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Tax Deductions For Mystery Shoppers

Aug 17, 2007
If you are a mystery shopper, then you are considered to be self-employed and may therefore be eligible for a number of tax deductions. In being self-employed, anything that you use in relation to your business may be deductible providing that you save your receipts and can prove how the item(s) are beneficial and necessary for your career.

Mystery shoppers can either conduct evaluations in person, by phone or via the internet. As such, the gasoline for your automobile may be deductible when used in conjunction with travel for a mystery shopping job. In order to deduct the cost of gasoline, you must save your receipts. If some or all of your mystery shopping work is done via the internet and/or telephone, you may be able to deduct part or all of the cost of your computer, internet access and/or a telephone line if used for the purpose of mystery shopping activities.

As a mystery shopper, you will work at home on occasion or at least during the completion of your questionnaire. When you accept a mystery shopping job, you will be given a set of questions that are to be answered according to your experience with the company being evaluated. As such, the cost of office supplies, including paper, pens, office furniture and possibly even a fax machine may be deductible if used in the course of business.

If you work as a mystery shopper, being an independent contractor has many obvious perks. One thing that is missing from all work at home opportunities, however, is health benefits. Every self-employed individual is faced with having to search for their own health insurance policy. Unlike a traditional employer who often provides insurance packages as an employee incentive, self-employment requires that you handle matters relating to your own coverage. As such, the cost of health insurance may be tax deductible.

In addition, if you pay any type of fees relating to mystery shopping, including travel, memberships and/or subscriptions, these too may be tax deductible. Self-employed individuals, when required, must file Schedule C with the IRS to report all income from the operation of a business. In some cases, Schedule C-EZ may be filed if certain requirements are met. When tax time rolls around, be sure to have all receipts and/or expenses organized in an orderly fashion for fast and easy reference. If possible, keep all paperwork and financial information separate from your other income to allow for simple identification.

Being self-employed and/or enjoying the ability to earn money from home is the choice of many Americans. In addition to the emotional rewards and satisfaction, the financial benefits are unmistakable. Setting your own hours, working as much or as little as you want and having more control over your income are just a few of the benefits to being a mystery shopper.

The information provided in this article is designed to be used for reference purposes only. It should not be used as, in place of or in conjunction with professional legal, financial and/or tax advice relating to self-employment and/or tax deductions. For additional information relating to taxes, consult with a local tax professional or the IRS directly.
About the Author
Brian Dolezal is a contributing editor for TopConsumerReviews.com, a leading provider of independent reviews and rankings for hundreds of consumer products. You can find out how top mystery shopping programs compare by visiting TopConsumerReviews.com today.
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