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 Mystery Shopping, Merchandising & Demo
 Independent Contractor Taxes
 Deductability of transit / public transportation fares?
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John Charles Wilson
Trainee

Minneapolis, MN
USA
8 Posts

Posted - 03/11/2010 :  1:54:58 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I'm probably one of the few people who MS by public transit. However, I usually use a monthly pass, and have no explicit way of separating the costs for MSing from those for personal use. Does this eliminate my ability to deduct anything for transportation?

John

Tina
Contributor

Philadelphia, PA
USA
52 Posts

Posted - 03/11/2010 :  5:07:51 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Hi John! I use public transit too. Where are you located? I think there are only a few places in this country where you can live without a car! I have not been able to deduct my transit passes on my taxes because I do not use them solely for mystery shopping unfortuantely :-( That's what I was told by HR Block but maybe others have different information?
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John Charles Wilson
Trainee

Minneapolis, MN
USA
8 Posts

Posted - 03/12/2010 :  1:40:43 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
@ Tina: I'm in Minneapolis, MN. We have a pretty good bus system here. I figured the same as you told me. Oh well. Sometimes I run into trouble accepting assignments because my primary MS company lists them by municipality name but doesn't give exact address until you accept the shop. Some of our suburbs have areas accessible by transit and other areas of the same suburbs aren't so transit-friendly. Often I can guess what the place being shopped is and check it out on the trip planner before accepting, otherwise I have to accept, check out the address, then cancel....

John
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KentB
Member

Cordova, TN
USA
32 Posts

Posted - 03/14/2010 :  12:10:04 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
The way you can deduct the cost of the public transportation pass is the same way the rest of us deduct car mileage. Get a small notebook and keep track of all uses of the pass. Each time you buy a pass, note the cost. If you use it for a mystery shop, note the date and store location. For personal uses, just note the date and "Personal". Then when the pass is used up count the percentage of MS uses and personal uses and multiply the percentage of MS uses by the cost of the pass. Since I am not very familiar with these passes, make the appropriate adjustments as needed.

Kent Burghard, Senior Tax Advisor and Mystery Shopper
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JHong
Member

Brooklyn, NY
USA
11 Posts

Posted - 02/08/2011 :  3:03:21 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I also have a question related to public transportation. Through my regular job, I am able to have money taken out before taxes for my transit pass (pre-tax commuter benefit). Does this then preclude me from being able to deduct the cost of public transportation from my mystery shops? Maybe the answer is obvious, but it isn't for me! It costs me $4.50 RT so it is a substantial cost for me to consider. Thanks!

Silver certified
Shopping NYC
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MaryRod
Star Contributor

El Centro, CA
USA
542 Posts

Posted - 05/01/2011 :  02:42:24 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Your mystery shops are separate from your regular employment so expenses are also separate somewhat. I would total the trips you took as an IC and include them as expense for public transporttion in the the section for other expenses. I use schedule/form C or Cez.

Money as an employee is separate so are expenses don't mix them together and cheat yourself.

~~ Please consider the environment before printing unnecessary pages.~~
~*~Mary~*~
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