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Ensure that you go through your employment contract, human resource (HR) policies and social media usage guidelines if you intend to accept payouts from social media platforms or engage in any other side hustle

August 30, 2023 / 05:58 PM IST

Drawing income through social media posts? Find out how your employer will view such activities before attempting to monetise them

With X (formerly, Twitter) making payouts to influential users with more than five million impressions in three months, individuals now have an additional source of income to look forward to.

However, many of these users who are eligible for the payouts could also be employed with organisations. This means they will have to pore over their employment contracts and HR policies to understand how they should deal with this additional source of income.

And, it’s not just about earnings through social media platforms alone. As an employee, you need to be aware of the disclosures to be made if you are engaged in futures & options (F&O) trading, for instance, or take up any other side hustle.

To know more about the rules and laws that employees ought to be aware of, Moneycontrol’s Preeti Kulkarni spoke with Sowmya Kumar, an expert on labour laws and partner with law firm IndusLaw.

Also read: Set to earn income through Twitter (X) posts? Know how it will be taxed

Here are the edited excerpts:

- There is no law in the country that prohibits individuals from drawing income from multiple sources

- However, you need to carefully decipher the language around earnings through other sources, including social media payouts, in your employment contract and other internal policies.

- Also scan your global policies, social media guidelines, investment disclosure norms and so on to ensure your side hustle does not violate any of the clauses

- There could be clauses in the contract that specifically prohibit employees engaging in any other business or activity alongside the job.

- Some contracts could make it clear that you are required to work full-time for the organisation, which means that drawing income from other sources would potentially be seen as violation of terms.

- There could also be some leeway for, say, passive streams of income and activities where there is no conflict of interest.

- Even if there is no conflict of interest, however, you should be aware of the clauses that govern use of official data that you have access to, as also the ones that can draw links between your performance at work and your side hustle,

- You need to make disclosures on your other sources of income, in line with your employment contracts.

- If you are subject to any regulatory penalties, which are bound to become public knowledge, the employer or the brand could be affected adversely.

- In case you have any doubts, you must write to your HR and seek permission before taking up any monetisation activity

- While filing income tax returns, you must disclose every source of income – it’s not enough to rely on your Form-16 as it will not contain details of your business income. In most cases, the relevant ITR form would be ITR-3

- Those who receive payouts from foreign entities should be especially careful. As an Indian resident, you ought to report all global income deposited into foreign bank accounts, as it will be subject to tax in India

Preeti Kulkarni
Preeti Kulkarni is a financial journalist with over 13 years of experience. Based in Mumbai, she covers the personal finance beat for Moneycontrol. She focusses primarily on insurance, banking, taxation and financial planning
first published: Aug 30, 2023 05:58 pm

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