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Thread: Mystery Shopping newbie queries…

  1. #1
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    Default Mystery Shopping newbie queries…

    I know there is a massive thread on MSE which I am sure answers these queries but I got so lost in it, it seems to grow by about 15 pages a day I just can not keep up with!!

    I have started doing mystery shopping this year to try and give me a wee bit more income, at the moment I have signed up for two companies (and was rejected by a third) but plan to join more when I am fully up and running. I am doing this round my normal 9-5 job so it is going to be hit or miss what I can do in my lunchbreak/weekends/after work.

    I have got a spreadsheet from MSE which I am using to track my incoming/outgoings for tax. What I am wondering is if I can use any “incidentals” to write of any more tax, eg if I get a cup of coffee when I am out doing shopping (and keep the receipt) can this be used as an expense for doing that shop and therefore less tax to pay? I somehow doubt I can but just checking.

    I am not sure what I have to do to register with the Inland Revenue to pay tax and also if I need to do anything about NI (given I pay NI in my main job)

  2. #2

    Default

    You can only claim for expenses that you need to pay to do the job. If a job states you must buy a cup of coffee, then you can claim it. If you are just buying a coffee because you fancy a coffee, then you can't claim it.

    You do need to register for tax and NI. If you ring the self employed helpline (number will be on www.hmrc.gov.uk) they will sort both out for you.

    You'll get a tax return to complete every April and tax will be worked out accordingly. If you do it online, it's just a matter of putting your info in the relevant boxes and it works it all out for you.

    For NI, if you are already paying in your main job and expect to earn less than approx £4500 from mystery shopping, then you can claim small earnings exemption. They will send you a certificate and no NI will be due. However if you ever leave your main job, it is worth cancelling exemption and paying NI, as it entitles you to certain benefits if you need them in the future.

  3. #3
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    Default

    Good advice there from Becles.

    I used to post on the MSE thread up until a couple of weeks ago.

    It's probably best for you to start with a couple of companies that have lots of work. GAP is a good one for beginners - lots of work, pretty straight-forward reports. Only drawback with GAP is that they pay towards the end of the month AFTER you've done the job, so if you do a job at the start of March, you'll not get paid until around 24th April. On the other hand, if you did a job on 29th March, you'll still get paid around 24th April, so it evens out overall.

  4. #4
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    Default

    Thanks for the info.

    That is what I suspected re buying coffee etc. What happens if you get paid back some of the spend but not all. Eg I did a fast food outlet where i was paid back £3 but spent £3.09. I know that 9p is not much but could I use that against tax (I assume i can not do the £3 as I get that back??)

    I will call up the dreaded IR and get things sorted out.

    At the moment I am with RE and Tern but will have a look at Gap as another one to start with.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by black cat View Post
    Thanks for the info.

    That is what I suspected re buying coffee etc. What happens if you get paid back some of the spend but not all. Eg I did a fast food outlet where i was paid back £3 but spent £3.09. I know that 9p is not much but could I use that against tax (I assume i can not do the £3 as I get that back??)

    I will call up the dreaded IR and get things sorted out.

    At the moment I am with RE and Tern but will have a look at Gap as another one to start with.
    As long as you can ay hand on heart that that 9p was a necessary expense, then you should have no issues claiming it as a loss.

    Regarding RE: Do one assignment with them, to get a feel for how they work, but they are VERY low fees, very long and repatative reports with silly questions, they ask you to jump through many many hoops, and they STILL often try to do all they can to get out of paying you "Please tell us the name of the shop 3 doors down the road" "You didn't tell me I needed to note that information" "I'm afraid we are unable to use your report, therefore we will not pay you" (they'll then go on to use your report, thus they get paid by the client, but you don't get paid by them). BE CAREFUL WITH THEM. These days I only accept the juicy jobs with them which don't come up every day, but fairly often nonetheless.

    Regarding TERN:

    They're a fab company to work for, I've done maybe 20 jobs or so for them. They like detailed reports, with good spelling and grammar. Prompt to reimburse, and fairly quick to pay, you deal with real people who are all very pleasant and polite & friendly.

  6. #6
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    Thanks, as you say the jury is still out on RE as their reports seem very long for what you get. However I am not sure if I am "on hold" with them at the moment anyhow, I did a MS on Tuesday, submitted the report and photo that evening.

    However the payment for that is still in pending (this was the second MS I have done for them and the first payment moved within 24 hrs of the report going on). I have not had any contact from them to query anything.

    I have just tried to apply for some shops which would be ideal for me but keep getting the error message "Sorry, you are not eligible for this job" so I wonder if I have been put on hold for something. Anyone any theories??

  7. #7
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    Hi

    my wife enquired a little while ago about doing mystery shopping via a website, something like ukmysteryshopper.com. I was pretty sceptical about having to pay some sort of initial fee to work via them and so she left it. We keep getting emails from them and I meant to investigate further, thinking MSE would be a good place to start, but haven't got round to it.

    We know nothing about these schemes - is it normal to pay an initial fee to join up? Apologies if this is a real basic question

    cheers
    Nod

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noddy2 View Post
    Hi

    my wife enquired a little while ago about doing mystery shopping via a website, something like ukmysteryshopper.com. I was pretty sceptical about having to pay some sort of initial fee to work via them and so she left it. We keep getting emails from them and I meant to investigate further, thinking MSE would be a good place to start, but haven't got round to it.

    We know nothing about these schemes - is it normal to pay an initial fee to join up? Apologies if this is a real basic question

    cheers
    Nod
    Noddy

    I understand there is a thriving scam market (similar to type 419's) asking for upfront fees to go mystery shopping

    Don't touch those with a bargepole


    Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body,
    - - - but rather to skid in sideways - beer in one hand - something deep fried in the other - -
    body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming........................ "WOO HOO, What a Ride!"




    ( )( )
    ( . .)
    C('')(''). . . . . . . . . . .

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grace & Favour View Post
    Noddy

    I understand there is a thriving scam market (similar to type 419's) asking for upfront fees to go mystery shopping

    Don't touch those with a bargepole

    Thanks G&F

    that was my impression! Having just read a bit on MSE I realise there a whole host of companies offering mystery shopper work (with no upfront fee!). I think our problem will be that we live in a quite rural area, so it could mean a bit of travelling. But we need extra income, so I reckon we might sign up - perhaps the both of us. Could be fun.

    cheers
    Nod

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noddy2 View Post
    Thanks G&F

    that was my impression! Having just read a bit on MSE I realise there a whole host of companies offering mystery shopper work (with no upfront fee!). I think our problem will be that we live in a quite rural area, so it could mean a bit of travelling. But we need extra income, so I reckon we might sign up - perhaps the both of us. Could be fun.

    cheers
    Nod

    and there's a limited number of organisations wanting shopping comparisons for Cromer Crabs aren't there?


    Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body,
    - - - but rather to skid in sideways - beer in one hand - something deep fried in the other - -
    body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming........................ "WOO HOO, What a Ride!"




    ( )( )
    ( . .)
    C('')(''). . . . . . . . . . .

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