The general rule is:
Is there an employee/employer relationship or is a service or product being offered?
It is most likely income.
Were the funds given with no expectation of receiving something back other than feeling good about helping someone?
It is most likely a gift.
Please visit the IRS website for more details:
- http://www.irs.gov/publications/p525/ar02.html (search this page for "gift")
Note: With all tax issues, we recommend that you consult an appropriate tax professional who can provide you with information and advice relevant to your specific situation and location.