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IRS and State Taxes in Work Camping


I am a New Mexico resident, in my fifties and would like to apply for one of your job listings that pays RV site and hook ups via their RV park, no wages. Would I owe federal or state tax?

Comments for IRS and State Taxes in Work Camping

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Income Taxes

Are you doing a workamper exchange? Trading your labor for an RV site and utilities? If so, the IRS likely sees it as bartering. The value would probably be considered taxable income.

Does the employer require you to live on his business property, for his convenience? If so, then the value probably is not considered taxable income.

I'm not an accountant and I'm not a tax professional, so the above is only my understanding of things. It is not tax advice. For tax advice, you need to see a CPA or qualified tax professional.

You said it right


Couldn't have explained it better myself. Get a professional's opinion. Half will say one thing and the other half will say something else.

In 3 years of workamping, we have never received a w2 or 1099 for the value of the site.

However one funny thing that benefited us happened once. We were working for a park that was in a partnership dispute and being run by a management company who was apparently unfamiliar with the RV business. We worked O. T. a couple of weeks. Their payroll department paid us time and a half for our wages as well as time and a half for the value of the site.

Regrettably, that amount was included in our w2 form and we gladly paid the taxes due.

IRS Publication 525

The IRS does not consider workamping for your site as a taxable income if three conditions exist:

#1 The lodging is provided on your employers property,
#2 The lodging (site) is furnished for the convenience of the employer, and
#3 you are required to accept the lodging as a condition of employment.

Cal Am resorts are starting to try to give their workampers a W-2 showing they paid them minimum wage when all they did was furnish a site as usual. This allows them to deduct the amount from their taxes and causes the workamper to have to pay state and federal taxes as if they were actual employees. If you accept this type of arrangement then you are liable for all taxes. Cal Am uses the argument that this is a barter situation.

After speaking with the IRS and the Oregon Land Management they both told me that IRS publication 525 (Meals and Lodging) was the rules pertaining to workamping.

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