Expenses, Taxes & Refunds FAQ


What does the approval process look like for expenses?

Once expenses are submitted, they need to be approved by a collective admin. Approved expenses are paid out by OSC twice a week, on Mondays and Thursdays, US time. If there are any issues with the payment or you can expect delays, an OSC admin will comment below the expense and you will receive an email about it (note comments are private to admins and payees). Generally approved expenses take less than a week to be paid out and to hit your account, but could be more if there are issues or the payment processor takes longer. Please see Submitting Expenses for more information on how to submit an expense.

Please Note:

  • We can only issue a reimbursement for the amount listed on the receipt.

  • We can only issue a reimbursement for the amount paid with a card or cash. For example, if you use coupons or vouchers in addition to paying with a credit card, we can not reimburse you for the amount paid with a voucher or coupon.

  • The name of the person or business being paid must match the name in the method of payment.

Do I have to use my real name?

We now have the option to differentiate between your public display name, and your private legal name.

We do need your real name as your legal name for our accounting records. This private legal name will only be visible to admins.

Is private information on expenses publicly viewable?

The expense amount and title will be listed on the Collective's public page, but any private information, attached files, comments, and payment details are only visible to admins of the collective and admins of OSC who will be reviewing the expense.

How can we pay for large expenses that we cannot pay out-of-pocket and then get reimbursed later?

Depending on the size of the expense, you may be able to use a virtual card.

For large expenses that you cannot pay out-of-pocket, you can have your vendors and service providers submit invoices directly via your collective's page, or you can use the "invite expense" option, where you fill in the details and they receive an email and then just need to confirm. Vendors can invoice OSC through your page to get paid, and then we pay them directly.

Can I issue payment using cryptocurrency, Venmo, or CashApp?

Not at this time. We only pay out expenses via bank transfer or PayPal.

Can I refund a donation or get a refund for one I have made?

If you need to refund your transaction for whatever reason, we can issue a refund of your transaction within 120 days of purchase.

To initiate a return, please send an email to 'hello@oscollective.org' with the following information:

  1. The URL of the donation (e.g. https://opencollective.com/opensource/expenses/123456)

  2. The date and amount of the transaction


  • If a contribution was made with your authorisation (i.e. you were not the subject of fraud) and a refund would materially affect the Collective's activities and/or the contribution has already been used to further the cause of the project we reserve the right to deny your refund request.

  • We can only issue refunds to the original source of payment used for the transaction. If the account you used for the original transaction is closed or the card you used is now expired, we can not issue a refund to another form of payment.

  • Refunds to credit cards take 1 to 3 days to process, but may take 1-2 billing cycles to appear on your credit card statement, depending on your credit card company.

  • Refunds via Stripe Bank Transfer take 7 to 10 days to process.

  • We can not issue refunds on donations made with cryptocurrency.


What about tax forms?

Open Source Collective must collect tax forms for any individual who invoices (this does not apply to reimbursements) over $600 in a single calendar year. Those individuals will be automatically issued a 1099.

When you submit an expense that puts you over the $600 threshold, you will be sent an email with a link to complete your tax form online. This email will come from Dropbox Forms and say "Open Collective sent you a request via Dropbox Forms".

Expenses will not be paid out to you until you submit the tax form.

If you don’t meet the $600 threshold, simply report your earnings as miscellaneous self-employment income when you file your taxes as described above.

Please note: If you are paid via Paypal, OSC will not issue you a 1099 because Paypal is responsible for that. PayPal issues 1099-K forms for those with total transactions of >$600. PayPal treats automated transactions as “Goods & Services” payments (like those made through Open Collective), even if it was actually a reimbursement. But don't worry - to the IRS, the actual nature of the payment is what matters.

The Form 1099-K is an IRS informational tax form that is used to report goods and services payments received by a business or individual in the calendar year. While banks and payment service providers like PayPal and Venmo are required by the IRS to send customers a Form-1099K if they meet the $600 threshold amount, there are certain amounts that may be included on the form that are generally excluded from gross income and therefore are not subject to income tax. This includes amounts sent as reimbursement.

If your PayPal payments through Open Collective were in relation to invoices for services or other taxable income, you can use the 1099-K from PayPal to report that income. If these payments were reimbursements, where you uploaded a receipt expense to Open Collective, then you do not need to report these amounts from the 1099-K for income tax purposes. If you have further questions, please speak to a tax advisor.

Does this apply to non-US citizens?

Yes. We need you to fill in the tax forms so we can show that the payment went to a non US citizen. This is needed for accounting purposes. We have to verify what payments went to US vs. non-US payees.

Reporting your income from OSC

For tax purposes, you will be treated as an independent contractor and, if you are a US person, you will be issued a 1099 if your earnings exceed $600. Here's a good explanation of how W9s work for independent contractors, and there's more info on what a 1099 is here.

If you don’t meet the $600 threshold, simply report your earnings as miscellaneous self-employment income when you file your taxes.

Open Source Collective is based in the US. If you are not based in the US, we will only keep your information on file and it's up to you to meet any tax reporting obligations in your country. It would be best to talk to a tax advisor on how to handle income from a US-based company as an overseas resident.

For more information on taxes please click here.

Last updated