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. As a result, I ended up having to pay a signigicant self employment tax. My tax preparer told me that in order to claim mileage expenses, I would have had to keep a detailed log. I will be sure to do that this year. Other than Excel, does anyone have any methods that they would recommend for tracking expenses/mileage. A phone app would be awesome!
SoJo - I was with H&R Block for several years, and they taught us that a mileage log can be reconstructed if you have source data. I believe if you check the IRS.gov site you will find this is correct. This being the case, you would be eligible to reconstruct the mileage log from your shopping records and file an amended return, which should get you a nice refund. If you can't find this info on the IRS.gov site, shoot me a PM and I'll search for it. You should find it under the instructions for vehicle expenses in regard to Schedule C.
Mary Davis Nowell. Based close to Fort Worth. Shopping Interstate 20 east and west, Interstate 35 north and south.