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AdAora
Star Contributor

Deep in the heart of, TX
USA
3770 Posts

Posted - 12/03/2003 :  2:36:37 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I've seen emails for tax preparation shops and would love to know if anyone has done these before.

My feeling is that if you have a lot of MS expenses and IC taxes to pay, won't this tip off whichever tax preparer you are shopping? Most company personnel know that MSers are coming, right?

Gold certified in TX

Christine Y McCoy
Contributor

MI
USA
91 Posts

Posted - 12/03/2003 :  2:39:53 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
ROTFLMAO

That is so funny how obvious. You know the employee would make small talk and ask what you do. How hilarious I needed the laugh.


Christine from mich
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TraveLiz
Valued Contributor

USA
122 Posts

Posted - 12/03/2003 :  5:32:11 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I haven't seen these particular shops but in previous years a friend has done a tax prep shop where she takes on a whole new identity, job etc for the scenario.

Liz
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DarleneFL
Star Contributor

Tampa Bay Area, FL
USA
343 Posts

Posted - 12/03/2003 :  5:50:16 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
There is currently a post on the job board for this type of shop. It sounds like the whole point/perk is to get your taxes prepared for free. If that is the case, there would really be no point to accepting the assignment and giving false information.

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Melissa G
Member

Sacramento, CA
USA
42 Posts

Posted - 12/04/2003 :  05:13:22 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Actually I have done both types of tax shops. One where you are given a complete set of fake information and fake W2s. You get paid a fee for those. The other I had the option of doing my own taxes at a reduced rate. It saved me about 80.00 on my taxes. I did this the first year I was msing to see how they did my taxes and now do it myself. It did not cover the entire expense. When the old guy that was doing the preparing asked what I did I said I was a restaurant reviewer and he said what a cool job that would be and then began asking me how to get into the business. He had no clue what so ever that I was shopping him.

Melissa Gardner
MSPA silver certified shopping for 6 years all over the Sacramento region
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AmandaEb
Contributor

York, PA
USA
69 Posts

Posted - 12/04/2003 :  06:00:54 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Melissa G - Very good cover!! Good thinking on your feet.

I would LOVE to get this shop in my area!!
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TaraSue
Star Contributor

Fort Wayne, IN
USA
384 Posts

Posted - 12/04/2003 :  1:57:53 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
And remember you are giving your social security number to whom to see....
the shop company will see it, the shoper company will see it and EVERY SINGLE person this shop is used to train with your SS number will be on the page...
I would be wary...
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Melissa G
Member

Sacramento, CA
USA
42 Posts

Posted - 12/04/2003 :  3:42:19 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
You keep the prepared tax return yourself and it is not turned into the shopping company or the company you are shopping. The preparer fills out the forms for you and you file them yourself or you can e file them for a fee. No one has access to your social or any personal information. You then report mainly on the customer service areas and whether they try to upsell you on other services offered by the company.The costs for the returns depends on how many forms they fill out for you and how long it is. It usually runs close to 200.00 can be more. I only took in my 1099's and not the stubs and then my spreadsheet with deductions. Also my mileage book and had already had totals for reciepts written down so they really don't see all that much info.

Melissa Gardner
MSPA silver certified shopping for 6 years all over the Sacramento region
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CyndiC
Apprentice

Tulsa, OK
USA
2 Posts

Posted - 12/04/2003 :  7:30:53 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I am a Tax Accountant, and I don't really see a problem with this shop. Tax season is such a busy time and you are not worried about a surprise mystery shopper. Confidentiality is the utmost and when you reveal that your occupation is a mystery shopper, I doubt they would even think a second about it. You do need to report your MS income so you "should" reveal the source of income.
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WendiMobileAL
Valued Contributor

Mobile, AL
USA
233 Posts

Posted - 12/05/2003 :  06:38:01 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
All I can say is "SEND ME THIS SHOP!!!"

As most of the info comes from our own records, such as a spreadsheet, and most people have no clue of MSing, I'd do this shop in a heartbeat. Do you know how much time I spend on taxes?? As far as the SS issue, these preparers are in contact with so much information on a daily basis. Think about ti-if you collect interest on almost anything-you use your account number. Unless you are doing your taxes yourself, someone is going to see this information. I say go for it, and have a sigh of relief that you don't have to do them yourself.
Wendi

Serving the coast of AL, North West FL, MS and inland areas
MSPA Gold Certified Shopper
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MarteeC
Star Contributor

Tampa, FL
USA
1352 Posts

Posted - 01/02/2004 :  06:40:45 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Most of these are completed to assure that the large national concerns are being fairly represented and that franchise standards are being met. Some of them are temporary locations set up only at tax season, so you are in essence allowing a company an opportunity to visit without having to hop on a plane. As tax season nears these little tax kiosks appear everywhere!
These can be pretty cool. Some companies even upfront your money. The ones that require you to take on another identity pay well as they do require some preparation. The ones where you have your taxes done-Hey! Great fee! Every company I have done these for have been well established and they pay quickly. I have never sent in my actual forms, just a list of which forms were completed on my behalf.
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EliseWeav
Star Contributor

Boston, MA
USA
528 Posts

Posted - 01/31/2007 :  7:55:15 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I was offered a few of these. I believe for 2 different companies. I'm sorry I can't remember which co's, but they must have been filled because the emails have stopped. I could not accept due to certain requirements (not related to MS).

Elise
Boston area, especially North Shore. Silver certified and shopping since 2004.
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KellyH
Star Contributor

USA
316 Posts

Posted - 02/01/2007 :  05:40:32 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I have seen multiple tax shops out there. Right now, one company has them where you visit the company and see what a rapid refund entails. I'll tell you that last year, the shop paid $10 more (gosh, I seem to be writing this a lot lately!). What is being offered right now was what was paid for a phone call. This year, they want you to visit for the same price. It is not worth the time. So, I'm not assisting with these.

There are also three MS companies paying for taxes to be done. One is a scenario with a fake identity. The other two are your actual taxes being filed. I am doing one next week, if all my 1099 and W-2s get here. The fake identity ones are not in my area.

Someone wrote about your identity as a MS. For my shop, I will explain that I'm an Independent Contractor. If the person has more questions, I plan to explain I do audits of gasoline & packaging companies, as well as merchandising greeting cards. What do y'all think about that? That is what I do, in addition to the 100s of mystery shops...I just figure I don't need to mention those shops.

MSPA Gold
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FrugalSue
Trainee

Hague, Virginia
USA
9 Posts

Posted - 02/01/2007 :  06:50:33 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I'm getting ready to do one next week as well. Filing my own taxes though, not a fake identity. It's a place where we get our taxes done every year anyways. So how great to be reimbursed for fees & paid & small amount. I also plan to just tell them I'm an IC and do merchandising if asked.
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ChrisT
Star Contributor

USA
1513 Posts

Posted - 02/01/2007 :  12:39:53 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I just saw one posted (fake id one no real tax filing), but you have to be old to do it. Even if I qualified I wouldn't do it as you have to outlay $450 in CASH

What if you make a mistake in the shop? That'd be one EXPENSIVE mistake

ChrisT
Deliriously Happy Shopping Uncertifiable
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DonnaShops
Star Contributor

Murfreesboro, TN
USA
380 Posts

Posted - 02/01/2007 :  1:10:56 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Okay, I'm almost afraid to ask, but how old is "old"?

MSPA Gold Certified
Shopping Middle TN & Beyond
Someday my Spa Shop will come!
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KellyH
Star Contributor

USA
316 Posts

Posted - 02/09/2007 :  5:11:53 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Warning on these shops!


I just completed one tonight and was blown away by the fees. What concerns me is recalling some of the fees offered to MSs. I recall many putting caps on the loan/filing fees and not offering a fee. Please know, if you itemize, have investments, and/or multiple tax forms, your fees will be well over $500. The fee for each document (not just the tax form) is anywhere from $33-75. That adds quickly! The shop took me 2 1/2 hours.


MSPA Gold
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Donna V
Contributor

Hannibal, MO
USA
74 Posts

Posted - 02/10/2007 :  1:19:42 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I can't/won't do these shops b/c I also own my own business and will use the same tax preparer for the last four years. She tracks my set up costs and depreciation and so on. Plus she charges me so little and does a great job.

What caught my eye on the shops in my area was needing to do the anticipated refund/loan. That can be quite expensive, and it is not something that I would pay for or want on a normal basis.

Donna

Donna
silver certified
Hannibal, MO
Quincy, IL and surrounding areas
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Greta
Valued Contributor

Waldorf, MD
USA
132 Posts

Posted - 02/12/2007 :  6:25:12 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
My question on this shop is;

Because the fee and cash outlay can be over $500, when the company pays you through paypal, will paypal take a fee out of the payment?

This would put me over the $500 limit for a personal account and they would upgrade my account.

I will not do this shop because of the cash outlay. Who walks around with that kind of cash this day and age. If you make a mistake on the report, you don't get your money back. I will pass.
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KellyH
Star Contributor

USA
316 Posts

Posted - 02/13/2007 :  02:48:27 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Great point, Greta. I don't know how the others are handled, but checks are an option with mine.

MSPA Gold
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BrianCollins
Valued Contributor

USA
243 Posts

Posted - 02/13/2007 :  04:27:32 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I echo the warning by KellyH. I was offered a "get your taxes done free" shop, but with the fine print I would've gone over the allowed amount and ended up having to pay. No thanks!

Last month there were plenty of cheapie $7 kiosk shops where you pose as a potential customer and get a business card after asking some preliminary questions.

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