Volition.com Forums

Username:
Password:
Save PasswordRegister
Forgot Password / Username?
Home | Search | Chat | FAQ | Posting Rules

 All Forums
 Mystery Shopping, Merchandising & Demo
 Independent Contractor Taxes
 List of expenses / deductions we can claim
 Reply to Topic
 Printer Friendly

Previous Page

Author Previous Topic Topic Next Topic
Page: of 3

.Dawn DE
Inactive

DE
USA
518 Posts

Posted - 04/08/2007 :  09:23:55 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I have some experience with that franchise.Whoever did your taxes was WRONG, WRONG, WRONG. I don't know if they were just inexperienced, lazy, or what, but I would go back NOW and talk to a manager. Perhaps I will give them the benefit of the doubt and say that they were just trying to save you the cost of the Schedule C. It is (for Block customers) a very expensive form. I know many new business owners who have walked out after they have seen the bill.

Did you file this way or walk out? If they filed you this way, they owe you a free amendment and/or a refund. DEMAND IT. Make sure the manager or office coordinator puts you with someone with at least 2-3 seasons experience, and has experience with Schedule C's. If you get nowhere with the manager, find out where the district office is and complain to them. If it is a franchise (privately owned), complain directly to the owner. Threaten them with calling the IRS or Kansas City (that's the home office). They hate that.

Dawn
Go to Top of Page

ChadC
Member

West Des Moines, IA
USA
19 Posts

Posted - 04/09/2007 :  9:27:05 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Cheri, I would agree with Dawn, UNLESS your income from MS was under $400. In that case it would just be 'other income'. But it sounds like you got a 1099, which would most likely indicate you got more than $600 from just one company. If that's the case and you don't file a Schedule C and SE, that would be a red flag to the IRS.
Go to Top of Page

.Dawn DE
Inactive

DE
USA
518 Posts

Posted - 04/10/2007 :  04:43:04 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Even under 400, if you had other income (or your spouse did), you paid too much in taxes. If you did not deduct expenses, you paid tax on money that you shouldn't have. If your expenses were more than your income (ie, you had a loss for the MS business), that can reduce your gross income from other sources.

Dawn
Go to Top of Page

Cheri_P
Member

NC
USA
36 Posts

Posted - 04/10/2007 :  09:48:20 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
My tax guy is a long-time experienced tax preparer (previous to his working with H&R Block) whom I trust. I only made about $380 in fees without reimbursements last year. I did not recieve a 1099 from any of the companies I shop for. I tend to be in a high tax bracket to start with and perhaps he thought it would not make enough of a difference?

Is there a level of income to reach for to be of tax benefit? I am in a VERY rural area with not many opportunities so it might not be worth it. As much as I enjoy mystery shopping, I'm thinking of stopping.

Cheri
Go to Top of Page

ChadC
Member

West Des Moines, IA
USA
19 Posts

Posted - 04/10/2007 :  1:26:23 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
It sounds to me like your tax preparer is handling it just fine. (Although I am not a tax expert.) As Dawn mentions, if you filed a Schedule C, you *COULD* reduce that $380 by your expenses, such as mileage, supplies, and all the things listed elsewhere in this subject. However, the difference it makes in your taxes is probably very small, most likely less than they would charge to file the Schedule C.
Go to Top of Page

.Dawn DE
Inactive

DE
USA
518 Posts

Posted - 04/10/2007 :  2:27:11 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Technically wrong, but for a good reason. I believe, too, that the price of the Schedule C would probably have been more than your tax savings. Even at the 28% marginal tax bracket, you paid $106 on the 380. Even with about $800 in expenses, you would have shown a $400 loss, saving you about $100 taxes on your other income. So, unless you had more than $800 in expenses, the most you paid extra was about $200. The Schedule C would have added at least $100 to the bill. The IRS won't care, since you gave them too much, not too little money. Since you have a relationship with this guy,and he is experienced, I'm glad I gave him the benefit of the doubt. If you continue with MS work, it may get sticky as to when you started your business for tax purposes. Continue to keep good records, if for nothing else than back-up if anything is ever questioned.

Dawn
Go to Top of Page

Nina_H
Contributor

Missouri
USA
57 Posts

Posted - 04/20/2007 :  07:39:23 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I was wondering if any of the MSers who've been doing their taxes for a long time deduct the finance charges on pending reimbursements and payments?

We all know there are some terribly slow paying companies out there who can take 5-6 months to pay. I'm referring to the $50+ dinner shops more than the "under $15" ones....If you've deducted interest, in what expense/area do you add it and how do you reference it?

Also, I haven't seen anyone put down a percentage of electricity usage as a viable expense (which you may because your computer, fax machine and office equipment use it).

Lastly, has anyone been questioned or audited by the IRS for his or her mystery shopping tax return?

Thanks!
Go to Top of Page

SJones
Star Contributor

USA
3121 Posts

Posted - 04/20/2007 :  08:45:51 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Nina, I think if you get down to deducting electricity usage and stuff, you will have to claim a home office and a reliable break-down of how much of your households electricity usage would go towards the business use of the respective equipment. I doubt it's reliable enough to pass an audit unless you have a separate meter/bill just for the home office electricity usage.

For credit card fees/interest. If you have a pure business card that you cannot pay off every month from the earnings you make, then yes, you can deduct them. If you have charged let's say $100 to your business credit card for a shop (and that's the only thing on there) and the company pays you two months later, but you have received $200 in fees from other companies by the time the credit card bill is due, then you will have to use some of that money to pay off the credit card (after other expenses have been paid). It's just a cost of doing business. You can't just leave it on the card until the company decides to pay you. What if you never get paid for that particular shop?

Susanne
MSPA Silver Certified!
Go to Top of Page

Nina_H
Contributor

Missouri
USA
57 Posts

Posted - 04/20/2007 :  10:13:41 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Thanks for the feedback. I was looking at prior taxes where there was rental property and electricity was partially claimed, so I thought to ask about the potential expense.

As for never getting paid for a shop? That's never happened yet; I'm too much of a pain in the butt for anyone to have done that although there's one company I had to "harass" till the owner paid out out his personal Paypal account. You could probably guess the company within a few guesses. BTW, I indeed do have a credit card allocated strictly for businss/MS expenses...something I did not do the first couple years of MSing. That's a great suggestion to all those MSers out there to do.

Go to Top of Page

SJones
Star Contributor

USA
3121 Posts

Posted - 04/20/2007 :  10:55:17 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Nina, I think on rental property you claim the electricity bill you have to pay during the time frame that the rental unit is not occupied, or if the electricity bill is paid by the owner as part of the rental agreement.


Susanne
MSPA Silver Certified!
Go to Top of Page

Nina_H
Contributor

Missouri
USA
57 Posts

Posted - 04/20/2007 :  10:19:07 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
That's correct.
Go to Top of Page

BrianCollins
Valued Contributor

USA
243 Posts

Posted - 07/05/2007 :  01:11:26 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I have ordered some IRS publications, but I am taking notes and learning from your experiences.

What are your thoughts on claiming some of these things?

Example #1:
A pet carrier, where having your pet with you was a specific requirement of some jobs

Example #2:
Gas cans, where you decided on your own (without any suggestion of the MS company) that buying/using this prop would aid you in shopping gas stations more productively

Example #3:
A pre-paid cell phone used exclusively for MS work

Example #4:
A fair percentage of an AAA-style emergency roadside plan, or does this go into the $0.48/mile?

Thanks for your thoughts.
Go to Top of Page

SherryDG
Star Contributor

Chicago Burbs, IL
USA
366 Posts

Posted - 09/04/2007 :  8:05:46 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I'm buying a gas can specifically for MS'ing and I am going to claim it-100%. I don't plan on even carrying it with me unless I am doing a gas shop. Why would it matter if the MSC advised the gas can purchase. I had an MSC that instructed I bring a pen with me on the shop and I do, and I do claim that pen.

If that cell phone is used a 100% for MS'ing, I'd claim a 100%. I'm claiming my cell. I never had one before and I only purchased it for MS'ing. They can hunt me down and question me if they want to. I'm not really a cell phone person and really don't use it for personal use. If they checked the call details would they find non-ms calls?
***now I am reading other threads and the publications that are mentioned and the cell deduction is a problem, I'm getting a headache****

The pet carrier? I guess you'd have to ask yourself if your pet would ever set a paw into it without being on a shop. The answer would be your answer.

About the home office stuff-
Years ago I claimed a home office due to having my own business (I claimed a certain percentage of my home. I used that same percentage with every bill concerning the home). I quit that business a few years back and now work at home for the company I currently work for. I can't claim a home office for working at home due to the fact that my company does have an office for me to work in, I just don't.
If the IRS didn't have that rule every employee with a pencil in the USA could claim they had a "home office" and take the deductions.

Now with the MS'ing, the home office is going to go back into effect
(***or maybe not, the other threads have me very worried about the aggravation that can come from claiming a home office****
I just have to figure out the particulars with the new eBay type "other" business and the ms'ing stuff. All this thinking seriously gives me a headache.

SherryDG
MSPA Silver
Happily shopping the Chicagoland area
Go to Top of Page

JNorthup
Valued Contributor

Toledo, OH
USA
165 Posts

Posted - 09/21/2007 :  08:09:38 AM  Send JNorthup an AOL message  Reply  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by BrianCollins

Example #4:
A fair percentage of an AAA-style emergency roadside plan, or does this go into the $0.48/mile?
BrianCollins, I deduct the full cost of my AAA membership under Miscellanous Expenses. It does not go under the standard mileage deduction because that is strictly for the mileage. You have two choices: the Mileage deduction or the Cost deduction. With the cost deduction, you add up all the costs of Maintaining the vehicle (that does not include the AAA membership). I have used Turbo Tax for the past several years to deduct my expenses. I would type up more details for you, but I m afraid it'd be too long to type! I would check with the IRS publications as well.

Josh
Gold Certified
Go to Top of Page

KariK
Contributor

Minneapolis, MN
USA
86 Posts

Posted - 03/20/2013 :  1:09:00 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by MikeSLU

When I do restuarant shops --- on the Schedule C, what category do you put in the cost of meals and tips as an expense? Supplies possibly? Inquiring minds want to know......



I don't see that anyone has replied to this and it's something I'm wondering about. I got a 1099 and it's only for restaurants. Do I claim the $650 as income and $780 as expense ($130 is for tips)?
Thanks!
Go to Top of Page
Page: of 3 Previous Topic Topic Next Topic  
Previous Page
 Reply to Topic
 Printer Friendly
Jump To:
Volition Copyright All rights reserved. Volition is a registered trademark of Volition.com LLC. Go To Top Of Page
This page was generated in 0.19 seconds. Software © Snitz Forums