So I am in a bit of a pickle. I am 17 years of age and have just started freelancing and am loving it! I currently use Upwork.com to find clients to do work with. However, I created an account for Upwork in 2015 when I was even younger, which means I must have (regrettably, I know guys...) put a fake birth date when I was 14 years old and a dumb freshman to get into the site. I recently have discovered that I must be 18 years old to use Upwork.com because contracts are only legally binding when you are 18 years old and above.

So, with all of this being said, I will have made around $400-$500 after my current job is done. Since this money is technically "ill-gotten" since I used Upwork as a minor, how do I file this money for taxes? Am I even able to file taxes since the money I earned was earned on a website where I violated TOS? The LAST thing I need is to have the IRS come back on me for tax evasion when I'm 30 years old.

I understand what I have done here is wrong, but it was all unintentional. I didn't create an account for Upwork with the intention of violating the TOS.

If you guys could help me out, it would be highly appreciated.

  • Just have your parents claim you as a dependent (like they're going to do) and have them include it in "other income" for you. You don't necessarily have to have a W2 from an employer to file taxes. The IRS doesn't really care that much that you broke some sites TOS. They just care that you declare it if required. – BirdLawExpert Jan 21 '18 at 18:27

How are you expecting anyone here to help? You violated the TOS.. you can't legally enter into a contract as a minor... you generally do not file taxes on illegal earnings. This is why there are illegal things such as money laundering - to hide earnings you shouldn't legally be making.

The only possible solace you may find is that there's a limit to the amount of income you must make before filing taxes is mandatory. It can vary, but generally it's $600US.

Now, if your mess up and your clients find you violated the TOS and are under age, they could sue you in a civil court for any damages you cause since you are committing fraud. I'm sure Upwork could takes action if so inclined as well.

The smart and legal thing to do would be to stop work. Cancel any current ongoing projects. Don't collect any money. And wait until you are 18 before attempting to take on a new project.

I absolutely realize this is not the answer you want to hear. I imagine you are salivating over that possible $500. But the reality is.. there's no getting around your circumstances. You can either end it abruptly, showing some remorse, or continue with the unethical behavior. Continuing merely increases your odds of creating more problems.

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  • They can't sue him. he was a minor at the time. They could try to make his parents financially responsible though. At the same time a court could just say the contract was invalid therefor nothing can be done. – BirdLawExpert Jan 21 '18 at 18:26
  • You can sue a minor.. you just may not be able to collect anything until they are an adult. Sometimes the parents will take care of it, but they aren't obligated to do so. And if fraud caused damage.... then that's damage, contract terms are irrelevant. True, he/she can't be bound by the contract, but negligence is another matter. – Scott Jan 21 '18 at 18:55
  • your'e going to need to show me one single instance of a minor being sued that the parents weren't the ones held liable. – BirdLawExpert Jan 22 '18 at 0:14
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    You might want to consider changing your username... boards.answers.findlaw.com/topic/… -- nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/free-books/small-claims-book/… – Scott Jan 22 '18 at 1:54
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    Guys... This was all completely unintentional. It's not like I am unreliable, I actually do do great work for clients. I find it little dumb for me to be penalized by wanting to make money in a different way from the rest of my peers. I understand why it's a problem though. I'm just a little upset that it was all on accident lol – MrStank Jan 22 '18 at 19:19

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