Taxes - Can I report only income made?

(This is my first time filling out the schedule c and I'm using Turbotax for businesses owners.)

I'm just wondering if it's okay to report only the total amount of money I made mystery shopping during 2015. I didn't keep a log of my miles and I don't have all my receipts. The ones I do have also aren't organized.

I only made two distant trips for shops but have no proof, and I want to err on the safe side!

Shopping Santa Barbara and Goleta, CA.

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The IRS will not object to you reporting income but not expenses. That means that you will owe more taxes. Don't you have copies (scans) of the receipts you submitted? Can't you reconstruct the mileage by creating a spreadsheet and using MapQuest to calculate distances traveled? (I used Mapquest on a daily basis and consider that to be my contemporaneous log - I know that some disagree.)

Shopping Southeast Pennsylvania, Delaware above the canal, and southwestern NJ since 2008
@myst4au wrote:

Can't you reconstruct the mileage by creating a spreadsheet and using MapQuest to calculate distances traveled?

I can calculate the mileage for the two large trips I made for shopping last year. A lot of my shops were during lunch break and I probably won't include those though. I guess the IRS doesn't need proof of the mileage though... I don't see how they would really verify it.

As for the receipts, I didn't save them all in an organized fashion and they are not stored in one central location, so I would be afraid to report my expenses. For a lot of them I just took a photo of the receipt, emailed it to myself, and then uploaded it to the report. I could report the reimbursement amount from all my shops, but it would be very difficult if not impossible for me to have evidence for all the purchases.

My greatest concern is to be audited and not be able to show for it, or to not have reported everything accurately. According to my spreadsheet I made about $1110 and I spent about $1010. I am afraid there could be one or two shops that may be missing from the log.

Shopping Santa Barbara and Goleta, CA.
If the MSC designated something as a reimbursement, it is not taxable income. Reimbursements are never taxable, so at minimum, exclude those amounts. And I suggest deducting mileage for the two large trips.

Did you keep the emails? You can go back and download the receipts if you did.

I think you know what you need to be doing for 2016.

Shopping Southeast Pennsylvania, Delaware above the canal, and southwestern NJ since 2008
@myst4au wrote:

Did you keep the emails? You can go back and download the receipts if you did.

I do have most of the emails. So I would just see how much I spent and then subtract the reimbursement amount?

Since shopping is only a part time gig for me and I didn't make or spend that much I am not sure whether or not I will report that amount yet, since it would probably take quite a while. I currently will be getting some money back from my full time job.

I did start keeping better track this year. It took quite a while to go back and find all my previous shops from 2015, so it's much better by far to just stay organized as you go.

Shopping Santa Barbara and Goleta, CA.
One question: Do you have a total payment from MSCs of $1110? Or $1110 in fees plus an unknown amount of reimbursements? If you've been paid about $1110 total and you think you have about $1010 in expenses, then your taxes are probably pretty close to zero. I don't think you need to worry too much about your mileage.

I don't have a ton of experience with doing your taxes, but here's my one suggestion. Take it for what it's worth:
Try doing your taxes based on what you have readily available. Figure out the mileage for those two big trips quickly, deduct the reimbursements from MSCs (not the fees portions, just the reimbursements) as your expenses on the Schedule C. Then see what your taxes due to Mystery Shopping are. If you have a net profit of about $100, then you won't likely owe much as a result of MSing. But, if you have a net fees (not including reimbursements) of $1110, then you might look at what it does to your taxes and decide that it's worth it to try to recreate all the expenses you can document by combing back through your emails for copies of those receipts. Good luck!

Shopper in California's Bay Area
@CaliGirl925 wrote:

One question: Do you have a total payment from MSCs of $1110? Or $1110 in fees plus an unknown amount of reimbursements? If you've been paid about $1110 total and you think you have about $1010 in expenses, then your taxes are probably pretty close to zero. I don't think you need to worry too much about your mileage.
receipts.

I have made about $1100 total from all the fees added up; this is not the net profit of fees minus purchases. The reimbursement I received total has been about $1010.

Your idea is good and should be easy to do with TurboTax. If I don't owe a lot I don't mind paying the taxes at all. I'm not really trying to get the max amount back. I just don't want to be audited if possible since this is new to me.

Shopping Santa Barbara and Goleta, CA.


Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 04/12/2016 01:38AM by gojiberry.
After I did the mileage , my total income was $377.
But I got paid a lot more than that. Figure in the reimbursements, and they came out to about half as much as I was paid.
Stick a little calendar notebook in your car and start writing in the shops on those lunch breaks. Every mile is worth 57.5 cents for 2015.
you can recreate a mile log using google maps....you will need 'proof' if you are audited a handwritten log is proof......but the IRS agents make up their own rules...i had a job where I followed the SAME route every week for weeks at a time...and the rules say you can use the same log for all weeks....each time my route changed, i re did the weekly log...but the agent tried rejecting that....and I had to keep sending them copies of their own rules...

in the end, it doesn't seem to matter if you include reimbursements and then deduct them as expenses...or just leave them off altogether...unless the MSC reports the total payments to the IRS..

i believe if income after deductions is more than 400..you owe taxes..
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