What expenses can a mystery shopper write off? According to an article by Susan Braun, writing for WAHM.com, those employed as mystery shoppers can deduct the following expenses on their taxes when those expenses aren’t reimbursed:
First, you must acquire a Schedule C for filing with your federal income tax forms.
Second, list all the expenses you have had associated with your work as a mystery shopper. Consider the following, but don’t limit yourself to these if you’ve had other legitimate expenses.
Mystery Shopping Provider’s Assocation (MSPA) Certification Fees: If you’ve been certified through the MSPA, with a silver or gold certificate for example, you can deduct the certification fees.
Mileage to shops and certification: Mileage can be the biggest expense for a secret shopper. Be sure to carefully record the miles you drive to your assignments by keeping a small notebook in your car and noting mileage from your house to the location. If you drove somewhere to earn a mystery shopping certification, this mileage is deductible as well.Check the IRS documents for the current business rate per mile. It can add up quickly.
Pinter ink, stamps, printer paper, pens, folders, and staples are deductible if they were used for business purposes. Business expenses such as costs to make copies away from home and fees to fax or use Internet services can be deducted.
Equipment such as fax machines, printers, your computer and your camera (used in many shops) can be depreciated and portions written off each year. Check with the IRS for specifics on how much to deduct. The allowable expense is based on a percentage of personal use for each item.
Be thorough in documenting your expenses and they will add up.