Guest Post: Feeling the Love During Tax Season

This guest post comes from our friends at Intuit, the makers of TurboTax and QuickBooks Self-Employed.

Whew! Tax season is finally over. Filing ridesharing taxes can be complicated. And we’re so glad we got to help you during this busy and stressful time. Check out all the cool stuff we did together, including our sweepstakes and tax tour. 

Meet Tavynn — Our $10,000 Sweepstakes Winner

To sweeten tax season for drivers, TurboTax® + Lyft gave away hundreds of prizes, including a $10,000 Grand Prize awarded to Tavynn T. of Lexington, Kentucky. She drives with Lyft when she’s not at her full-time dentist assistant job. Read on to get to know Tavynn a little bit better.

Intuit: Why did you originally start driving with Lyft? 

Tavynn: A friend of mine referred me. I’m a single mom so working for Lyft was the best way to make extra cash and make my own schedule. I can make more money than going to work at Walmart or McDonald’s. And I can easily find a babysitter for my 4-year-old daughter for short periods of time. The flexibility with my daughter is very important—if she gets sick, I’m not responsible for canceling work because I make my own schedule.

Intuit: What do you like about driving for Lyft?

Tavynn: I love meeting new people and I have lots of good stories…there’s never a dull moment!

Intuit: What was your reaction when you found out you’re our sweepstakes winner? 

Tavynn: I received an extremely HUGE blessing. I paid up the mortgage for the year, and I’d like to plan a vacation with my daughter to Disney World!

Congrats, Tavynn!

2017 Lyft Hub Tax Tour Recap

Lyft drivers are always on the go, so we came to you. This year, we embarked on a seven-city tour across the U.S. where QuickBooks Self-Employed product gurus and tax experts helped Lyft drivers with tax support. Thank you for hanging out with us at the 2017 Lyft Hub Tax Tour!

From Seattle to Boston, we met over 100 Lyft drivers who had tax questions or needed help filing with TurboTax. Here are some things we discovered together: 

  • New drivers needed a “heads-up” on how to best prepare for their first tax season (estimate quarterly taxes, keep track of receipts, types of deductions to take, and more).
  • Drivers who got their first 1099 appreciated the in-person help in finding their 1099 on the driver dashboard, plus getting a crash-course on how to identify top deductions for the year.
  • Seasoned drivers were impressed with how easy it was to do their own taxes with TurboTax Self-Employed, and get personalized help from our Tax Experts or online through SmartLook.

Missed the Lyft Hub Tax Tour? Here’s What You Can Do

We appreciated hearing about your questions and concerns. It’s spurred us on to learn more so that we can help Lyft drivers more effectively, not just at tax time but all year long. For now, check out these great resources for more information on ridesharing taxes. Learn how to save money on taxes or how to keep more of what you’ve earned.

“I would like to thank everyone involved with the Lyft Tax Tour here in Las Vegas. Filing your taxes can be both stressful and complicated. When I arrived there all my questions were answered and I was so impressed with all the help I received. The friendly, courteous Intuit staff made me feel so comfortable, and were extremely helpful. I very much look forward to continuing my partnership with Lyft and hope to see the Lyft Tax Tour staff again next year. Thanks again for everything!”
-Mike N., Las Vegas, NV

Looking Ahead: Quarterly Taxes Are Due June 15

Did you know your next quarterly taxes are due soon on June 15, 2017? Make this your most organized tax year yet by using QuickBooks Self-Employed to maximize your deductions and get the max refund on your 2017 tax return.

Remember, if you used TurboTax Self-Employed to file your 2016 taxes, sign in to QuickBooks Self-Employed by July 15, 2017, to activate your complimentary subscription. 

As a reminder, Lyft does not provide tax advice.

[Updated w/FAQ] Our New Service Animal Policy: What You Need to Know

We know service animals can raise some questions for Lyft drivers, but they’re essential for many people. We’ve been working hard on a few updates to improve the experience for everyone in our community, including a new service animal policy that clarifies how drivers should handle these requests:

Starting April 14, 2017 , you’ll be required by the law and Lyft’s policy to accommodate service animals, even if you have an allergy, religious or cultural objections, or a fear of them.

We know this will be an adjustment for some of you, but it’s important to us to have an official policy that eliminates any gray area. At Lyft we believe access to transportation is a fundamental right — but as you’ll learn from Christella, people with service animals are too often denied rides when they need to get somewhere. Lyft drivers like you are in a unique position to change that, and help us deliver on our mission to provide safe, reliable transportation to everyone.

FAQ for Drivers

As an independent contractor, isn’t it my choice to accommodate service animals?

We created Lyft for people who love flexibility and freedom, and that’s still the case. But even independent contractors have to follow the law. For example, it’s Lyft policy and the law that you and your riders wear a seatbelt while driving for Lyft. Similarly, it’s Lyft policy and the law that you accommodate service animals.

What about Lyft Line? What if a rider in my Lyft Line has an allergy or objection to the service animal?

We do our best to educate passengers that Lyft Line is a shared ride, with high odds of riding in a closed environment with another person. Sometimes that means encountering a service animal, just like you might in an elevator, an airliner, or small office. 

If a rider’s allergies or objections to the service animal are severe, the rider may ask to request a different ride. If necessary, you may cancel the non-service animal rider’s ride without penalty. If you ever have a problem as a driver — or concerns about your rating — reach out to Lyft through the Help Center and we’ll guide you through it after the ride.

What if there’s no room on a Lyft Line for a service animal?

Service animals often ride at their owners’ feet, so you shouldn’t need an extra seat. If they do, we’ve found that other passengers are understanding and will make room for them when necessary. (Note: It’s rare that a Lyft Line will be at capacity at the same time you get a request from someone with a service animal. It’s also rare that you’ll get a ride with a service animal to begin with.)

How can I tell if a service animal is a true service animal? What if a passenger is misrepresenting their dog as a service animal? Are emotional support animals included in the policy?

The good news is that cases of service-animal fraud are rare in our community and will put passengers at risk of deactivation. But if you want, you may ask two questions of riders who report their animals are service animals: (1) Is the animal required because of a disability? And (2) what work or task has the animal been trained to perform? These questions will usually prove to you that the animal in question is a service animal.

That said, we don’t want you to risk your own deactivation by guessing incorrectly. Some passengers use service animals for reasons that aren’t obvious, like epilepsy or heart conditions. Not all service animals wear tags, and they come in all shapes and sizes. For these reasons, it’s best that you accommodate animals when they’re reported to you by riders as being service animals. Contact Lyft after the ride if anything seems fishy, and we’ll investigate.

Although we encourage you to take all animals, including emotional support animals, they aren't covered under our Service Animal Policy or the law so you’re not required to accommodate them.

What if a service animal causes damage?

As you saw in the video, service animals are trained to perform work for their owner and not make a mess. If you’re worried about dog hair, keep a blanket in your trunk. If they do have an issue, contact Lyft Support after the ride and we’ll handle it.

We look forward to continuing the discussion throughout April, our first Service Animal Month at Lyft, and in the months and years to come. Thanks for taking this seriously, and being there when people need your rides the most.