I have been using a search engine that gives you points that you can redeem for gift cards. As far as I can tell there is no way to get cash, without reselling the cards, but I can figure a monetary value. This question is similar about credit card rewards, but that is based on money you spend, not searches that you do (work performed). My initial guess is that this is such a small amount that there is probably not a need to worry, but even if that is the case, there is an amount that I need to watch for.

With all the above in mind...

  1. Are search engine rewards taxable?
  2. If so, is there a minimum amount that I do not need to worry about?
  • Pretty sure OP is referring to the Bing Rewards program
    – karancan
    Jul 10 '14 at 21:30
  • @karancan That is one of the options, there are many, many, many more. Jul 10 '14 at 21:34

Short answer: Yes

You have to report these benefits as income, whether you opt for gift cards or anything else (I'm not familiar with what possible options exist for cashing out points). If you redeem an aggregate of $600 or more throughout the calendar year, they will send you a 1099 to include with your taxes (and send a copy to the IRS).

It's important to note that even if you don't get $600 or more in rewards, you are required to report it as additional income.

  • I was going to clarify who sends the 1099 out Government or the Search Engine company but I found the information and a confirmation on your answer, found here. It looks like the specfic form I will be using will be 1099-MISC. The search engine company is who sends the 1099, I was just a bit unclear on "they". Jul 10 '14 at 20:07
  • 1
    Correct, the search engine company will send a 1099-MISC to both you and to the IRS, but anything below the $600 threshold should still be reported and taxed as income.
    – Noah
    Jul 10 '14 at 20:15

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