Maximizing YouTube Payouts: A Step-by-Step Guide for Creators

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Diving into the mechanics of earning money as a content creator can be overwhelming, particularly in regards to making sure you have everything lined up to receive that income when the time comes. When it comes to a YouTube payout, the setup process is a little complex, but the month-to-month process of cashing out is generally straightforward and stress-free. So let’s take a look at everything you need to do up front to get paid.

Who is eligible to be paid by YouTube?

Although there are numerous creative ways to monetize your YouTube presence, doing so directly through the platform requires joining the YouTube Partner Program (YPP). Each type of monetization via YPP has different requirements, but the bare minimum for joining requires having at least 1,000 subscribers and either 4,000 watch hours in the past year or 10 million Shorts views in the past 90 days.

You can check your eligibility by signing into the Creator Studio and tapping on the “Earn” tab, represented by a dollar sign. If you’ve met the requirements, you can apply and YouTube will get back to you. 

How do I set up a YouTube AdSense account?

The next requirement for getting a YouTube payout is having an AdSense account. If you already have one, you’ll be able to link it to your YouTube channel. If not, we can walk you through getting that set up.

Step #1: Signing up

YouTube wants creators setting up an AdSense account for the first time to do so through the Creator Studio. Click on the same “Earn” tab we used above to check YPP eligibility after you’ve been approved for the program, and there should be an option to sign up for Google AdSense.

This is where you’ll have the option to sign in through an existing AdSense account if you already have one—and it is important to note that you can only have one AdSense account; you won’t be setting up a new one just for YouTube. You also must be at least 18 years old.

For those just joining AdSense, fill out the application provided, and they’ll let you know if and when your account has been approved.

Step #2: Submitting tax information

Once your AdSense account is approved, you’ll be required to submit tax information—this applies to all creators, not just ones based in the United States.

In your AdSense account, you’ll navigate to Payment > Payments info > Manage settings. Then, under “Payments profile,” you’ll have the option to edit your U.S. tax info.

Step #3: Verifying your personal info

You won’t be required or able to verify your identity or address until you hit an earnings threshold of $10 in the U.S. or its equivalent elsewhere. Once that happens, AdSense will let you know what they need and how long you have to submit it.

For individuals verifying your identity, you’ll be required to submit a current government ID.

Address verification involves Google sending a Personal Identity Number to your address on file, along with instructions regarding where to enter that number online to verify your address.

Step #4: Selecting a payment method

Another thing that happens when you hit the $10 earnings threshold is that you’ll be able to select a payment method for AdSense. In the United States, payments are made via direct deposit to your bank account. In certain other locations, additional options such as check and wire transfer may be available.

You can set this up through AdSense by going to Payments > Payments info and choosing “Add payment method.” You’ll want to make sure that it is also noted as your primary method of payment.

Check out our ultimate guide to live streaming on YouTube

Other things to know about AdSense

Although you can only have one AdSense account, you can use that account for multiple YouTube channels, which will hopefully help streamline the payment process.

However, each YouTube channel can only have a single AdSense account linked to it. In other words, if you share a channel with a collaborator, you can’t link two individual AdSense accounts and have the money split automatically between you. You would either have to choose one and divvy up the money after the fact, or set up a business account if you have a legally formed business together.

How does YouTube payout work?

Once you’ve joined the YouTube Partner Program, set up your AdSense account, and started earning money through YouTube, you’re probably itching to get to the good part—being paid.

YouTube payments are issued automatically, once a month, provided you have reached the minimum payment threshold during that pay period.

How it works is that payments are issued between the 21st and 26th of the month for earnings accrued in the prior month. So you’ll be sent everything you earned (provided it meets the threshold) in AdSense between March 1-31 and sometime between April 21-26. Google advises payments can take up to seven business days to process, so you may not receive the money in your account until a little later.

However, the finalized amount you’ve earned will be calculated and reflected in your balance no later than the 12th of the following month, so in the above example, you would at least know what to expect to be paid by April 12.

If your earnings don’t meet the threshold for a payment to be issued, they will roll over to the following month.

Check out our step-by-step guide to growing your YouTube channel’s subscribers and views

What is the threshold for payment on YouTube?

The minimum amount of earnings required for payment varies per country. In the U.S., it’s $100. For those outside of the U.S., you can check out the threshold for your country here.

Where can I see my YouTube earnings?

Currently, creators can view their YouTube earnings by signing into AdSense, selecting “Payments” from the menu, and navigating to “Payments info.” There, you will find the information for your YouTube payments, as well as any other accounts you may have set up with AdSense.

In November 2023, YouTube announced that they are testing out the ability for creators to view all their payment information in YouTube Studio rather than having to go directly to AdSense. According to their post, this will include easily tracking the progress you’ve made until you meet the threshold for another payout, the ability to view payouts you’ve received over the past 12 months, and confirmation when your most recent payout has been sent.

The program will initially be available to creators who only use AdSense for a single YouTube channel, and who are paid in U.S. currency, although that is expected to change in the future.

Does YouTube withhold taxes?

All creators are required to submit tax information, but U.S.-based creators generally will not have taxes withheld by YouTube. However, for non-U.S. creators, if your channel has viewers in the U.S. unless you are eligible to claim tax treaty benefits, Google may withhold taxes on that portion of your income. This includes revenue earned from ad views, YouTube Premium, Super Chat, Super Stickers, and Channel Memberships. To learn more about monetizing your YouTube account—through the YouTube Partner Program or other, less direct ways—check out our guide to best practices for revenue generation on YouTube.

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