Mystery Shopping Taxes

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Discussions About Mystery Shopping Taxes

Reimbursement of expenses

I would like to know if you accept a shop and they say they will pay you $100.00 for doing the shop and up to $1,000.00 for expenses. Do companies always reimburse for the expenses even if they do not want to pay you for the shop? I... Continue Reading

Route out of the area...expenses?

If I do a route of 25 or so auto dealer shops, in another major city 300 miles away, and there are not many shoppers who can do these in the language they want it done....shouldn't there be some kind of extra incentive? The jobs pay $50 each. Or is... Continue Reading

Deductions : If a MSC is paid in full shouldn't the shopper as well?

We all can and will make mistakes. Aside from a report being rejected, I do not understand how a MSC can deduct from fees and even reimbursement if the client accepts and pays in full for a report. As a contractor, do shoppers deserve full disclosure any time... Continue Reading

note to self: check for street fairs before scheduling

trying to get to a location in an unfamiliar area...and run into a street fair...doesn't help calling to see if they are open.....sure they are open....but they don't say you have to park a half mile away and walk in...with a thunderstorm rolling into the area!... Continue Reading

IRS data hacked; beware of callers who seem to know about your return contents

Yesterday the IRS announced that thieves who had gained info from other sources about passwords and security questions used that to access the tax returns (current and past) of over 100,000 tax payers by getting into the service site that provides transcripts of own tax returns (needed when you apply... Continue Reading

Trendsource's EIN Requirement

I wanted to add Trendsource to the list of companies for which I shop. I went on their site to register and see that they require their shoppers to get an EIN. I don't meet any criteria for which the IRS would require that I obtain... Continue Reading

Exact Mileage or Total Mileage

I'm just curious - is it necessary to have the exact mileage numbers (for example: I began at 29,834 and ended at 29,844), rather than just logging that I drove 10 miles to that particular shop? I wasn't sure if for some reason in the future that would I need... Continue Reading

How long does it take for your SSN to be verified in most Sassie systems?

Just curious... Continue Reading

Return Home Mileage Deduction - Definite Yes, No or Gray Area?

I am dutifully tracking my mileage to a shop and from one shop to the next shop. I have been under the impression that the return home mileage is not deductible UNLESS I happen to make a business related stop on the way home such as picking up office... Continue Reading

How do you handle taxes?

Do you pay at the end of the year when taxes are due? Do you pay quarterly? What are the benefits of each? Not sure how I'm going to do this. I cannot file the long form. I'm single no kids, no write offs.... Continue Reading

Got two 1099's from the same company?

Has anyone ever gotten two 1099s from the same company? (Yes, they are the same year. No, one is not marked "corrected")... Continue Reading

Deducting reimbursed expenses

Just wanted someone to clarify the terminology everyone uses as it relates to tax preparation (doing them right now grrrr). Reimbursed "expenses" (cash out of pocket to perform shops) are not truly "expenses" as this income should not be reported. When you work for an employer and they reimburse your out of... Continue Reading

Timing of Expenses for Tax Purposes

So I'm working on my taxes and I'm wondering about something. Nearly all of the income that I generated in December and some of November's wasn't paid until 2015 and I get that I will claim that income when I file next year. What I'm wondering is how to... Continue Reading

Finally doing taxes. Should I use Schedule C-EZ if I can?

Looks like I easily meet the requirements to use Schedule C-EZ for 2014. Any reason not to do so? Thanks for any advice.... Continue Reading

Harland Clarke mileage?

So Ive been shopping with Harland Clarke for a few months. I really like them but in the past 2 days, I've received two shop request emails with no mileage included. I've never seen their shops not offered with mileage and I'm wondering if anyone else is experiencing the same... Continue Reading

IRS and mileage deduction

I heard today that you cannot claim mileage from your house to a shop. You can only claim mileage from one shop to another. For example, I drove to *** and it was 12 miles to my first shop. Then, I went to three other shops in the same town... Continue Reading

In addition to shopping, what do you do for income?

Some here probably have regular jobs and shop on the side, but what about those piecing together income bit by bit? I'm looking for other ways to make some dough on short-term assignments without a set schedule.... Continue Reading

Has any mystery shopper ever been audited by the IRS?

I am keeping good records, and I don't anticipate any problems, but I was curious if anyone has been audited by the IRS (only as mystery shoppers, not other professions). I did a quick search on IRS audits through the forum and did not see any other threads indicating... Continue Reading

Intellishop-2 point deduction because they had to contact me.

I did a shop for Intellishop and submitted the report. I have done several of these shops over the past seven years. I get an e-mail with the following comment: A significant amount more detail is needed in all of your narratives. Each of these narratives should read... Continue Reading

Taxes and Supplying Backup

Do you provide a worksheet depicting your fees, reimbursements, expenditures and expenses to the IRS along with your return? I have never but was wondering if I should attach my spreadsheet this year.... Continue Reading

recording mileage

I am visiting family who is about 150 miles away from me, and while i'm visiting them i took a really simple gas station shop. I have been recording mileage, but should I record the mileage from my house to the gas station? or should I record the mileage from... Continue Reading


Hi all, Have been wondering about what I should call myself. I want to do my taxes using H&R, and they will probably ask what my occupation/profession is. I cannot say that I am a mystery shopper?! Anybuddy has any idea.... Continue Reading

QAMS and the misguided 1099

Hello shoppers. Perhaps someone can help me. I did a search on the forum for this topic but didn't find anything. I nevr have luck with that. Also, I know QAMS sent out emails on this subject but I can't find mine. Anyway, they sent out a 1099 for amounts way... Continue Reading

I just got an email from Stericycle that they are sending out corrected 1099 that remove the reimbursement amount from their initial 1099.

-- moved topic -- ... Continue Reading

MSI Services - EIN vs. SSN

Does anyone know why MSI wants an EIN instead of a SSN for their shoppers? Do other companies require EIN's? This is the first time I've encountered this.... Continue Reading

Casual dining,taxes and schedule C

I'm doing my taxes as self employed. I already have a schedule C worksheet for Form 1040 for my sales on eBay. I need to report more income, I have 2 children. I worked for 5 mystery shop companies. None of them sent me a tax form because I didn't... Continue Reading

IRS FreeWebinar: Independent Contractor or Employee

Hi all My husband is a CPA and I do data entry for him. As a CPA, he needs to complete continuing education every year, and he likes me to do it with him as a learning experience for me. We just signed up for one that might be... Continue Reading

Schedule C and Unreimbursed Expenses and Questions That Arise

Regarding un-reimbursed expenses for Schedule C: If you are paid a fee only and the restaurant meal, taxes and tip exceed the fee received, do you claim all the dollar amount exceeding the fee as an expense of the shop? Or, in another version of the same scenario,... Continue Reading

2014 1099'

Have you... Continue Reading

1099's and Paypal I was vaguely aware of this for the last couple of years but never translated it into what it meant for us here until I had a tax client who pays all of her subcontractors through Paypal and asked me to 1099 them and I realized we didn't have to. If... Continue Reading

Federal Income Taxes

I just had my 2014 taxes done and declared that I did mystery shopping as an Independent Contractor and lo and behold I was surprised that I had to paya federal Self Employment tax on that income. Is there anyway to do your federal taxes without having to pay that... Continue Reading

1099 from Customer Perspectives

I received the 1099 with the incorrect address for Customer Perspectives. I received an answer from them. I was told to change the N.Y. to N.H. they are located in Hooksett, N.H. Not N.Y.... Continue Reading

MF 1099 Form

Has anyone received their 1099 form from MForce? I'm more than ready to file my taxes but they are the only hold up, and to make it more interesting I stopped shopping for them in August of 2014 so I hope I don't have any problems receiving it. Thanks!... Continue Reading

Customer Perspectives 1099 FYI

Just an FYI (not sure how much it matters), Customer Perspectives has Hooksett, NY listed as their address. It is Hooksett, NH (I pass the office almost daily). I will either call or stop in on Tuesday to let them know. I seriously doubt anyone will be in the office... Continue Reading


Has anyone received any tax forms from the mystery companies that they work with? I have few companies with which I have made the amount for which they specified a tax form will be mailed. Should I want or file my taxes? Most of the shops I have done are... Continue Reading

Within a certain mileage requirement

This is getting on my last nerve. Shops requiring that I live within a specific mile range. I'm on the cusp of being within 20 miles of anything. I certainly do not live within the 20 miles that companies want. Even if they take my zip... Continue Reading


Well it's here again. That wonderful time of the year where the great and powerful Tax Man comenth. So just what all do you claim? You know those great items that you get to count off on your taxes. That new printer you got? How about that new cell phone? For... Continue Reading

Health Insurance & Taxes

@Dspeakes wrote an article all about what you need to know in terms of health insurance and taxes this year. It's useful info! Discuss it here.... Continue Reading

1099 and expense reimbursement

Hi all, I just got form 1099- MISC from Reality Check. They included my parking expense reimbursement as part of income which made me go over the $599 maximum in income and generated the 1099 form. This seems crazy to me, as I should not have to pay taxes on... Continue Reading

A few words about taxes -- don't ask, we won't tell

I am a tax preparer of 18 years experience and a degree in accounting with an emphasis in taxation. I have 140 clients. So I have a lot of experience and education on this topic -- and I will not presume to give you tax advice here. Nobody else... Continue Reading


Hi I'm new to mystery shopping and everything sounds great & rewarding so far but the only thing I'm having trouble with is giving my SSN out and worrying about the w9 tax forms. I was wondering if any of you all got an EIN for mystery shopping? I'm... Continue Reading


Hi I'm new to this industry completely and had a (probably dumb) question. Some companies ask you to fill out your w9 form. I am not sure if I will be accepting any shops from said companies. DO I really need to fill this out? I'm... Continue Reading

IRS Free File

The IRS has a new option called FreeFile. Like the name suggests it is a free service. It uses 'partner's websites' and is available on January 20th, 2015. The IRS says more than 70% of people can use it. You may access it from the IRS... Continue Reading

2015 Mileage rate change

I looked but did not see anything, for those that manually track your mileage, the 2015 rate is now $.575 so you just got a "raise" LOL.... Continue Reading

tracking mileage

if you do several shops in a day, going from one directly to the next; can you just track your beginning and ending mileage or do you track mileage between each shop?... Continue Reading

1099's and reimbursement (mostly)

I tried searching and could not find this topic. I only shop for my favorite companies nowadays and I received a notice from Goodwin that they need my info for a 1099. Do I still claim all of the money they reimbursed me for even if it was not really... Continue Reading

Maritz & 1099

Has anyone gotten their 1099 yet ? Thanks... Continue Reading

2014 tax deductions to make before the year's out

This video segment was on The Today Show this morning. I was just too busy to post in the forum until now. Do what you will with it. (VIDEO)... Continue Reading

IRS Mileage Rate in 2015

The IRS mileage rate in 2015 is increasing from 56.0 cents to 57.5 cents per mile.;-Business-Rate-to-Rise-in-2015 In my opinion, it may drop later in the year if gas prices stay low. It changed twice in a year as recently as 2011.... Continue Reading

Questions on taxes

This is my first year mystery shopping. My question is when filing, what does the government see as earnings? Since we receive money for a job as well as payment for, lets say a meal at the restaurant we are evaluating, will we be taxed for the entire payment or... Continue Reading

IRS documentation

Please share the format you utilize to record mystery-shop activity from start-to IRS. Do you record the initial date to include location and time? The income? The expenses incurred? The mileage, round-trip? The reimbursement? My format could use a new year's resolution! Please share your successes. Thanks... Continue Reading

Clarification needed on taxes

As the end of the year approaches, I have been researching all of the threads on the forum (as well as the IRS website) regarding taxes. I understand tracking income and reasonable business deductions with the goal to show under a $400 profit to avoid paying self employment tax. My... Continue Reading

Giving SSN to Client

I just saw that for some of the Bank shops for Maritz, they are asking for permission to give my SSN to the bank to see if I qualify to be able to the shop. They are also asking for release of any liability on Maritz's part for anything... Continue Reading

cell phone and taxes

How many of you write off your cell phone or a portion of your cell phone use for mystery shopping on your taxes? Is there a formula to follow? thanks... Continue Reading

taxes and mileage

Hi all. I am trying to figure things out. For tax purposes- I basically take my pay/fee + reimbursed money then subtract my expenses (Like if I had to purchase a meal or pizza for the required shop?) Can I also include paper and ink for my printer since I... Continue Reading

1099 questions, please

One of the MSC reimburses for the product purchased during the shop. Not all of their shops require purchases. I know they won't send you a 1099 unless you make over $600. Does the 1099 break down whether it is a fee or reimbursement? Or are reimbursements included in the total amount? I... Continue Reading

Reduce Transportation Expenses City Bus!

I was reading the threads on the net money and was surprised on the gas expense of shoppers. So I'll share how I keep mine down. I am performing shops for two days on one bus line. I pay $20 for a 7 day pass. Wednesday I was fortunate: I did... Continue Reading

Cell phone apps - Income as MS income for taxes or seperate?

I know it's a bit early for tax time. However, I started getting into the cellphone apps like Gigwalk, Rewardable and others and am wondering how mystery shoppers treat that income and expenses for taxes purposes. Do you combine it with your mystery shopping Scheduler C? It... Continue Reading

Mystery Shopper without a SSN

One of my former college coworkers is back in the states working on her Master's. She mystery shopped a bit this fall for companies that did not require a SNN to get paid unless you made more than the $600. She made sure she fell under that amount for this... Continue Reading

social security number?

Hi All- I am considering becoming a mystery shopper and one of the questions in the form was to include my SS number.... I am concerned about doing this because of scams and potential identity theft, especially after I filled out a myriad of other personal information on the same page.... Continue Reading

MSI requiring EIN?

MSI says you HAVE to have an EIN to get paid. Anyone shop with MSI and just use a SS#? I know they say it is easy to get a EIN...just curious if I really HAVE to? Do other companies have this requirement? TIA... Continue Reading

Need some info on claiming expenses.

I just started mystery shopping this week and I'm loving it. Its the perfect second job. But I have a few questions about claiming expenses. First and most important: Mileage. I read online that the reimbursement rate is .568cents/mile. Now when I factor in my mileage am I counting all... Continue Reading

Trendsource reimbursement and taxes

I'm pretty sure I read somewhere that Trendsource lumps your reimbursements with shopper fees at the end of the tax year. Is that correct? If so, how do you handle it on your taxes? Thanks!... Continue Reading

Giving SSN is one thing, but my State ID online, not comfortable.

Giving SSN is one thing, but not sure about putting my State photo ID online. I have an EIN, but unless I'm driving a vehicle, it should not be a requirement (besides, I would show that ID to the Auto Sales shop for my test drive not to the MSC,... Continue Reading

Looking for Mystery shopper companies to do bussniss with

Hi: my name is shelly saxton I am a realtor looking to do Bussniss with mystery shoppers companies Please call me or email me at Thanks Shelly's... Continue Reading

Social Security Number

I do a lot of shops with sassie companies. For some reason, my social security number does not always work...but this is only with sassie companies...and sometimes it does work. I have tried contacting the individual companies but they have been NO help at all. They make me feel stupid... Continue Reading

How much do you end up paying in taxes?

Not a specific dollar amount, but when all is said and done, what percent of your earnings to you actually end up paying taxes on after expenses? I was looking at my mileage tracker and since I live in a rural area, there are a lot of miles on... Continue Reading

Keeping Track of Mileage

So when tallying all my miles for my shop do I calculate to and from or just to? If I do one shop in a day that is ten miles from my house and I go straight home after the shop, should I record as 10 or 20 miles?... Continue Reading

Income taxes

I've done 3 whole shops and am currently scheduled for 2 more this week. They are all from different companies, which got me thinking, ... ... Will I be sent income statements from EVERY SINGLE COMPANY? OR, Am I responsible for keeping track of my aggregate income? OR, Do the companies send out income statements... Continue Reading


I was notified by my daughter who just received an attempted SCAM from the IRS. Our CPA notified all of his customers to warn all of us about this. She reported it to the police. Our CPA told us that he received several calls from his customers... Continue Reading

What "fun" stuff does mystery shopping income fund for you?

Not to be nosy, just wondering what fun stuff others use mystery shopping to pay for? My full-time job pays my bills, so I use mystery shopping for "extras." I recently bought a 60" flat screen TV and the furniture it sits on with MS money. Mystery... Continue Reading

EIN vs SSN and Tax Returns

Hi All - I have one MSC that I regularly shop for. They are one of my favorites. But they will not accept an EIN. I have recently done my first shop for TS. Although their sign up procedure says you just don't get to self-assign without an EIN, their inital quiz... Continue Reading

Applying for an EIN as an LLC

Hello, Has anyone heard of applying for an EIN as an LLC instead of a sole proprietor? Just curious. Thanks, Dan... Continue Reading

What is income?

Can anyone tell me, are (reimbursed) meals and items you buy considered income for tax purposes? Also, I do a lot of product testing (for example, I would receive Dr. Scholl's orthotics in the mail to try and have to report on what I thought of them. I get to... Continue Reading

How do I get an EIN, etc?

Well, I just saw on another thread a member suggest that another member get an EIN and not use their SSN. Can someone please give me the benefits of this and how to go about it? I am rather new and have given my SSN to date.... Continue Reading

Here's a reason I love mystery shopping as an income stream.....

I was just released from 13 days of hospitalization last Saturday and right now I am recooping from some pretty intense surgery. I need to have my life kind of free of details at the moment to heal and since I am an IC as a mystery shopper -... Continue Reading

I Know Your SSN

I printed off the paperwork for a merchandising assignment several days ago. It was for checking a line of products before Mother's Day. There were a few pages included that confused me but I decided to keep them with the others. Later, I realized that they were... Continue Reading


My reimbursement for mileage is more than my compensation from the shops (not including reimburesment for expenses). Will I still owe taxes? Do I need to seperate my shops from my husbands he only did a few?... Continue Reading

Health Insurance Deduction

FYI...I just learned through cannot deduct your health insurance premiums if you're eligable for health insurance through your spouse's employer. This counts me out.... Continue Reading

Proof of Income

Hi All-Is it OK to use invoices as poof of income?... Continue Reading

What Do You Use To File Your Taxes?

I'm interested in finding out what is used to file taxes and inputting IC data. I've been using TurboTax in the past and kind of hoped that it would be good for IC taxes. I do the taxes myself for our family and my husband works from home also. ... Continue Reading

is the full odometer reading legally required for irs tax purposes?

are full odometer readings necessary when recording mileage for business purposes? (for example: 54607 starting and 54637 ending). a friend of mine told me that he doesn't record the exact odometer reading, but that he only records how many miles that he drove that day (for example: 50 miles). but he... Continue Reading


I do not understand taxes for Mystery Shopping and I need HELP, please! Wages and expenses are broken out for most companies I work for, but some are not. I worked for several different companies in 2013. I am not too concerned about mileage because I used... Continue Reading

Taxes for Mystery Shopping

After receiving what I needed from the msc's and filing last week, I got my refund this morning. That was fast! :) They had no problem with my expenses. I'm a small fry in their books I guess. :)... Continue Reading

Trendsource EIN?

It doesn't seem to make a lot of sense to me that Trendsource seems to REQUIRE an EIN in order to shop for them. Am I missing something?? I'm one guy, not an employer or employee. Why would I want an EIN??... Continue Reading

Filing taxes separately or jointly

Just curious how do those of you who are married file taxes? Separately or jointly? My spouse is working full time and I did not make much MSing, yet he can no longer claim me as his dependent. Not sure what to do. Any advice?... Continue Reading

Taxes - Help!

My situation is slightly different than most when it comes to taxes. I already work from home for my current job, and drive a company car and have a home office. Clearly, I cannot double dip. I'm trying to fill out my Schedule C and I feel like I'm over-complicating it.... Continue Reading


Hi, I am a relatively new mystery shopper and I do not completely understand how we are supposed to report taxes. I mean, I understand that if you earn more than $ 600 with company X, it will send you a form to pay taxes. I also heard that if... Continue Reading

taxes (CANADIAN)

Ok so tax season has arrived in Canada (booooo!) I haven't done THAT many mystery shops. through all of the mystery shopping companies im with I have maybe reached the $200 mark (& that includes the reimbursments) So my question is ( I suck at math & just dump my... Continue Reading

Ardent 1099 Frustration

I love working for Ardent. They pay the following month. Although their reports are long, they're pretty easy to do, and the pay is relatively high. However, they always send 1099s which include the costs of the meals we are required to buy. We can only write off 50% of... Continue Reading

Mileage Tracking/Accounting...still scratching my head...Need help please :-)

First, thank you all for the wonderful tips and strategies posted on this forum! They are precious nuggets that have helped me become more organized and able to track income and expenses for tax purposes. I am sincerely grateful :-) That being said, I am still struggling with... Continue Reading

Groceries and taxes?

How are you guys counting groceries on your taxes? I'm not sure how to do it. For example, multiple grocery shops I do have a flat fee, no reimbursement, but a required purchase. Can I count the entire thing as an expense (up to the fee) or just the cheapest... Continue Reading

Time to file taxes

With some changes from different companies, I am worried that I will under-report my earnings. As I understand it, we only file for income of $600 or more from any given company. Yet, some companies, i.e. Tallgrass (Sunflower) is taking taxes out of my earnings every job. They did not send... Continue Reading

Giving Social Security # to Market Force?

I was looking to sign up at the website MarketForce, during the application it required a SS# should I give it or is this a scam?... Continue Reading

1099 Question

Does anyone know if the 1099 $600 threshold covers amounts earned in a given year or is it for amounts actually paid? I performed shops in 2013 where commissions exceeded $600, but the payments I received in 2013 were less than $600. The rest of the payments... Continue Reading

Taxes reimbursement

Just a quickie. Is reimbursement still considered your income when filling taxes? Or just commission? Do I need to report both? Thanks!... Continue Reading

Will having an EIN change tax prep?

I signed up for a MSC that requires an EIN and registered online to get my number. I have already done a couple jobs for them. Now I have seen a few posts from people that prefer not to have a EIN. Does having one change how... Continue Reading

The 1099's are coming! The 1099's are coming!

I know that we shouldn't need them if we've been keeping meticulous track of payments, but that 1099 lends assurance to the accuracy of my figures, lets me know that what they're reporting to the gov't is also what I'm reporting, and if there's a difference it affords a final... Continue Reading

Using a fake Social Security number?

There's a shop that says you will use a 'provided' social security number. That seemed fine, until I realized that I'll have to use my real name. So, is that going to create anything weird in my records, since my name will now be floating around with two social security... Continue Reading

1099 for $15??

I did one assignment for this company and chose not to work for them anymore. I made $15 and just received a 1099 for it!? I definitely wasn't expecting that, since it's way below $600.... Continue Reading

Business Cards, Income Tax Codes, and More

Hi, Obviously, this is my first go around at tax time. So, what are the various tax codes that you use? 2) Do you have a title? Obviously I am not a housewife. 3) Do you have business cards? The MSPA site, I think, said that they recommended business cards. So, do... Continue Reading

Income Tax Shop

Someone stated that the Income Tax Shop is known by the tax preparer? I thought it said something else when I read it and passed it over? How is that known? Is the company being shopped at the time also? Why is that considered a hit on the persons... Continue Reading

1099 Issued Because Of Expenses Reimbursements!

I relied on the advice given on the "Taxes and Mystery Shopping" thread by Flash that said only shop fees, and not reimbursements, were taxable. Because of this I got a 1099 from a MS company because $70 of expenses put my income $18 over the $599 limit. I did... Continue Reading

Taxes and home office

Did everyone see that the tax option is available this year that you can claim a flat $5 a square foot for a home office, up to 300 square feet. That simplifies things, and you can take the simple deductions one year and the regular deduction a different year... Continue Reading

1099 Change for 2013

You are receiving this message because you were an active shopper in 2013. We are reaching out to you to inform you of 1099 requirements based on the changes to the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) Section 6050W. I received the message below from one of the MSCs I work with and... Continue Reading

1099's, PayPal and the IRS

I was on a MSC website today and they had a link about a new 1099 IRS rule concerning PayPal. I clicked on the link, went to PayPal were they had the information. So, you can sign in and put 1099 in the search area of PayPal and get the... Continue Reading

Denied Shop Report and Taxes

This situation hasn't arisen yet, but I thought I would ask just in case. If a shop report is denied and I am not granted payment, can I claim the cost of that shop (travel and expenses) on my taxes as a business expense?... Continue Reading

Weird question about keeping track of expenses

I know I should keep track of all expenses incurred while shopping, but should I keep track of gambling expenses while doing casino shops?... Continue Reading

Here's a twist on writing off mileage.....

I'm wondering, as I have started taking the bus to shops - I have cut the distance in which I am willing to travel to shops a bit as I have other projects going too now - and I buy a monthly bus pass to get to shops which in... Continue Reading

Question about mileage

I am really trying to 1-do more mystery shops this year and 2-stay organized as I do it! I currently do home services as my full time job. I provide services in several towns around me. If I do a shop between 2 of my sessions for my full time... Continue Reading

Mileage logs: How detailed to they have to be? Specifically for IRS purposes?

Mileage logs: How detailed do they have to be? Specifically for IRS purposes? For example: If I make 10-20 stops on a route (let's say about 50-100 miles of driving), can I log the mileage at just the first and last stops, or am I required to log the mileage at... Continue Reading

Shopper Income vs "Normal" Income

The $50k thread had me thinking today while I was driving. In relation to $$ left over after taxes and expenses and quality of life, how do you think Shopping income stacks up against "normal" income? I'm mostly talking about people who shop full time compared to someone... Continue Reading

Does anyone here actually have an income over $50,000?

Got a shop offer and that was a requirement...odd.... Continue Reading

How to determine mileage when riding subway

So, I'm keeping track of my mileage for shops. However, I am planning to take the subway system for some of the shops near me. How do I account for my mileage in this case? Is it just keeping track of the miles covered, like I would if I were... Continue Reading

taxes and health insurance

I read this on the taxes link above: Of course the reason that I shop, if you pay your own health insurance, it can be deducted against your business to the extent that your business is profitable. Thus, if my health insurance costs me $3100 per year, the first $3100 of... Continue Reading

New IRS "simple" method for deducting a home office

According to the current issue of the Costco Connection (their member magazine), the IRS has a new way to do an at home office deduction that does not incur depreciation when you sell your home. I am not sure if non members can access the magazine online through Continue Reading

profit and taxes

Hello, I have read through the tax information in the new shopper area. It makes sense, and I understand the schedule C that has to be filled out. I have income (what I was paid, not including reimbursements), deductions (for me, seems just straight mileage, and perhaps a copy... Continue Reading

Opinion on mileage/hourly drivetime changes

I received an email last night from a company that is about to become a former company I worked for. They have cut the drive time wage by 30%, and now only pay between stores. Effective immediately. The current assignment I am about to send back was only accepted because... Continue Reading


Oh dear, I was hoping that if I just ignored taxes they would just go away. But I started to read the forum on taxes. From the sticky from flash: There are shops to be done at Costco that require a Costco membership. When my membership is up for renewal, I... Continue Reading

Giving social security number online

Hello, I have been asked by several companies to give my social security number online. I hesitate because it is online and I do not know the company. Is this legitimate? Have any of you done this? There is a post saying Sassie cannot register you anymore if you don't give... Continue Reading

Employer Identification Number

One of the companies wants shoppers that do the Medicare shops to have an EIN. Should I just skip the shops with this company? Not sure how much work is involved but I'm doing this to make a little money and not a full time or even part... Continue Reading

Does Anyone Know What's Up With The IRS?

I received an e-mail regarding an industry teleconference. I probably won't be able to attend since I have a fine dining shop during the same time period. Three topics of conversation are listed below. Does anyone have any insight as to what is going on with the... Continue Reading

deactivation/social security

Today I was trying to get a copy of my credit report and I was thinking about it and I realized that my social security number is plastered at 40 different mystery shopping company websites. I am thinking of bailing on mystery shopping because of various reasons. (Mainly b/c I... Continue Reading

Leasing a vehicle for better tax deductions?

I read an article that said if you are self employed there is an advantage to leasing over buying a vehicle because more is deductible on schedule C. Would any of you care to weigh in on this statement?... Continue Reading

mileage questions

Ok, I have a question for you more experience shoppers. When tracking mileage, do you just track out of town or all, even if you only live a couple miles from where your assignment is. hmross... Continue Reading

Extra Income, not Registered Business

I don't see this topic addressed anywhere: I don't want to register a "business" for mystery shopping because that would mean paying scads of local and state fees. I just want to report my 1099 as extra income. Can I still claim my travel and office supplies as... Continue Reading


Thanks to this forum, I no longer get invested in the ratings I receive as long as my overall average enables me to continue to self-assign. Also, from information gleaned here, I feel pretty comfortable understanding that rejected shops, generally, result from not following the specific guidelines. If you're not at... Continue Reading

They are offering a hotel shops...$600 expenses, shopper pay $0???? Really?

That means that I have to put up to $600, wait to get reimbursed, take the risk that my shop could be rejected and I would be in the hole for the expenses...and I don't make any money on top of that? Do some Mystery Shopping companies really think people... Continue Reading

Deductions for "Grammar & Spelling"

I recently posted in a lively discussion about scores from the editors at Intelli-shop. In that discussion I admitted that I always get scores of 8 with deductions for grammar. I used to get the same score for deductions of grammar & spelling. Then I downloaded a... Continue Reading

Reimbursable Expenses = Income or Not

Do I have to count reimbursable expenses as income on my taxes?... Continue Reading

Why do companies need EIN?

I have a SSN. I thought just having that would be okay. I am being asked to apply for an EIN. I don't know what that is. I've only lived in Ameria for a few years and have never worked. I am retired. (except for mystery shopping)... Continue Reading

Setting aside money for taxes

Hello, I am very new to this. I understand that there is a certain of taxes taken for like medicare, state, social security, and whatever else. Would it be helpful to set aside some of the money that is made from each assignment instead of spending it all at... Continue Reading

Mileage/Tax question

Wondering if any veteran shoppers can help me with this one? We are at the beach on vacation about 200 miles from home. Of course, I couldn't help myself and picked up a handful of shops while here that will help offset the cost of the trip :) So the question is... Continue Reading

So do we HAVE to have an EIN for Trendsource?

Is it a requirement or simply encouraged? I used to do their grocery stores years ago until they started requiring the EIN. I thought I had read somewhere on the forum that it's not required. I signed up for a shop for this Thursday. If I... Continue Reading

SSN 2013

-- moved topic -- ... Continue Reading

Validating SSN - CORI

I signed up with CORI a few days ago (Monday, I think) and was accepted as a shopper/auditor, but it says that I cannot complete or sign up for any shops until they've validated my SSN... Does anyone have an idea of how long this usually takes? I'm anxious to... Continue Reading


I am trying to figure my taxes out. Fore example, if I am being reimbursed up to 4.75 for alcohol compliance shop and I buy a bottle of alchohol that is over 4.75 can I claim the full amount. Of course, there was alchohol that was under 4.75.... Continue Reading

Unsure how to express this in an nonoffensive way so please forgive my gracelessness.

This is sort of off topic and I'm not sure where to post this kind of (potentially insensitive) question. So yea...I hope my wording doesn't come across as disrespectful. Apparently, the shop I conducted was in an area where I stood out (which I didn't know before I visited the area). It... Continue Reading

Ball Park Figure for MS Income

I realize this is a tough question but can you give a ballpark idea of reasonable income expectation based on, lets say, 30 - 40 hrs/wk worked in a metropolitan area (Detroit) after two or so months of experience? Thanks... Continue Reading


Does anyone know what taxes are based on. The total of the shop (including the cost of the food) or just the fee paid by the shop to do the shopping??????... Continue Reading

grocery store shops and taxes

I started shopping in 2012 and am now JUST I am sloghing (sp) through my 2012 taxes. I shop several different grocery chains for as many different mscs. They all pay differnetly. #1 msc - grocery store requires a small nonreimbursed purchase and pays with a whooping $60.00 gift... Continue Reading

Social Security Hell (Wish they would consider mystery shoppers!)

This is my month of experiencing government hell firsthand as a citizen of the United States. Bad enough I already have had to endure the Georgia Department of Motor Vehicles and the Rabun County Tag Office but these past three days I have spent a total of 5 ... Continue Reading

Canadian taxes

Hi, I have looked though the forum and have found tons of info on US taxes, but almost none for Canada. Anyone have any info on Canadian taxes. Do you have to worry about companies where your fees (minus reimbursement) do not exceed $600? Do you have to keep... Continue Reading

1099 Misc. Form

I filed my taxes last month but got a letter from the IRS I needed to submit W2 and 1099 misc. forms. I noted the IRS does not allow 1099 form to be printed for some reason? I also noted I am required to submit the tax #... Continue Reading

Reimbursements only and taxes...

IF you do a reimbursement shop only (ex-caliber grocery stores) you have to claim that $14 as income?... Continue Reading

Background Check, EIN & W-9 Requirement?

Would anyone care to give opinions, feedback, on the idea of companies requiring shoppers to obtain an EIN from the IRS, and to pay for Background Checks? I've been performing shops for approx. 20 clients, for years, and I've not quite decided if I want to sign up with new companies... Continue Reading

Can I use this as a Tax Deduction ?

We have all discussed mileage and keeping logs of our shops. If I leave town because of a shop and need to leave my four legged baby with a sitter or kennel can I write that off as an expense? No, laughing at me.... Continue Reading

Mileage Nightmare

I will try to explain this as easy as I can. I have been working on my taxes this weekend. I work a full-time job that as of June 1, 2012 cancelled usage of the company fleet card for gas. I work out in the field on... Continue Reading

Mileage / Tax question

I work a 9 to 5 job Monday through Friday (i.e. main job). If I am picking up a shop after work, do I claim miles from my main job to the shop site? Also, If I am doing a 'route' on Saturday/Sunday do I have to exclude my mileage to the... Continue Reading

Just Finished My Taxes For 2012

Mileage: same Overall expenses: same Pay: down by 25% due to lowered shopper fees According to my calculations, this will place my business to the minus for that year for the first time since 2009. Anyone else experiencing this?... Continue Reading

Taxes (Canada) Reimbursements as Income?

Hello Looking for fellow Canadians or others that can guide me. My first full year of Mystery Shopping and learning a lot about receipts I should have kept. Anyway, is it better to claim reimbursements as income then the shop as an expense? Or Not to claim the reimbursement. I got... Continue Reading

Microsoft Streets & Trips Understates Mileage

I just got home from an overnight shopping route. I used Streets & Trips to plan the route and it calculated 379.7 miles. I reset the trip odometer when I left home and the actual mileage was 458.9. Granted there was a dinner shop and the hotel which I did... Continue Reading

asking for mileage costs

I've been doing Mystery Shopping for a little while now, but this is the first instance I've come across where I might have the opportunity to ask for additional reimbursement - I've been asked to do a series of shops that's not exactly in my "neck of the woods."... Continue Reading

Social Security Number

I am just starting to apply for Mystery Shopping companies. I'm still somewhat apprehensive of the validity of the sites not knowing which ones may be scams. Some are asking for my social security number upfront during the application. That makes me nervous. What are your... Continue Reading

Unjust report point deductions

I have been shopping for about a year now and I take pride in earning 10's on reports. Well yesterday I got an e-mail saying I did not include the year of the car I drove to the dealership for my auto shop I did a week ago. ... Continue Reading

Does anyone still shop Trendsouce without the EIN?

I'm just wandering. After they got rid of my grocery spot, I don't take the shops. I didn't get the EIN either.... Continue Reading

Did any one get a 1099 from Shoppers' Critique

Did anyone get a 1099 form from Shoppers' Critique? I was told I should get it from PayPal but I do not think that is a true statement. I made more than $600.00 and I thought they should be sending me one. Thanks... Continue Reading

Do I Need to Report My Income?

Hey all! I'm (very) new here. I signed up for ACL and am looking forward to doing some mystery shopping. I am NOT looking to do it full time. Perhaps a couple a month. I have an income under $20,000 a year and am a college student. So, my question... Continue Reading

Heads-Up on 1099s from Ritter Associates

In an email today: "You are being notified today that FORM 1099-MISC distributed to you by RitterAssociates that you have received, or will receive, is incorrect. A revised FORM 1099-MISC is being prepared and will be distributed via postal mail as soon as possible. The revised FORM 1099-MISC... Continue Reading

Question about the 1099

I have a question about the 1099. Does the $600.00 that initiates the form include the reimbursement amounts in that total? Thanks, Renee East Hartford, CT... Continue Reading

TAXES - is this a large net loss?

ok, 2011 was my first year mystery shopping and it was only part of the year. i filed a schedule c and ended up with a small net profit (under $400). but, for 2012, it is looking like i am going to have a pretty large net loss.... Continue Reading


This post is similar to a previous post, but not exactly so keep reading. Techman answered the other question for me. Here's my situation: My car has died and needs expensive repairs. I can't work without car. If I can't work, I can't fix the... Continue Reading

1099 includes reimbursements? huh?

I received a 1099 from a company that I didn't think would send me one. I did 15 shops last year at $5 each. However, these were dining shops so the reimbursements ranged from $35 to $50 with most being $50. Is it correct that they are... Continue Reading

Gift Cards and Taxes.....Question.....

If you do a Merchantile Shop and they pay you "Gift Card Only" and in that, you purchased your dinner, how does that wash, in the tax dept? Dinner $14.00 (you paid) Gift Card Reimbursement $40 Gift Card (they give you $40 GC for dinner, no matter how much you spend). So, is... Continue Reading

MSP EIN numbers

Has anyone compiled a list, or is there a site to go to or something, where a list of EIN numbers for all the MSPs are in one place. I'm working on my taxes and reporting income from MSPs who are not required to send me a 1099. ... Continue Reading

Income Tax Return Shops

Does anyone know of any income tax return shops?... Continue Reading

1099s including reimbursements? Please tell us!

This was started so that we can alert one another to the MSCs that are issuing 1099s that include reimbursements as income. As of now, it looks like ACE has done this. Please report any that you find.... Continue Reading

what are legally acceptable mileage records for taxes?

what are legally acceptable mileage records for taxes? - i put a lot of miles on my vehicle with mystery shopping, often 100 miles on a day's route. this means that i want to deduct a large sum of money for the year at 55 cents per mile ($50 per trip... Continue Reading

A certain mystery shopping company and messed up 1099's

In March of 2012, a certain mystery shopping company mistakenly paid most of their shoppers twice for their February shops. When they noticed the error, they asked that we send the money back via payquicker, which I did. They then took the money from my payquicker account... Continue Reading

Social Security Disability Ruleas

I started out on SSDI when I was 59. I am now 63 and I want to know if I am still considered under SSDI or regular Social Security and what are the rules for working while on SSDI or SS...anybody know?... Continue Reading

Curious about IRS and payment received.

I received a check on New Year's Eve in the mail, but it didn't get into the bank until Jan. 2. For purposes of my taxes, was it receive in tax year 2012 even though there's no record of it being deposited until 2013?... Continue Reading


I am a current mystery shopper and just realized through research that I am suppossed to be paying taxes on my earnings. I was under the impression that as long as I made $600 or less from each MS company that I worked for then I was okay. Can someone... Continue Reading

2012 taxes

I stopped working at my job this Jan. I was on disability for six weeks before retiring in April. I started mystery shopping and merchandising in May. I earned less than $600 working for several different companies. Do I just include the income I earned on my assignments as additional... Continue Reading

Mileage Tax Write-off increase in 2013

Just got an e-mail from my Lawyer that said that the IRS mileage rate is going up to 56 1/2 cents a mile. Whooo!... Continue Reading

One hundred pairs of shoes???

Please let me know if the subject line is against the rules. I just saw a posting for this at a MSC and I'm wondering if it is as difficult as it sounds? It's really close to my house and the pay is decent but it seems complicated. Any tips would... Continue Reading

determining mileage?....

I have a question that I cannot find an answer for in other threads. I have never used an actual mileage deduction before, but need to with MSing...With DHs business, we just do a percentage of personal/business. Figuring out MS mileage at home is easy, but if we go on... Continue Reading

Can I claim car and mileage on taxes?

I have a question.... How do I claim the car that I just purchased and the mileage from the old car that I traded in, on my taxes. Yes, I do have a "regular job", but I do a lot of traveling for my Mystery shopping. Because of that, I... Continue Reading

Tax Deductions

Before returning to mystery shopping as more or less a full-time occupation, I MSed just for Market Force back around 2003-2005. At that point I didn't even take any deductions. It was simply for some running around money. Now I will take every deduction available. I figure if multi-millionaires can... Continue Reading


Yes it is true you don't HAVE to have an EIN, but it is advisable to have one so you are not giving your SSN out to everyone. I was referring to things that help support the idea that you are a business, and a business bank account is... Continue Reading

Mileage question

I'm still relatively new to mystery shopping (I started in March), but I can't get my head around the mileage question. I know we can claim 55.5 cents per mile on our taxes for business miles driven. What I can't figure out yet is how that translates to real life. What I'm... Continue Reading

using fake ssn?

i've been doing shops for about a year now and i like it a lot. recently i got an assignment for a college admissions shop, but they want me to use a fake ssn if i talk to someone from financial aid. has anyone does this before? the msc has... Continue Reading

WC Taxes withheld?

I have never had a company deduct Worker's Comp Taxes from a check...........until now! Any one have any experience with this?... Continue Reading

Social security #s?

Why do they need them? Especially when you register....... Continue Reading

IRS mileage allowance

Does anyone have any info on the 2012 IRS gas mileage allowance?... Continue Reading

Employer Identification Number - Is this REQUIRED?

Hello All, I'm looking for a bit of advice from the seasoned shoppers on this forum. I've completed numerous shopper applications where the choice was always given between either entering an Employer Identification Number (EIN) or a Social Security Number and as such I've also entered the latter. However,... Continue Reading

Can this be an actual income or strictly extra money?

Hi, I am very new to this and was wondering if it is possible to make a living at it or if it is just good as extra income. I like to set realistic expectations so I don't want to go in expecting to make a ton of money... Continue Reading

IRS and Receipts

Does anyone know off the top of their head if the IRS would be OK with electronic receipts as proof of reimbursement for shops? I can keep hard copies of my receipts for six months, a year (depending on the MSC), but if I have an electronic copy, it seems to... Continue Reading

TrendSource EIN

Help! I did one job for TrendSource and thought my social security was the EIN. Apparently not. I am scheduled for two jobs this week, but there is no way I am applying for this number. Am I out of luck?... Continue Reading

What are some good apps for iPad tracking income expenses and mileage

Hi I would love a calendar option that had a job income tracking option so I can keep track of what I'm spending out and what I should be getting back in names of the companies that owe me money... Continue Reading

Need tools to organize my income and expenses

Hi I'm new to this post I need some help tracking my income and expenses and managing my mileage and so forth can anybody help me so I can get a true bottom line of what I'm making. I use my iPad so if there's a great app for this... Continue Reading

MS Income for big purchase?

Have you used your Mystery Shopping as part of your income on an app for a big purchase? If so, how did you list it? How do they verify your income? I've got 9 months history of PayPal and bank deposits I could print out, is that enough? BTW, I probably should... Continue Reading

Validating Social Security Numbers

I've signed up with a few new companies more than a week ago, and their websites show that my SSN is still pending. Approximately, how long does it take for one's SSN to clear a system? One site won't let me shop at all, and another won't pay me... Continue Reading

Any companies that DON'T require a social security # upfront?

I know there have been a lot of discussions on this, but I am not comfortable giving my SSN out during the application process - especially when I may never even do a shop for that company. Are there any companies that don't require SSN upfront? Or that... Continue Reading

Mileage Charges

I tried a search and maybe I did not use the correct words. How do you calculate what you ask for mileage when trying to negotiate fees for a shop?... Continue Reading

do mystery shopping companies report shopper payments to the IRS?

last april, i requested a tax extension, so that my 2011 tax forms aren't due now until november 2012. i just want to make sure that i'm filing everything correctly. so anyway, i was sent a 1099 from one mystery shopping company (research services group) that shows an amount paid... Continue Reading

My New Policy Is to Charge IRS Mileage Rate

I have been shopping for almost two years and, even in that short time, I've seen a lot of changes; primarily, fees going down, delays in reimbursement, and certification requirements. In addition to mystery shopping, I do a lot of business verification and photo verifications for several companies. In the past,... Continue Reading

Trendsource responds: here is why an EIN is necessary and will be with all msc's soon

As I suspected, it has to do with the gov't and coming state and federal regulations and them going the length to make sure they can't classify IC's and employees. Here is what they say(The part of Congress trying repeal section 530 of a law in effect since 1978 is... Continue Reading

Trendsource ein enforcement

Ok the EIN deadline has now come and gone. still get the same job offers. Anyone hear anything.... Continue Reading


How do you know who will have access to your ssn if you do not know anything about the company or even if they are veted and bonded????... Continue Reading

Milage Tax Deduction. IT IS LONG GONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I just had my taxes done and the big milage deduction is gone. The mystery shops know it too. And ask me if they told us about it. The tax code was changed two years ago. If you leave you home and drive to a mystery... Continue Reading

Giving companies my SSN

Should I sign up with companies that require my SSN when I have an EIN (Employer Identification Number)? I am extremely concerned about entering my SSN online or giving to companies that I am not sure of.... Continue Reading

maximizing income from mystery shopping

i am new to this world. can someone tell me how to maximize one's earnings from mystery shopping? i am on about 20 job boards but i do not know if that is enough. i seem to only be getting shops that pay 10 to 50 dollars... Continue Reading

Speaking of Taxes...

I keep a detailed spreadsheet for each month of shops that I have done. It lists the following info in columns across the top: JOB ID SITE ID DEBRIEF CODE (One MSC uses hexadecimal codes to debrief all shops) TYPE DUE DATE DATE DONE TOTAL COST TOTAL PAID TAXABLE AMT INVOICE DATE INVOICE NBR - PAYPAL DATE PAID BUSINESS NAME STREET ADDRESS CITY ST ZIP BUSINESS PHONE MILEAGE EXPENSES MSC Then... Continue Reading

Income tax credit

In completing the 1099 section, I must select a Business/Activity type and Business Activity Code. I don't know what to choose and am not sure where MS and BV fit it. Any suggestions?... Continue Reading

SO so fed up with MSC's outdated SSN validation systems!

Rant. I am soo so annoyed right now. I'm from Canada, married an American, did all the paperwork etc and got a legitimate SSN last summer. At the time Social Security told me that they had just started issuing SSNs starting with an 8, previously any SSN starting with... Continue Reading

How much does IRS allow for mileage please? anyone?

I just did 77 miles yesterday for 2 $15.00 shops, and paid $3.90 per gallon of gas. I'm wondering if anyone knows how much IRS allows per mile? Thanks in advance. S.... Continue Reading

Tracking Expenses and Mileage

Thanks for the useful information. Although I've been doing this for many years, last year was the first year I've ever made a significant income from mystery shopping. I did not track mileage throughout the year because I didn't plan to do as much shopping as I did.... Continue Reading

Earned Income Tax Credit

Does anyone know if Connecticut had an Earned Income Tax Credit in place for 2010?... Continue Reading

Taxes: What do you put down under the category for freelance business.

I am trying to do my tasks. One of the question is to categorize my business I do work for my self. IS there a specific task code for mystery shop. I just chose the general code 99999. Thanks.... Continue Reading

CORI Corrected 1099

Has anyone received it yet? The email that I received said that everyone would be receiving a corrected 1099. I'm sure it's coming in the next couple of days....just wondering if anyone else had received one yet.... Continue Reading


First company I am trying to sign on with is CRI. They won't accept EIN staing that "Our system does not allow the use of EIN. Company policy mandated the Social Security Number. Thank you." Company answer seemed vague. I don't want to use SSN due to past fraud matters... Continue Reading

Reporting unreimbursed expenses

I find that an Excel spreadsheet can keep track of my schedule, the fee, bonus (if any), unreimbursed expenses, reimbursements, payment date, payment amount, dates performed location, company, mileage, etc. You can add a page to the workbook to keep track of other expenses such as office supplies and... Continue Reading

Question re: Taxes - Gift Cards

Hi Everyone Sorry if this has already been addressed...if so, I wasn't able to find info. For companies that pay you with a gift card (for example the Cheesecake Factory shops) do you register these payments when doing your taxes? Is the gift card considered cash income? For these shops, they require you to... Continue Reading

1099s and reimbursements

I just received a 1099 from one of the companies I worked with in 2011 and notice they included reimbursements as taxable compensation in my gross wages. The reimbursements were for parking (the assignments mystery shops for a parking company), and more often than not, the parking fee was... Continue Reading

1099 forms

Does anyone know the law in California on when the companies have to send the 1099? I thought it had to be in the contractors hand no later the Jan 31st. When I contacted the specific company asking when I should be receiving it they responded they do not know... Continue Reading

CORI 1099

When does CORI send out their 1099 tax forms? 2011 was my first year working for them and I haven't received a 1099 yet. I am sure I made more than $600 in 2011.... Continue Reading

Mystery Shopper and Taxes

As a Mystery Shopper, we are required to report taxes, but it will be as "self employed". Anyone knows what can we deduct as expenses? I know miles for sure, but what about meals and other things?... Continue Reading

How do you supplement your income as Mystery Shopper?

I was just curious to know how do you supplement your income as a Mystery Shopper? In my case, in additional to being a mystery shopper, I also do Merchandising work . . . while I try to find a regular full-time job in our very poor economy. Last year,... Continue Reading

Income Source In Addition to Mystery Shopping

I am looking for some input and advice. Mystery shopping has been the main source of my income for the last couple of years but I need to make some changes and increase my income. I have divided up my MSC's and put the majority of them in... Continue Reading

Sinclairs X O Logic Test!

Hello has anyone taken this recently? I can't seem to pass it and I have to wait 30 days to re-take it. Hmmmm thought I did really good on it.... Continue Reading

My SSN confession and a question

So, I've been married for more than 32 years and have FINALLY changed my name on my SS card (after numerous trips to the SSA and plenty of long waits). For many years, it just didn't seem to matter. It has only been in probably the past 6 or so... Continue Reading

Claiming mileage

One big issue is transportation. It is difficult to find a lot of shops in one small area, even in a city. If you live in the country it is even more difficult. Then you have to compare the cost of running a vehicle (not just gas)... Continue Reading

What are reimbursable expenses?

Flash: I do a MapQuest map for every trip I take. Do you think that will be acceptable for proof of miles driven? I tried to keep track of the odometer but invariably forgot either when I left or when I got back so I just started keeping track... Continue Reading

Posting my Social Security Number

Has anyone had issues with identity theft? I have put my Social Security out on many different MSC sites. I am thinking about investing in identity theft protection like Lifelock. Any advice would be appreciated.... Continue Reading


With the price of gas fluctuating the way it is, do I have to keep track of each gasoline purchase and figure out how much was used for business and how much for personal use in order to deduct a business expense for it?... Continue Reading

Mileage Log

Do any of you guys know of a free Mileage log that would be accepted by the IRS and what information needs to be entered on the log? How do you guys handle that part of the mystery shopping business?... Continue Reading


Upon going into my Paypal this morning there was a notice that I had to put in my SS number or Tax ID due to new IRS requirements. We sell some things on Ebay but not near the 20 grand limit. However I do get paid through several... Continue Reading

claiming mileage on trips with shops

I did a mystery shop at a golf course in another state. It was 350 miles away from my home. I stayed over at a hotel as it was too long a trip to drive back after golf. Can I claim the hotel as a mystery shop... Continue Reading

Leary about giving bank info or ssn

Hi everyone! I've just started mystery shopping again and most companies are asking for my ssn or bank info. I've always been taught to be very careful about whom I give my information to. Has anyone's information ever been compromised? Does anyone know if there are companies that don't require... Continue Reading

My income has dropped 50%

I am wondering if anyone else is suffering the decrease in offers. My favorite MSC do not offer the same jobs as before. Was it the fact I turned 67 a month ago? Economy? More shoppers? Whats your opinion? Lbarlbar in San Gabriel Valley California.... Continue Reading


What is the best way to figure my mileage? Is there any software that will help? Thanks in advance.... Continue Reading

Income Reporting for Financial Assistance?

My husband recently lost his job and has been working day labor which has been off and on. So I've been mystery shopping a lot more than I used to. I'm getting ready to start shopping up to full time, but I am needing to get childcare for... Continue Reading

Apply for a Credit Card w/a Provided SSN!

No thanks! I suspect applying using a real name and a false id could be grounds for something later! And like the way this shop is not accessible as scheduler gave no links.... False names are one thing but when you put a false SS # that is getting... Continue Reading

Question about taxes

I know that if you make more than $400 you have to file for self-employment taxes. I was just wondering...does this include reimbursements? Say I made $480 in one year total that includes my shop fees and reimbursements with 5 different companies. But if I don't add in the reimbursements... Continue Reading

Supplied with social security number

I have a question on a job I was asked to complete. You had to apply for a credit card with a social security number they provided you with, is that even legal? I declined the shop.... Continue Reading

1099 Question

I am wondering how this is calculated for companies which offer a flat fee which includes reimbursement for all their shops. I sometimes have overage and sometimes underage so will the company calculate that or will I receive a 1099 when I reach $600 based on the total flat fees... Continue Reading

Payment/reimbursement Taxes

Quick question on this subject, which I have obviously deferred from addressing as long as I can! :-) I keep two columns for payments, one reflecting the base pay, and one to reflect a complete total, should reimbursements be involved. So, using a $20 shop with an 11.10 reimbursement as... Continue Reading

Any mystery shopper ever been audited by the IRS?

This year when I was doing my taxes, my tax guy said that to report my MS shopping I needed to have all the documentation, including guidelines, paystubs, receipts and surveys just in case I ever got audited. I did over 150 shops last year and made 2000 dollars. The... Continue Reading

Part B, Medicare and Taxes

I don't know if it is a new rule or whether I just never spotted the info, but for those paying Part B of Medicare, that expense can be deducted as a business expense to your self-employment (i.e. mystery shopping business). I haven't explored it as I am not... Continue Reading


A 2010 study found that the average American walks about 900 miles a year. Another recent study found that Americans drink an average of 22 gallons of beer a year. That means, on average, Americans get about 41 miles per gallon. Not bad.... Continue Reading

What can you claim when Filing your Taxes?

This is the first year I will be filing my taxes without having a full time job. What can I claim as a deductable when filing? I heard from others, milegage, computer, telephone, ink, digital camera, stop watch,paper etc. What can I read or lookup and find... Continue Reading

SSN not required

These Best Buy shops just showed up where we give them a fake SSN (provided) but our real driver's license, name and address, and we claim to have bad credit. Is it just me that does not really not feel comfortable doing things like this (for $10)?... Continue Reading


What are you supposed to do if you earned less than $600 from a company and don't get a 1099. I have my own ideas but I don't want to cross the you know who.... Continue Reading

Social Security Number

Hello Everyone, As I said before,I am brand new at mystery shopping. I have just begun to start signing up for companies and I'm not compfortable providing my SSN on line. Any experiences or suggestions on this would be greatly appreciated. six... Continue Reading

taxes again!? &^*&%!!!!

ahh... writing all those symbols has a calming effect... ok... so small buisness claims... last year i thought i had to do one...8 months of shops did it (costed me 75 bucks extra on top of everything for turbo tax... oigh) listed all i did... shops (reimbursements as well), surveys,... Continue Reading

Keeping track of expenses

Since my 1st question went so well, I'm gonna keep going (no whammy's!) How does everyone keep track of MS, expenses, profit, paid dates, etc? Spreadsheets? Templates? Quill and ink? I've started using Google Docs spreadsheet and created a basic template, but it lacks in anything detailed. Any free templates that might... Continue Reading

Social Security Numbers

Hello, I'm brand new to the idea of Mystery Shopping. I was looking into signing up with a company and found out that they wanted my social security number in order to sign. The company that I was looking into was Maritz. With all the I.D. theft going on nowadays, should... Continue Reading

Clothing as a deduction?

I was reading on another site that you can deduct uniform expenses on your taxes. Is there any way to take this deduction as a mystery shopper? Sometimes I have to do shops at high-end retailers, etc., where I'm supposed to be wearing nicer clothes. I would... Continue Reading

Canadian Income Taxes

Hi, is there anyone in the Edmonton, AB area that you can recommend to complete our tax returns? I need someone familiar with the available deductions & won't charge a fortune since I have more than one year to complete. Thanks, Charlene... Continue Reading

Do I need to inform the IRS?

Hi All, I just started mystery shopping in the US in May and I'm wondering if I need to inform the IRS that I'm self-employed. When I mystery shopped in the UK, I had to inform the Inland Revenue (IRS equivalent) within 3 months of starting that I was self-employed, Or... Continue Reading


Hi all Just double checking, can I claim mileage to and from an assignment. My brother seems to think I can only claim to an assignment. Also, if I have three assignments, the way I'm claiming is from home to a, a to b, b to c and then c to... Continue Reading


While most shoppers don't buy a lot of supplies, we do purchase equipment and sometimes during the course of a year spend more than $600 with a particular equipment supplier. Starting January 1, 2012 there will be a new requirement that WE, as small businesses, will need to 1099... Continue Reading

Canadian Mystery Shopping and taxes?

Sigh... I would need to find information about filing for income taxes in the Canadian system for next year if I take mystery shopping seriously and start to earn even a decent amount of money....I heard that for this type of enterprise, it is taxable if it is over $500... Continue Reading

social security numbers

i have applied to become a mystery shopper and many sites ask for social security numbers---is this safe... Continue Reading

Something I wish I knew early on: Get an EIN online

If you're registering as an independent contractor and are squeamish about entering your ssn, you can get an ein online in real time:,,id=102767,00.html... Continue Reading

Social Security Numbers

I've been doing Mystery Shopping for approximately a month now. I'm finding that it is something I enjoy doing very much. One concern I'm having is this: When I apply online at several of the Mystery Shopping firms, they want my Social Security Number. I'm real... Continue Reading

good ways of organising mystery shops for taxes next year?

Hey all what are some ways that I can get started organizing my tax information for mystery shopping for next year? I just finished my taxes and I would like to get a jump start on next year...... Continue Reading


Plain old Turbo Tax Deluxe ($39 after rebate) has all the Schedule C help you will need.... Continue Reading

Income Tax Return Shops

Hi, Are income tax return shops out yet? Thanks!... Continue Reading

taxes for ss

hey does anyone know if secret shopping is considered a small buisness? i know independent contracting is something like that... i know they wont send you a form if you dont make more than 600 bucks... but can it be claimed anyway? just want to know im filling out my taxes...... Continue Reading

Mileage Record Keeping Question

I've just moved back to the US after living abroad since I was 18. Taxes are honestly still confusing for me, especially because I lived in a tax free country. The posts I've found here have been really helpful, but I do have a question: I recently started and since I... Continue Reading

Service Intelligence and taxes

I know that service intelligence says that the company does not issues 1099s and you need to print your own invoices. My question is what amount do they report to the IRS? Do they report the amount of your shop fees or the amount of your shop fees and reimbursements?... Continue Reading

New mother needs extra income, but has no clue where to start

My husband and I just found out that I'm pregnant so I'm trying to make some extra money doing some mystery shopping. I'm also trying to convince my husband that I can still command a decent pay check if I quit my job when the baby is born. Mystery shopping... Continue Reading

Software to keep track of your expenses, payments and taxes?

Anyone found a good (inexpensive) software (Mac compatible) to track your expenses, payments and taxes? Do ya'll have EINs? Do ya'll pay quarterly or just wait until April 15? Should I be keeping track of mileage to shops or is that not tax deductible?... Continue Reading

Filing Taxes

Hi all, This is the first year I've made enough money through mystery shopping that I need to file taxes. I've printed off the statements from all companies. Do you have any tips? Can I file online? Can I file with my husband? We hired an... Continue Reading

do i need my ssn to start?

i have been laid off from my job of 10 years now and i am collecting unemployment do i have to give my social security number to start, even like ms diners and resturants? thanks a million- luke b... Continue Reading

Income Taxes

How does one get paid after completing an assignment... Continue Reading

Taxes and shopping

I am new at shopping and I am wondering how everyone fills out their taxes? Do you file taxes for your shops? Do you list each company on a schedule C? This could be very time consuming. Should I just make a business name and incorporate all of... Continue Reading

Taxes and Year End Planning

I stopped in my neighborhood office supply store to ask about TurboTax for 2008 last evening and was told they hoped to have it on the shelves Friday 11/21. I will be there and looking for it :) I thought I would mention it here because we will still have... Continue Reading

Extra Income

I'm a single father of 3 always at a mall or eating out. I'm well educated, well spoken and honest. I'm looking for any opportunities at additional income, as we all need in today's economy.... Continue Reading

Social Security Number

Some of the companies want your social security number when you sign up. I'm very nervous about doing this. Can anyone advise of legit companies and companies to watch out for? Thanks.... Continue Reading

IRS Increase for mileage allowance

They raised the rate to .585 per mile from 7/1 to 12/31 for this year. Every little bit helps. Bob... Continue Reading

Taxes & IRS with Mystery Shopping

I just recently started Myster Shopping & I was wondering what of my earnings has to be reported to the IRS? Also, what can be deducted as business expenses? Do I have to have a business name to do this? Are there any government grants that will loan money to help... Continue Reading


Hi Everyone, my first post to the forum and I bet you all know what my first question do you make any money at this business? I nickle and dime myself to death with the surveys and am not interested in the reimbursement jobs. Any advice... Continue Reading


I have always understated my income. Didn't want to let them know how much I really make. Does it really give you better shops if you state your real income? I didn't think it would make a difference. So I need to see if I need... Continue Reading

Taxes on reimbursements...

Do you need to claim reimbursements on taxes, as it is really a wash....going to get taxes done, but would like a little info. on this up front.... Continue Reading

IRS Question

This is my first yr. of mystery shopping. As I understand it, if you make more than $600. in one yr., you are required to report these earnings in your IRS returns. My question is; I have made over $800. total in mystery shop jobs in this past yr.,... Continue Reading

Anybody else on Disability/Social Security?

Hello Everybody, I have a disease that is keeping me from the normal job market. At times, I am bedridden, other times, I function normally. I am collecting Social Security, and I am allowed to work, as long as the amount does not exceed $600 per month. After that, I... Continue Reading


Jacob: Hav run in2 a # of co.'s that want u 2 divulge ur SSN on the site, many of which r not encrypted/secure. Went 2 IRS site 2 get an EIN & filled in req'd 4m--but where do u actually "submit" it & get the #... Continue Reading


Tonya.......thanks for your response. If the companies would jusy cover mileage, they would have a lot more takers. Take Houston for example. easily 60 miles from one side to anotherand traffic is always heavy. SO......a $10 fee shop ( unless it's next door) is just not... Continue Reading

Supplement to your MS income

-- moved topic -- ... Continue Reading

Tax Deductible Expenses

I've done a lot of restaurant evaluations this year as I "learn" this field. I'm sure I can at least deduct mileage for the shops. How about the price I pay for the meals themselves that I get reimbursed for? Will these be deductible, and thus a... Continue Reading


One of the things that I have not been able to accomolish is to be reimbursed for travel milage. For example, I live in NW Houston pribably 90% of the job offers that I receive are from 25-50 miles away which makes a round trip of 50-100 miles. For a... Continue Reading

Get Ready For Next Income Tax Season

Some people have asked if you can use both miles traveled and the cost of gas as a deduction on your income tax. You cannot take both. You will come out better claiming mileage. Get a small notebook that you can keep in your car that is labeled with the year... Continue Reading


Is it true that the $600 per year tax cap is for EACH company you work for? I work for several companies now and I was thinking that I had to keep my income low for tax reasons. I know I need to check this out with the IRS, but... Continue Reading

Applying for EIN, which box for Reason for applying?

I was trying to apply for a EIN online but I got stumped at the question that asks for the Reason for applying? Can somebody help me?... Continue Reading

Mystery Shopping Income

I have been a Mystery Shopper for over a year. I have completed about 100 assignments in many different categories. I have applied to over 25 companies and have received many job offers. What I am getting so discouraged about is the pay offered with 90% of the jobs. Many... Continue Reading


I was just wondering how much does mystery shopping hurt your income tax especially if you normally get a refund. Sure, it's nice getting checks, direct deposit, and Paypal but then you have to claim it. How much are you left with after all of these small paying... Continue Reading

Discussions of Mystery Shopping Taxes

What is mind boggling is how long this has apparently gone on. As someone who doesn't find government or taxes dirty words, it is proof industry cannot regulate itself. (Source). July 04, 2015

Some items are a good deal there and others overpriced. You just need to be an educated shopper. Back when grocery store shops were my main source of income, I was in 2 or 3 per day and keep good tabs on what items were a deal at each store. (Source). July 04, 2015

If a company is reimbursing expenses I get a paper receipt. (Source). July 04, 2015

I wouldn't feel comfortable stiffing someone who relies on tips for a portion of their income. (Source). July 04, 2015

[/quote] Is that what you meant or did you mean definitely? I don't think $500 is any sort of limit as I get a 1099 from them each year and it is for fees only. (Source). July 04, 2015

[/quote] Is that what you meant or did you mean definitely? I don't think $500 is any sort of limit as I get a 1099 from them each year and it is for fees only. (Source). July 04, 2015

We had one shopper on here who did a high end shop and paid out $900 in expenses. (Source). July 04, 2015

00 for doing the shop and up to $1,000.00 for expenses. (Source). July 04, 2015

Hi Shannon, mystery shopping is a great way to make a decent side income that gives you some flexibility on how much and when you want to work. (Source). July 04, 2015

00 for doing the shop and up to $1,000.00 for expenses. (Source). July 04, 2015