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Two of the hottest concert tours of the summer, Beyonce’s Renaissance World Tour and Taylor Swift’s The Eras Tour, sparked a national conversation on the way online marketplaces and ticket resellers exploit diehard fans looking to have some fun. Now, the Internal Revenue Service is tightening its grip around ticket scalpers who resold tickets to major concerts and sporting events and raked in more than $600 this year.
As the Wall Street Journal reports, the new law from the IRS is requiring ticket sellers like Ticketmaster and Stubhub to fork over information if they made more than $600 reselling tickets this year. Ticketing websites previously had to send 1099-K forms to a user who made more than $20,000 through 200 or more transactions in a year. The updated law, which is a part of the American Rescue Plan Act, lowers that amount to $600 regardless of the number of sales, and sellers will only need to pay taxes on profit. This is the latest in the Biden administration’s attempts to reign in the Wild West of ticket sales—the White House previously hosted ticketing execs this summer for a dialogue on increasing transparency around hidden fees that customers are slapped with during checkout.
“Payment apps and online marketplaces are required to file a Form 1099-K if the gross payments to you for goods and services are over $600,” the IRS said in a fact sheet. “The $600 reporting threshold started with tax year 2023. There are no changes to what counts as income or how tax is calculated.”
The Journal reports that the average price for tickets to Swift’s The Eras Tour was a massive $1,095, citing figures from StubHub, which specializes in resale tickets. Similarly, the average prices for Beyonce’s and Harry Styles’ respective tours hit $380 and $400. Concerts are not the only offenders, however, as tickets to Inter Miami CF soccer matches ballooned to $250 from $30 after Lionel Messi joined Major League Soccer. StubHub also apparently told WSJ that there was an unusually high number of resellers this year, likely a result of the live event industry still rebounding after covid-19 lockdowns in 2020 and 2021.
The Eras Tour was one event that helped bring some major issues with ticket selling to light. During the tour’s presale last fall, thousands of users reported outages on Ticketmaster’s website while trying to purchase tickets. When Swifties were finally able to log in, they found that tickets were either being resold for wildly expensive figures or gone altogether. Swift responded with discontent on Instagram, stating “I’m not going to make excuses for anyone because we asked them, multiple times, if they could handle this kind of demand and we were assured they could.” Ticketmaster eventually blamed bots during a federal hearing for the disastrous presale, while the company later shut down ticket sales in France for The Eras Tour under circumstances similar to those that occurred during the U.S. presale.