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Mystery Shopping Discussion

EIN & W9-Trendsource
Posts:2
Hello. I've been a mystery shopper for 10+ years, but here in the last 2 years or so, I've only done but a few shops. I've just recently started to get back into it again. I was so shocked that when I went to the site for Trendsource, that they require an EIN & W9 now. What is involved in obtaining this? Is it going to kill me at tax time? Is it worth it to obtain this? Any advice appreciated.
June 07, 2013 04:41PM
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More Discussions About TrendSource

(All Companies)

Posts:8,601
There has been a lot of discussion about EINs and there are differing opinions. We've talked about EINs so much that I hope we can just refer newcomers to existing discussions without having the lengthy EIN discussions again. To read all discussions and opinions, use the search on the top blue line above the forum lists on the main page. Select ALL DATES and search for EINs and for Trendsource. You might also search discussions about Maritz. Maritz announced a couple of years ago that an EIN would be mandatory but they changed their minds when many shoppers balked.


edited: cause I just can't spell!



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/07/2013 07:22PM by AustinMom.
June 07, 2013 04:55PM
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Posts:8,087
Once again, I have an EIN and am happy. This depends on your financial situation, please read older threads on the subject.

Happiness is a perfume you cannot pour on others without getting a few drops on yourself.
June 07, 2013 05:48PM
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Posts:3,103
Dawn, having an EIN or not having an EIN makes no difference on your income tax. You are required to report all income, whether it is reported on a 1099 or not. Money reported on an EIN is treated no differently from money reported on your SSN -- it all ties to your SSN behind the scenes at the IRS.

I use an EIN to reduce chances of identity theft. I've been a victim once and don't intend to become one again.

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I pray it does not occur that the last thing I did before I died was vacuum the house or eat broccoli.
June 07, 2013 09:58PM
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Posts:6
I called my local small business administration for advice. The woman who answered said that the EIN itself wouldn't make a difference, since the money would have to be reported anyway. She also said that any time there is a moneymaking venture, it is a "good idea" to have a business license. I asked her if that applied to being a mystery shopper and independent contractor, and she said yes. So, I'm still on the fence. Maybe I just haven't been as good about paperwork as I should have been, but it seems like so much extra work. I can't see the business license being useful for any other purpose than mystery shopping, so it would seem like paying for the privilege of getting jobs from TrendSource.
June 09, 2013 05:43PM
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Posts:3,103
If you're working out of your home, your city may require you to have a business license. The thing to remember is that if you are required to have a license, and DON'T get one, and you file a schedule C on your income taxes (as opposed to putting your shopping income on there as hobby income), your state might share that information with your town.

I'd do anything your locality requires you to do. You'll sleep better knowing you are "legal" and the penalties for not doing something are usually at least three times the cost of doing them right to begin with.

But if you want to consider your mystery shopping as a hobby, not a business, then you wouldn't need a business license (usually -- check with your town). Your income is still taxable, but your expenses are only deductible on your Schedule A, and only up to the amount of the income (you can't deduct a loss for a hobby).

Talk to your tax preparer about the difference, and if you get a blank look when you ask, "What is the difference between claiming this as a business or as a hobby?" then go find a tax preparer who knows what they're doing.

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I pray it does not occur that the last thing I did before I died was vacuum the house or eat broccoli.
June 09, 2013 07:39PM
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Posts:8,087
I got my business license about a year after starting with "Legal Zoom.com" for $99.00. I an not sorry, I know you don't need one, but it gives me a sense of really having a business and being a serious shopper. I also have cards with my license on it, saying I Evaluate Restaurants, Retail, Hotels....looks impressive.

Happiness is a perfume you cannot pour on others without getting a few drops on yourself.
June 09, 2013 09:07PM
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