What is tip income?

Tip income is optional payments determined by a customer and given to an employee for providing a service. Tips are subject to Federal, Social security and Medicare taxes. Taxable Tips include cash tips, non-cash tips, tips added to credit cards and shared tips.


Cash tips are received directly from a customer. This also includes tips charged by credit card, debit card, gift card or any other electronic payment method.


If you received more than $20 in tips for the month, you should report it to your employer. That way you employer will properly withhold Federal, Social Security, and Medicare taxes.


Non-cash tips are tickets, passes or other items of value.


Splitting tips are when fellow employees divide tips to share a tip with other employees.


As an employee, you are responsible for keeping a record of tip income. It recommended that you keep a daily record of cash and noncash tips you received, as well as the value. If your tips don’t exceed $20, then you do not have to report the amount to your employer. No particular form must be used unless specified by your employer. You can write a statement and include the following and present it to your employer:


  1. Employee’s names, Address, Social Security Number
  2. Month or period (time frame)
  3. Total of tip income during the month or period

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