Is it better to use An Employer Identification Number and create a company?

I use to be a business owner and I have been doing Mystery Shopping since 2013. During this time I have my SS number. With ALL the companies getting hacked and getting personal information would it be better to make a company and go to EIN number?

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NOTHING about an EIN prevents getting hacked. Moreover, having an EIN does not MAKE you a company. It just permits you to employ people. After all hackers might see an EIN and think, "Hey, here's an entity that may have the SSNs of some employees. Let's dig in because we might hit pure gold there."

Virtually all of the MSCs have EINs for themselves because they employ people and need the EIN to report their employees' earning to IRS and to file corporate taxes. . They get hacked. So does Sony Pictures and Experian and, hundreds of corporations that employ people and get hacked and the SSNs and info about their employees stolen. So let's get real about any "advantages" of an EIN.

Based in MD, near DC
Shopping from the Carolinas to New York
Have video cam; will travel

Poor customer service? Don't get mad; get video.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/12/2018 09:36PM by walesmaven.
I've been shopping since around 2001. Never felt the need to get an EIN though 1 or 2 companies tried to pressure us shoppers into doing it. A few shoppers reported that after getting the EIN they had to buy business licenses. That could be expensive for shoppers who shop multiple cities or even multiple states!
Because of my previous business I have and use an EIN. I could be wrong but I feel I can put more expenses into a business rather than adding personal income and trying to do the same. If that is correct, that is the upside. The downside is that I have to pay employer and employee taxes when I pay myself a salary and get a separate charge from my accountant. I have been considering getting rid of the EIN but have not done so as I am comfortable writing off expenses the way I have in the past.

I know that some of you are involved in preparing tax reports so any input would be appreciated.
You just report income and the SAME expenses on Schedule c. Unless you need expert tax advice for your MS business, why pay an accountant? Once you understand how to report and claim automobile and office (if any) expenses, all other aspects of Schedule C are quite straightforward. And, you also pay SE tax (employer and work sides) using an SSN !! It sounds like you may be "complexifying" this; no difference in how you report unless you actually pay wages to a W-2 employee in your MS business.

Based in MD, near DC
Shopping from the Carolinas to New York
Have video cam; will travel

Poor customer service? Don't get mad; get video.
Each shopper is unique. For some people, it might be advisable to keep the mystery shopping business separate from the rest of the income and tax situation. For others, it may work well to combine everything and use Schedule C, etc.

@OP: You are the only person who knows and who should know all the relevant factors in your decision. The posts here have shown that people find it easy to use Schedule C for sole proprietorships. We cannot go beyond that because we do not know all the relevant factors for you. If you have any questions whatsoever about the appropriateness of anything related to your tax situation, please consider consulting an actual tax pro who can provide specific information. You and your business are worth it.

Easter says you can put truth in a grave, but it won't stay there. - Clarence W. Hall
I got an EIN simply to avoid giving my SSN to 100+ MSCs. If it ever gets hacked I will get it changed, deactivated or simply stop using it without creating the endless hassles that are probably involved in changing an SSN.
Like someone mentioned I was one of those being pressured by an MSC to get an EIN. I got one and then they changed their mind (probably got a lot of complaints). I like having it and giving it to all the MSCs rather than my SS#.
I agree with panama18. I'd much rather have my EIN stolen than my SSN. My EIN is basically used just for gettings 1099s from mystery shopping companies. Not much to be gained by stealing my EIN. My SSN, on the other hand, is tied to my bank accounts, credit cards, medical records, etc.
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