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 does have similar elements in that we give customer feedback often at retail businesses and use some of the same equipment.

Or do you set up a separate business entity (a different Schedule C) for this activity as it is a bit different?

The third option seems to be to just declare the income as miscellaneous income.

Thanks. smiling smiley

Happily shopping Rhode Island and nearby Massachusetts and Connecticut

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As far as I am concerned, it is mystery shopping. Frankly, I don't think the IRS would ever complain as long as you show the income somewhere. They get upset when you don't declare income.

Shopping Southeast Pennsylvania, Delaware above the canal, and southwestern NJ since 2008
Would you declare the retail value of digital gift cards and coupons you earn from smartphone apps the same way? What about free food?

One smartphone app I use, Survey Mini, offers gift cards, discounts, and free food when you fill out short surveys about places you've visited. It feels like double dipping when I get push notifications about places I've "shopped." I just answer "no" to the question "Did you recently visit ..." and don't give details of the shop or write the short review. On that note, I noticed a disclaimer posted on a recent Goodwin shop. Shoppers are prohibited from posting online reviews about their experience, which makes sense since we're being paid to provide information to the client.

Smartphone apps will continue to change the future of mystery shopping. That's a really good reason to stay current with tech trends.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/25/2014 03:31PM by Mcreader9.
To my understanding there is no such thing as "free" in the eyes of the IRS. If you are reimbured for an expenditure that is one thing. But if you are given a "gift" in exchange for services rendered, the value of the "gift" is taxable.

However, I am not a tax expert. Maybe someone who is will pipe in. I think dspeaks has done taxes.

When you learn, teach, when you get, give. Maya Angelou
CureMS Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> To my understanding there is no such thing as
> "free" in the eyes of the IRS. If you are
> reimbured for an expenditure that is one thing.
> But if you are given a "gift" in exchange for
> services rendered, the value of the "gift" is
> taxable.
>
> However, I am not a tax expert. Maybe someone who
> is will pipe in. I think dspeaks has done taxes.

Of course I will be declaring the income. I am exploring the different possibilities, if they exist. smiling smiley

Happily shopping Rhode Island and nearby Massachusetts and Connecticut
I consider Gigwalk et al to be just another mystery shop company. You have to go to the site to do the jobs, so you have some expense involved (unless you happened to be in Wal Mart buying groceries and found there was a Gigwalk there).

Don't complicate things by trying to track it separately. I add all my Gigs to my shopping spread sheet, note any miles I drove to get there, record the income as income just like a shop. The IRS doesn't care. The first time I filed a tax return with two Schedule C's on it I got a letter from them telling me I didn't have to do that. (I had a reason for doing so; I had been claiming losses on my writing and finally was making money at it, so I wanted a "writing" schedule C with a profit separate from my "accounting" schedule C to avoid ever being ruled a hobby on my writing. They can disallow losses retroactively)

It would be a bit of a stretch to call the Gigwalks something else, especially when, in some cases, the client for Gigwalk is the one of the MSC's you mystery shop for.

Time to build a bigger bridge.
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