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FAQ

Does Uber issue 1099s to its drivers? How does the tax situation work?
You get a 1099-K (For your fares) and if applicable a 1099-MISC (for bonuses and incentives.) Uber does not withhold tax, so it reduces a driver’s refund or increases what they owe when they file their return. If you file through TurboTax and most other tax services, you’ll have to pay extra for the business filing.One important thing any new driver should be aware of: You can deduct mileage and it’s very important for reducing your tax bill. Uber gives you a report of mileage, but only for when you were actually driving customers, not the mileage driven to pick them up (which can sometimes be more than the actual ride!) So it’s very important to download a mileage tracker such as TripLog.You do not need to record fuel, maintenance and most other data these apps can track ‡ you can either deduct mileage or actual expenses, and mileage is almost always a better deal and far less of a pain. (Full, disclosure: there are a few expenses you can deduct along with mileage, such a tolls when you were not actually driving a customer, but these are small enough that I don’t consider them worth the bother.)
For services like Uber and TaskRabbit, are the drivers and rabbits 1099 contractors or W2 Employees?
Short: TaskRabbit and Uber are both 1099 contractors. The economics of their business model wouldn't work if they were W2 Contractors. We are taking huge strides towards an ODE "On demand Economy." Food, transportation, maintenance, and house cleaning are just a few of the services that we all have come accustomed to buying through this model. Uber, TakRabbit, Lyft, Postmates, Homejoy, Handy are just a few examples of the hundreds of services that are built around this employee 1099 employee classification. The IRS and Department of Labor see two primary issues with this. These 1099 contractors are prime candidates for tax evasion (knowingly or unknowingly) and are an expense to monitor, audit, and especially if they claim liability or unemployment.At a very high level the IRS and DOL want to know if the the client controls “What” or “How” the 1099 independent contractor does their work. 20 IRS Questions: Are you a 1099 Independent ContractorPage on erginc.comIt will be very interesting to see this unfold as there are going to be lawsuits! As the companies naturally want to control the parameters of the services they prand create a more unified experience they get closer to breaking the employee misclassification laws. Great read Below:Investors Must Confront The On-Demand Economy’s Legal Problem, Part 1
Does Uber take taxes out of the driver's pay or is the driver responsible to pay taxes?
As everyone knows by now (because everyone seems to be preoccupied with Uber withholding taxes ‡ even people who aren’t Uber drivers), Uber does not withhold taxes, and drivers are totally responsible for their own tax payments. However, the drivers are not “1099 contractors”, and are not working for Uber in any capacity. It is not at all like a company that “hires” independent contractors to do particular jobs from time to time.Yes, Uber drivers are self-employed, but they are not “working” for Uber at all. (In fact, if anything, Uber is “working” for them ‡ for which Uber is being paid its commission. The only reason why the driver doesn’t have to furnish a 1099-MISC to Uber when the commissions are over $600 is that payments to a corporation are not reportable in the same way.) So Uber is not reporting that it is paying compensation to the driver. What Uber is reporting is the gross amount that it collected on behalf of the driver, and then paid it to him/her ‡ before deduction of its commissions. That’s why the report is on a 1099-K ‡ not a 1099-MISC.Reporting on a 1099-K is required only when Uber pays a driver more than $20,000 or collects more than 200 transactions. My understanding (though I can’t prove it) is that Uber “voluntarily” reports even below those thresholds “for the drivers‡ convenience.” But whether it does or not, it is reporting the same thing.The driver may also receive a 1099-MISC. If so, that has nothing to do with fares. That would report other payments that Uber may have made to him/her, if they total over $600. I’m not really familiar with the details of those payments, but i understand that Uber pays drivers incentives and bonuses for various things, like referring new drivers, etc.; those types of payments would be reported on a 1099-MISC as “nonemployee compensation.”
Many companies hire employees as "independent contractors" (or 1099 workers) because it saves them money on taxes. Is this a good deal for the employee?
Many companies hire employees as "independent contractors" (or 1099 workers) because it saves them money on taxes. Is this a good deal for the employee?Here’s a pretty simple principle to help contextualize this. If it’s good for the employer, that’s because it either makes the employer more money, or it costs the employer less money.If we’re talking an employer and staff, if it saves the employer money, from whom do you think that money comes?As Joel Winter notes so well in his answer, the language of the question is problematic. Employees is a word that specifically means “worker who receives benefits”. Contractors are not employees.Further, this isn’t about taxes, as Joel also notes. Benefits for employees cost a large chunk of change. This has nothing whatsoever to do with cost the employers taxes half so much as the benefits, which can run into the tens of thousands of dollars per employee.Buying your own medical, dental, and other forms of insurance is hideously expensive. And for many people, it was a whole lot worse as little as a decade ago. It’s a lot less expensive through employers because a large employer can always negotiate better rates due to the number of employees.It’s also debatable how viable 1099 work is. Due to the Uber employee/contractor lawsuit (Uber, Lyft and other gig jobs may face a shakeup under new California work rules), organizations are moving away from 1099 employment. In addition, there’s a fairly common belief that an organization with numerous 1099 contractors will invite an audit, which at even the most above-board organization is still frustrating and time-consuming.Those who wish to be contractors/consultants should probably consider forming a LLC in order to perform work on a corp to corp (often abbreviated C2C) basis. The gross is substantially higher this way, but the onus is on the contractor to handle taxes, etc. It also typically is only worthwhile once you can consistently bill somewhere above $70/hr, although the exact cutoff mark depends upon your specific situation, state of residency, etc.
How much money do Uber drivers make?
You make as much as you want to make if you’re willing to drive the amount of hours needed to make that. I set a weekly goal, and I drive until I make it. If I make it really early (say, Friday night), I’ll continue to drive to add on to it, but I’ll cut back on the hours. I’ve found, in Atlanta, I can drive 20 to 30 hours a week to make $250 to $350. On a great week, I have made over $800 with the same number of hours. But on a bad week, I’ve made $150. If you’re not getting incentives or surges, you won’t make much. I track all my numbers so here’s a recap:2021 - I drove 13 weeks and gave 587 rides. I made about $4900 for 330 hours of driving (that includes the downtime between rides, not just time on rides which was 160 hours). It came out to around $15/hour ($14.88). My avg/day was $94.58 (that’s per day driven). I averaged about $378/week.2021 - I drove 25 weeks and gave 768 rides. I made about $7600 for 414 hours of driving (time on rides 210 hours). That was around $18/hour ($18.32). My avg/day was $90.09. I averaged about $303/week.2021 YTD - I have driven 15 weeks and given 596 rides. I’ve made about $5600 for 314 hours of driving (149 on rides). It’s about $18/hour ($17.81). My avg/day is $97.10. I’ve averaged about $377/week.Your numbers WILL vary - depends on where you live, how much you drive, what hours you drive, etc. There are so many variables that the only way to really know is to just do it.
How much do Uber and Lyft drivers make in 2019?
Combined, there are likely 400,000 ‡ 600,000 Uber and Lyft drivers in the US, and that number may be closer to 1 million.Nationally, $9 an hour, give or take.As an average driver that's how much money you'll make with Uber or Lyft. It's a photo finish with fast food as the lowest paid work in America, and considerably less than you'd make putting up with people at Walmart. (WMT - Get Report) On the other hand, as rideshare companies exhaustively advertise, you can set your own hours and be your own boss.Is it worth it? Let's look at the numbers.What Is the Income for Rideshare Drivers?Uber in particular has a reputation for‡ let's call it optimistic advertising. So we're going to ditch the theatrics. Rideshare drivers do not rake in the bucks as highway roaming, scarf-wearing, loft-partying Manhattanites. Uber's promise that you can "earn as much as you want" holds about as much water as those Disqus commenters who make $70,000 a year "working from home."The company's claim that its New York City drivers rake in $90,000 got the company slapped with a $20 million fine for fraud.Here's what the drivers actually earn:Pay Per Trip: $11.48 - $15.97As studied by the indispensable NerdWallet, drivers earn dramatically different amounts on different platforms. An Uber driver averages $15.97 per ride, while a Lyft driver makes an average of $11.48 per fare.However, readers should take the difference with a grain of salt. The numbers for Uber are almost certainly inflated by the company's luxury Uber Black and Uber SUV services, both considerably larger than the cross-platform equivalent Lyft Lux.Pay Per Hour: $8.55 - $11.77After paying all expenses, and after the app takes its cut, drivers for a service like Uber and Lyft average between $8.55 and $11.77 per hour. A midrange private sector worker earns $32.06 in that same time. Readers should note that many outlets continue to cite a study from MIT suggesting that drivers earn less than $4 per hour. This study was withdrawn for inaccuracies.Pay Per Month: A median of $155 per month and an average of $364Pay Per Year: An average of $36,525 for full-time driversAstute readers will notice that these numbers are all over the place. Even at $8 per hour, a month of rideshare driving would still come to a lot more than $155. If the average ride pays $11 and the average driver makes $8 per hour, do researchers want us to believe that most riders take trips in excess of 60 minutes?How can so many drivers earn so little per month and yet average $36,000 per year? Here's how:Five Factors That Impact Income On DriversThe trouble with nailing down firm numbers is that earnings vary wildly between individual drivers. This is a field that is just consistently inconsistent.How often a driver chooses to work, where they drive and when all defines their outcomes. A few for-examples to illustrate this point:1. Surge PricingPretty much every rideshare service has adopted surge pricing. (Making an excellent case for consumers to remember that yellow cabs do still run on rainy Saturday nights…) It's a major income variable. Drivers who make a point to work during peak hours will out-earn their colleagues, potentially many times over.2. LocationCity drivers earn much more than their rural and suburban peers. In part this is a simple factor of urban inflation; it costs more to do business in Brooklyn than Cohoes. Uber drivers in New York City average $29.34 per trip, compared to $10.99 in Chicago and $14.36 in Phoenix. In fact, NYC drivers can rejoice. The city recently passed a law setting a minimum wage for rideshare workers.But it's also about customer density and what economists call "underutilization." Basically a technical way of saying time spent with the car empty.In Boston, a driver can drop off a customer and often pick up a new one within a few blocks. She might reduce her interfare time to mere minutes. In the suburbs that same driver could have miles between fares, all spent with the meter off. Her underutilization goes through the roof while her earnings plummet.3. Hours WorkedCalculating monthly or annual earnings for a rideshare worker is all but impossible given the freelance flexibility of this job. Drivers can work hours that vary from person to person, day to day and week to week.Someone who chooses to drive 60 hours per week will, obviously, out-earn drivers who just pick up a few fares after work.4. TippingTo help boost recruitment, both Uber and Lyft added tipping in 2021. While good for drivers, as it boosts potential revenue, it adds yet another variable to the income roulette. (It also expands the odious practice of companies outsourcing their payroll to the kindness of strangers, but that's another article.) Neither company releases firm data on tipping.What we do know for certain, though, is that pay is weak across the rideshare sector. Those wages are declining too, but first…5. ExpensesThe other major factor for rideshare income is expenses.Here's the thing about the "gig economy." It exists for one reason: to outsource costs. For all of Thomas Friedman's cluelessly hagiographic articles, and for all the chipper talk of side hustles, the business model of companies like Uber and Airbnb is that you pay for the taxi and hotel room that they rent.Uber doesn't hire its drivers for the same reason that 20% of companies now call employees "freelancers." They're cheap. Freelancers pay for their own health insurance, retirement, equipment and expenses. Most firms even try to outsource their legal liabilities and fees onto freelancers in what is called a hold harmless clause. This has become common thanks to a combination of technology and a virtual collapse in enforcement by the Department of Labor.Freelancing is core of ridesharing's advantage against taxi services. Where a yellow cab company has to buy, maintain and store a massively expensive fleet, Uber pays for none of that. The drivers do. Calculating a driver's actual (net) income means accounting for costs such as:‡ Gasoline‡ Car maintenance and repair‡ Parking‡ Car payments (if any)‡ Auto insurance‡ Extras such as snacks, drinks or entertainment‡ Tolls (if any; sometimes compensated in-app)The actual expenses of driving, like maintenance and gas, consume about $4.87 per hour of a driver's income. Uber offers a commercial insurance policy which supplements, but does not replace, your obligation to have personal auto insurance.Drivers also have personal expenses that employees don't, such as:‡ Employer FICA contribution, aka the Self-Employment Tax (approximately 10% of income)‡ Health insurance‡ Retirement contributions‡ Personal liability insuranceReady to make it more complicated? Let's go:Not All Drivers' Costs Are the Same. Rate of expenses changes, again, based on how much you drive and where you live. High volume drivers, for example, will spike their maintenance and repair budget, while urban drivers pay more for parking than rural ones. Few people carry personal liability insurance, even though (like most freelancers in any industry) technically their contract obligates them to repay the company every dime in case of a lawsuit. Finally, many drivers need to upgrade their car to meet the minimum standards of Uber or Lyft. Others have to perform more cosmetic maintenance than they would have done otherwise, and all drivers will see their insurance premiums increase.Your Expenses Vary Based On Employment. Someone who wants to make a living wholly self-employed will pay more than someone picking up rides on the side. If you have a job with traditional benefits, costs such as health care and retirement may not be a factor for you. On the other hand, every driver who earns income has to file a 1099 and pay the self-employment tax (approximately 10%). These expenses add up. So much so that about 4% of all rideshare drivers actually spend more on this job than they make.How Much Do Uber and Lyft Make From Drivers?At time of writing Uber takes 30% of each fare for its operational costs. Lyft's platform fee varies, but is typically around 20% plus sales tax.The numbers we presented above include these platform fees. What they do not reflect is the possibility, in fact the overwhelming likelihood, that those fees will increase.Uber, Lyft and other ridesharing companies hemorrhage money. According to an article published in New York Magazine:No ultimately successful major technology company has been as deeply unprofitable for anywhere remotely as long as Uber has been. After nine years, Uber isn't within hailing distance of making money and continues to bleed more red ink than any start-up in history‡ Across all its businesses, Uber was providing services at only roughly 74 percent of their cost in its last quarter. Uber was selling its services at only roughly 64 percent of their cost in 2021. with a GAAP profit margin of negative 57 percent.Uber has lost money every year since its founding because it undercharges customers. When accounting for the full costs of its infrastructure, salaries and other overhead, the company spends more per ride than it makes. This has allowed it to kick the stuffing out of legacy taxi companies which, lacking generous venture capitalists, have to operate at a profit.It also means, however, that sooner or later the money will have to come from somewhere. There is a very good chance that it will come from the drivers in terms of higher app fees. For Uber drivers the number right now is 30%. They would be wise to expect that to change.They should also realize that this is true for every competitive rideshare app on the market.
Does Uber prtraining for new drivers?
Uber, Lyft, etc. just offer training how to use the driver application, not the kind of training new drivers need to be successful (understand expenses and prevent “burn out”) which is unfortunate but unavoidable.If Uber, Lyft, and the other transportation network companies (TNC) could prtraining they probably would spend significant resources delivering the best possible training materials because it would help with the retention of new drivers since most currently quit soon after starting.The TNCs cannot prtraining because drivers are classified as 1099 contractors and not employees.This is not a technicality or a random choice‡ in order to be classified as a contracted worker the resource is expected to show up knowing how to perform the contracted work. If the contracted worker receives any kind of training how to perform the work they could be considered an employee.In my professional career I’ve seen this rule broken by many small businesses using 1099 contractors‡ but the scale of the rideshare industry is too large to risk any action that could fundamentally change the financial viability of the business.Any business perceived to have “deep pockets” is going to experience lawsuits, providing much needed training and risking losing the drivers as independent contractors model is never going to happen.Obviously drivers as employees would cost the TNCs more, a lot more.Not as obvious is how the business operations are simplified by the “drivers as contractors” business model.Forget about the higher cost of doing business with employee drivers for a moment and think about what would be required to manage and supervise hundreds of thousands of employee drivers‡ work schedules; insuring minimum levels of customer service; driver discipline; hiring and firing; how to reward seniority for example giving senior drivers more or better trips; and on and on it goes.All of this management would have to be conducted in a work environment where a manager would never be present when a customer is being served and in an environment where customers can have their own reasons to not accurately report how their drivers performed.From a customer service perspective alone almost any “issue” reported by a passenger/customer can be explained with a response based on drivers being contractors‡ and independent‡ not traditional employees‡ this means the only level of TNC control is the inherently flawed Star Rating systems.But this Quora question is about training‡ and again the answer is:“No, Uber (Lyft, and the other TNCs) do not prtraining for new drivers because independent contractors are expected to show up with the skills they need to complete the contracted work.”If the TNCs did prtraining the training team would include:Someone with tons of experience as a driver - thousands of tripsSomeone with technical writing experience as well as experience creating training materials and as a trainerSomeone with a background in direct customer service deliveryCollege-educated resources in applicable fields like psychology and computer scienceIt can be overwhelming for a new driver smart enough to seek out training to find “experts” on the internet selling books, video trainings, and the like‡ of course the marketing messages on their websites make the training sound great‡ but does simply being a driver qualify someone to write a training book or create a video training?One of the most popular sites offering rideshare driver training and an “everything you need to know” book is run by “a driver” who never says how many lifetime trips he has completed‡ really? Every other rideshare driving “expert” on the internet constantly mentions their number of lifetime trips but one of the top Google search results sites is run by someone who never gives specifics about his background and qualifications?Really not surprising, after all the internet world is all about carefully-worded sales pitches that sound really good but when examined deeply often come up short on credibility.You probably guessed, I’m a rideshare trainer and I have a web site, blog, training, etc. If you are interested in learning more check out my Quora Profile to see what we are up to a RideshareGuide.~ YRideshare Industry Analyst for RideshareGuide