How to Report Income From a Joint Venture

If you receive income from a joint venture, you must report it to the Internal Revenue Service on your personal return because joint ventures do not file their own returns. Only spouses can elect that the IRS treat their enterprise as a qualified joint venture instead of a partnership. This classification allows spouses to file a joint return but allocates income and expenses from the venture evenly between both as if each was a sole proprietor. Electing to file as a joint venture enables each spouse to receive Social Security credits based on individual earnings.

Determine the income from the venture. Allocate the earnings between you and your spouse based on the amount of investment made. If you share equally in the investment, split the income 50/50. However, if one spouse puts more money and time into the venture than the other does, that spouse should have a larger percentage of the income.

Download a Schedule C from the IRS website and print two copies.

Complete a Schedule C for you and your spouse. As a joint venture, you do not have to have an Employee Identification Number unless you have employees or your venture deals in firearms, alcohol or tobacco. If your activities require you to have an EIN, file for the number as a sole proprietor, not a partnership.

Total the net income -- or loss -- from both of the Schedule C forms. Enter the amount on Line 12 of your Form 1040.


  • To qualify as a joint venture, the only owners must be a married couple who have not incorporated their business. Joint ventures do not have to have an Employer Identification Number unless they have employees. Consult a tax professional if you have any questions about filing taxes as a joint venture. Calculate your self-employment tax using Schedule SE if you owe this tax.


  • It might be tempting to omit the income if you do not think that the IRS will discover it, but not reporting all income can have severe penalties if the agency becomes aware of it. Typically, the IRS requires your financial records for the previous three years if it is auditing your returns. However, major errors in your returns such as unreported income can cause it to request as many as six years of your records.