3 Steps to Prepare for Your Mystery Shopping Tax Deductions for Next Year

By now, most mystery shoppers have either filed their 2012 personal tax return, or they have filed an extension. Some may have worked with an accountant to prepare their tax return, and others may have sat down in front of the computer and did the work on their own. Many mystery shoppers will be fortunate enough to receive a nice tax refund when they file their taxes, but of course, there is always that desire to increase the tax refund for next year. Some will have to pay the IRS money when they file their tax return, and if you are included in this group, you may be looking for a way to decrease this liability for next year. Whether you want to maximize your refund or minimize your tax payment next year, there are a few steps that you can take now to meet your goals.

Learn About the Deductions

Spending time reading about tax deductions for the 2013 tax year doesn’t sound like much fun, but this is a step that you can take today that ultimately could pay off significantly for you. The fact is that many decisions that you make on a regular basis affect your total tax bill at the end of the year, and you may not realize the impact of those decisions. By learning more about tax deductions as well as tax returns in general, you can learn how you can make better decisions. For example, you may be wondering if it is better to invest in a new work computer or if a larger charitable donation would result in a greater tax deduction for you. When you learn how a deduction on business equipment works as well as how other deductions work, you can make more informed decisions.

Set Up Your Accounting System

If you don’t have an accounting system in your home office and are just winging it, you may want to reconsider this strategy. When you just wing it, you may toss receipts here and there, and inevitably those receipts that could be tax deductions are lost. You may even miscalculate your income, and this is not a situation that you want to get into if you are audited by the IRS. Take time to set up a great accounting and filing system today.

Establish a Mobile System

As a mystery shopper, you may spend just as much working in your home typing reports and looking for new assignments to work on as you spend away from home. A large portion of your time away from home is in your car, so your car is your veritable office-on-wheels. Take time to establish a mobile system in your car for keeping track of receipts, business miles traveled and other important information. Some mystery shoppers have purchased a small, hand-held case that has file folders or another type of organizational system in it. Others use a large briefcase