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 Mystery Shopping, Merchandising & Demo
 Independent Contractor Taxes
 Federal ID # (EIN) versus Social Security number (SSN)
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KimBie
Star Contributor

USA
607 Posts

Posted - 08/27/2004 :  11:54:05 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I was just wondering if any of you have applied for Federal Identification numbers as opposed to using their social security numbers and if the companies would accept this. I haven't applied to any companies yet so I'm not sure about this. Can anyone provide any feedback on this? Thanks!

Kim
MSPA Silver Certified

.AngelS
Inactive

Lake Stevens, WA
USA
114 Posts

Posted - 08/27/2004 :  12:04:05 PM  Send .AngelS an AOL message  Reply  Reply with Quote
Kimbie,

When I first started to MS I applied for an EIN and a business license. Even though I didn't necessary need them I found that they have helped me out along the way. I was uncomfortable giving out my SSN to people I didn't know. Not to mention all of the cases of identity theft. I just didn't want to take any chances. I am not saying that any of the companies out there should be mistrusted; I am just saying that I sleep better at night knowing my personal information was kept out of it. I have used my EIN and everything has worked out great.

Angel-
MSPA - Silver Certified Shopper
Shopping the Northwest
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MarieVA
Apprentice

VA
USA
1 Posts

Posted - 08/27/2004 :  7:52:42 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
What is EIN? What's the difference between applying for a Federal Identification number and getting an EIN and a business license? Which one do you give the MS company in lieu of your SS#?

How do you apply for an EIN and a business license?
Thanks!
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TexasLisa
Apprentice

Coppell, Texas
USA
2 Posts

Posted - 01/18/2005 :  1:11:34 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I am just getting started in the business. I am very afraid of identity theft, so I obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN). I do not want to give out my SSN. However, I am now finding that the registration / applications forms have a space for SSN, but not EIN. They are both 9 digits long. Can I enter my EIN instead of SSN? The "-" between the numbers are usually different. Does that matter?

Thanks so much!

TexasLisa
A Baby at MS !
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.AngelS
Inactive

Lake Stevens, WA
USA
114 Posts

Posted - 01/19/2005 :  1:04:28 PM  Send .AngelS an AOL message  Reply  Reply with Quote
Lis

I either skip it and email the company my EIN or just type in my EIN in the space anyway. Yes they are both 9 digits and yes the spacing is different, but I found out that if I have emailed the company my EIN they simply have typed it in the same area for me.

Hope this helps.


Angel-
MSPA - Silver Certified Shopper
Shopping the Northwest
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.Allie B
Inactive

USA
40 Posts

Posted - 01/19/2005 :  5:31:40 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Would there be any reason not to apply for an EIN#

Thanks,
Allie
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NancyP
Member

Orlando, FL
USA
36 Posts

Posted - 01/19/2005 :  8:17:59 PM  Visit NancyP's Homepage  Reply  Reply with Quote
quote:
Would there be any reason not to apply for an EIN#
The IRS would prefer that you only have one if you
have employees, or if you create a pension plan for
your business.

HTH
Nancy

Nancy
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.Allie B
Inactive

USA
40 Posts

Posted - 01/21/2005 :  4:40:27 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Will the IRS allow you to have an EIN if you choose to use it instead of a SS#?



Thanks,
allie b
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NancyP
Member

Orlando, FL
USA
36 Posts

Posted - 01/21/2005 :  5:47:55 PM  Visit NancyP's Homepage  Reply  Reply with Quote
You can't just use an EIN instead of your
Social Security Number. Here's a link to the
IRS page with instructions for Form SS-4: http://www.irs.gov/businesses/small/article/0,,id=102765,00.html
Please note the first "caution" they list.

HTH

Nancy

Nancy
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.Allie B
Inactive

USA
40 Posts

Posted - 01/21/2005 :  8:06:53 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Nancy,

The only time I would use it instead of my SS# would be as an IC or MS? Do you think the IRS would accept that? I'll have to check with them and post the reply to this form.

Thank you for your replies,
allie b
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NancyP
Member

Orlando, FL
USA
36 Posts

Posted - 01/22/2005 :  1:12:47 PM  Visit NancyP's Homepage  Reply  Reply with Quote
Allie, I don't understand your "need" for
an EIN. If you're worried about identity
theft, I would worry more about my mail
(especially at this time of the year when
tax notices are being sent) than I would
about giving my SSN to a mystery shopping
company.

Just my 2 cents.

Nancy
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Susan L
Star Contributor

Westchester County, New York
USA
267 Posts

Posted - 07/18/2007 :  11:38:43 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Using an EIN will not protect you from identity theft. EINs may be stolen when a person, for example an (ex-)felon or a person here in the USA illegally, needs one to run a real or fake business but for some reason can't obtain an EIN of their own without raising lots of alerts.

In some parts of the country, the illegal workforce is so significant that banks (like Bank of America) have permitted such workers to use nine-digit non-Social Security tax numbers, like EINs and taxpayer ID numbers, to open bank accounts for cashing checks and wiring money outside the USA, even obtaining mortgages for real estate. But unlike the case with Social Security numbers, where credit bureau keep record of the name associated with a SSN, and theoretically there are ways to "freeze" accounts or be alerted if there is misuse, there is no easily accessible way for a business to verify that an EIN is being used by the one who is presenting it, short of going directly to the IRS for verification or doing a full-fledged background check. Even searching business databases is no guarantee, since businesses change names and owners all the time, and EINs may or may not transfer. So identity theft by EIN is a growing problem now. It's not quite as bad as ID theft of SSNs, but it is still there.

The reason I know about this is because someone has stolen and is using my EIN, which I obtained 20 years ago.
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SueR.
Trainee

Stockton, CA
USA
5 Posts

Posted - 10/27/2010 :  4:11:56 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I applied for an EIN because jobslinger said I would get more jobs with it. I also wanted to stop giving out my social security number. I tried doing what others said and just putting in 000-00-0000 and not putting anything at all. They NEVER give a job or take an application without one. So you eventually if not at the point of sign in have to give it anyways.

I am a little nervous since getting the EIN no. though. I am really confused about keeping a logbook of shops, reimbursement, expenses and etc. for taxes either way. I really made no money because of all the driving, printing etc. Mostly I just got reimbursed for money spent at shops.

Anyways I am just confused and nervous about the whole thing.

Sue
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JonK
Contributor

AL
USA
87 Posts

Posted - 11/11/2010 :  08:55:27 AM  Visit JonK's Homepage  Reply  Reply with Quote
Just received an email from Maritz saying they will require an EIN beginning Jan 1. Does anyone currently use one instead of a SSN? What is their rationale for doing this? I mean, they say it's for our protection and theirs, but why does this help protect my status as an IC over using my SSN? It seems like this would complicate things when I file my taxes if I am using both my SSN for some income and my EIN for other income.

Jon
Shopping all of Alabama, Mississippi, Florida panhandle, most of Tennessee, western Georgia and anywhere else where there's opportunity!
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Julie H.
Valued Contributor

MN
USA
146 Posts

Posted - 11/11/2010 :  09:18:55 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I'm also wondering about the questions Jon asked - especially about if you can use both your SSN and EIN for income. Also, the e-mail from Maritz said something about requiring a business name, and that beginning 1/1/11, checks will be made out to the business name. For those of you who have business names, what do you use? Can you just use your name as your business name also?

Julie H.
MSPA Silver certified
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Jeff68005
Star Contributor

Bellevue, NE
USA
1171 Posts

Posted - 03/01/2012 :  3:53:07 PM  Send Jeff68005 an AOL message  Reply  Reply with Quote
Trendsource is in the process of forcing the ICs they use to have both EIN and business name. It is with immediate effect for new relationships and will be enforced in May 2012 for ALL established MS or other IC workforce.

I do NOT want any more fed registrations. My problem is compounded by the amount of recent business I have been doing with TrendSource.

What additional paperwork is expected by having one? How complicated it any additional accounting? How do you report so that the IRS does not accuse the EIN of failure to file? This is a can of worms I do not want, but may be forced into.

A schedule C should be enough paperwork.

I understand part of the reason has to do with proving IC status, but what other forums or topics can I read or participate in on this new to me issue?

TIA

Jeff Hix
Serving metro Omaha, Nebraska including Bellevue, Papillion, La Vista, Ralston, Plattsmouth and Council Bluffs, Iowa.
MSPA Silver Certified - MSPA Gold Certified - NARMS Proficiency Test PASSED
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MargieG
Valued Contributor

USA
141 Posts

Posted - 03/04/2012 :  4:26:56 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I've been reading on the IRS website and having an EIN doesn't make you an independent contractor if the work you are contracting for doesn't met the qualifications to be considered independent contracting work. It's all about how much control the company retains not whether you have an EIN. In other words, my intent is to be an independent contractor but if the company retains so much control that the work is not considered independent contracting work (by the IRS) than the company has to hire as an employee whether I have an EIN or not.

Margie
MSPA Gold Certifed since 2004
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DChristine
Valued Contributor

USA
220 Posts

Posted - 12/16/2012 :  12:14:06 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by MargieG

I've been reading on the IRS website and having an EIN doesn't make you an independent contractor if the work you are contracting for doesn't met the qualifications to be considered independent contracting work. It's all about how much control the company retains not whether you have an EIN. In other words, my intent is to be an independent contractor but if the company retains so much control that the work is not considered independent contracting work (by the IRS) than the company has to hire as an employee whether I have an EIN or not.



Then what would be the reason for a company requesting you have an EIN as a condition of hiring you? I have work for many companies as IC and employee. I always use my SS# but recently I was hired by a company and then told I have to have an EIN. I had agreed but now I'm hesitant plus they aren't offering a lot of work.
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MargieG
Valued Contributor

USA
141 Posts

Posted - 12/31/2012 :  05:38:22 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I have heard that this all started because an individual performing work for Trendsource in Wisconsin applied for unemployment compensation and was approved. The story goes that in Wisconsin (and a few other states) that if you have an EIN then they will automatically deny the claim because you are considered "a business" and therefore can't be an employee.

I believe the claim that one has to have an EIN to be considered an Independent Contractor started in an attempt to get us to comply. You only need to read the IRS code to know that having an EIN has nothing to do with whether you are considered an Independent Contractor.

Margie
MSPA Gold Certifed since 2004
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