YouTube has told its content creators and partners that they need to prepare for paying US taxes on their earnings – even if they live and work elsewhere. The already beleaguered video creators are taking it poorly.
The video platform, owned by Google, actually updated its terms of service to tax US creators shortly after the 2020 election, but the change went largely unnoticed in the uproar about censorship. On Tuesday, however, YouTube announced that the taxes will soon be taken out of earnings by creators outside the US.
Taxes will be deducted from earnings derived from US viewers through “ad views, YouTube Premium, Super Chat, Super Stickers, and Channel Memberships,” the platform said.
Creators outside of the U.S. may begin to have taxes deducted from their U.S. earnings. These are earnings from viewers in the U.S. through ad views, YouTube Premium, Super Chat, Super Stickers, and Channel Memberships pic.twitter.com/6ecEoCzHJ6
— YouTube Creators (@YouTubeCreators) March 9, 2021
Google’s support page explains that it will regard the revenue from YouTube Partner Program (YPP) monetization settings as royalties under the US tax code, just as it has been doing to US-based creators since November. Reactions to the announcement have been overwhelmingly negative.
“Whaaat!? I’m Canadian… Working in Canada.. Already have to pay Canadian taxes on every single dollar I make from YouTube.. Why?” asked Jordan J Sparks, better known as Dance Coach Reacts.
I’m so confused, @YouTube and @AdSense are updating their terms so that all Non-U.S. Creators now have to pay American Taxes on all of their earnings. Whaaat!? I’m Canadian… Working in Canada.. Already have to pay Canadian taxes on every single dollar I make from YouTube.. Why?
— Jordan Sparks (@JordanJSparks) March 9, 2021
“Imagine making me pay for drone strikes when I’m not even a US citizen,” is how Scottish comedian Mark ‘Count Dankula’ Meechan framed his criticism.
Imagine making me pay for drone strikes when I’m not even a US citizen.
— Monster Energy Drone Pilot🏴🏳️🌈 (@CountDankulaTV) March 9, 2021
“You take 45% of our earnings already, and you now expect us to pay tax???” tweeted one UK creator, wondering “why on earth should non american creators pay tax to the american government, when you’re already taking a massive chunk of our adsense?”
are you going to continue to ignore your creators @teamyoutube? is all we get some god awful corporate video and nothing else, no answered questions?
— inabber 🦦🌱 (@iNabber69) March 9, 2021
“Tax it from your own cut” was another popular take, with another creator calling it a “huge middle finger to creators who now have to pay DOUBLE TAX.”
tax it from your own cut you greedy bastards
— luke (@GameboyLuke) March 9, 2021
Tax it from the cut you already take. You are really giving a huge middle finger to creators who now have to pay DOUBLE TAX. why would we have to pay taxes to the US when we don’t live there.
— aeon🖤 (@Fake_Aeon_Air) March 9, 2021
Another major gripe of creators was that their own governments were already taxing their earnings, so YouTube’s announcement amounted to double-dipping.
Disgraceful. We get taxed by our own government and now we get taxed from yours? Absolutely terrible.
— Ser Winter (@SerWinterGaming) March 9, 2021
So as a non-American, who has never been to America that lives in Europe under European laws, I’m not going to be taxed on videos I make for fun by America? pic.twitter.com/K4asKVv2KG
— Mother Moocake™ (@mentalmoocake) March 9, 2021
While some of the commenters on Twitter suggested checking which countries have a tax treaty with the US to prevent dual taxation, there were a few who reasoned that the world needs “a non-american website to do the same thing youtube does.”
Google, YouTube’s parent company, has a long history of structuring its overseas operations to avoid paying taxes – in particular in the EU – itself, and opposing taxes countries such as Russia and India have tried to level on the Silicon Valley giant, the third-biggest tech company in the world.
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