Claiming/paying taxes on surveys/Swagbucks

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JulieDB

Guest
I know I asked something like this some time ago but it got to bugging me recently. Although the money I make and prizes I get are not a lot and often sporadic, it is income. My husband has a job, a retirement payment and also gets disability. I get disability. This is income. So I couldn't very well make the claim that the money from surveys and prizes from Swagbucks is my only income. If it were, there would be no worries as it wouldn't be enough money for me to have to pay taxes on. But...

I have been reading conflicting information on this. One survey site (not one that I use) claims that legally we must declare every single dollar that we make. Makes me wonder if I have to claim all the change I find on the street as well!

I went back and added it all up as best I could find and remember and I don't think I made quite $400 for the year if I add in everything. Although I may have forgotten a few dollars here and there as I now do surveys for so many different places. Often I don't do enough for some of them to add up to payment though. And I intend to get back to just a few that I know will pay me outright or at least give me enough points to amount to something. For instance, Paid Viewpoint only paid me $15 last year but I wasn't doing their surveys for long and they are usually really quick ones. Usually multiple choice questions or yes/no about things that I use or do. So no biggie.

Some of what I read online said we would be considered contractors and we would have to file 1099 misc., keeping track of all money and gift cards earned. Would this even include Coke code prizes? Hmmm... Other sources said if we earned $600 or more from one company, that company would have to give us a 1099 to file. That has never happened for me. Earning that much, I mean.

Some sources said even though we are required to claim this, the IRS would likely never find out if we didn't. Other sources said we were required to claim it but the amount made would likely be offset by the price we pay for Internet and computer related supplies. But... I never claimed my writing (never got paid for that beyond a prize) because it was too much of a PITA. I was told I would have to keep receipts for the year for everything I bought for my computer and a certain percentage of it had to have been spent on the writing and I'd have to prove it. I would imagine this would apply to surveys as well.

Still others say that we don't have to claim this money at all.

For me? If I have to keep track of all these dribs and drabs of $1.00 to $5.00 coming in and then claim them all, and perhaps even pay taxes on that money, it would not be worth it!

What do you do? And does anyone have definitive proof as to whether we have to claim this or not? All of the things I saw on the Internet were seemingly the opinions of people and nothing from the IRS.

Thanks!
 
J

JulieDB

Guest
Anyone? My lawyer friend told me that we have to claim any prizes no matter how small. Would this mean My Coke Rewards as well? If so, then what is the point?
 
J

JulieDB

Guest
Now I *really* need to know. I just signed up for Darwin's Data. They paid me $10 for filling out/setting up the account and will be paying me $25 per survey. I am not sure how many surveys I'll get but it would appear that I will now be making enough money to have to claim this on my taxes. So how do I possibly keep track of this stuff? Help! And would I have to claim stuff like My Coke Rewards? What about other stuff like free magazine subscriptions? Do I have to claim those?
 

jastwins

※Kaboom!・:・:・゜
Trader Group
If you do not receive a 1099 form from these companies, how will the IRS know? The internet is still a work in progress and tax rules differ from state to state. I do claim my earnings from selling stuff on Ebay and I also use this business to write off many of my expenses. Paypal has my ssn so I know they can check me out if I am ever audited. However, Ebay did not send me a 1099 since I did not make enough. I chose to claim my earnings, but was not required to do so by law. ( rules posted on their website)
As for the coke rewards, you purchase the product and pay tax on it, so why would you claim it? As long as the reward is not going into your checking or savings account, there is no financial paper trail. However, on the website, it does state that if you won a sweepstakes grand prize, you are responsible for taxes in the total amount of the grand prize and must fill out paperwork.

The IRS does not have the manpower to check everyone's email or swagbucks accounts. My friend works for the IRS and they would not delve that deep.
I am not a CPA, but I do have an MBA in Finance. Remember, you performed a service to earn the swagbucks. Swagbucks relies on your email or user id and does not ask for personal financial information, like an ssn.
As always, ask your accountant for advice. You can choose to follow it or not.
 
J

JulieDB

Guest
If you do not receive a 1099 form from these companies, how will the IRS know? The internet is still a work in progress and tax rules differ from state to state. I do claim my earnings from selling stuff on Ebay and I also use this business to write off many of my expenses. Paypal has my ssn so I know they can check me out if I am ever audited. However, Ebay did not send me a 1099 since I did not make enough. I chose to claim my earnings, but was not required to do so by law. ( rules posted on their website)
As for the coke rewards, you purchase the product and pay tax on it, so why would you claim it? As long as the reward is not going into your checking or savings account, there is no financial paper trail. However, on the website, it does state that if you won a sweepstakes grand prize, you are responsible for taxes in the total amount of the grand prize and must fill out paperwork.

The IRS does not have the manpower to check everyone's email or swagbucks accounts. My friend works for the IRS and they would not delve that deep.
I am not a CPA, but I do have an MBA in Finance. Remember, you performed a service to earn the swagbucks. Swagbucks relies on your email or user id and does not ask for personal financial information, like an ssn.
As always, ask your accountant for advice. You can choose to follow it or not.

Aargh! I just typed out a reply and it wouldn't work for some reason. I have no accountant nor can I afford to use one. I just wondered if anyone knew of any links online that would for sure give me an answer. Because where does it all end? The $1 found on the street? The raffle prize that I won? And coupons for that matter. If I have one for buy one restaurant meal and get another meal free... Would I have to claim that meal? I never really thought about the surveys before until I began seeing people claiming they were making huge amounts on surveys. I'm not, but I am now making more than ever between those and Swagbucks.
 
J

JulieDB

Guest
I finally found an official answer at least on the Swagbucks from Swagbucks themselves! I found it on their Facebook page but only by doing a search and yes, I got points for it. Heh.

They say if we earn $600 or more in gift cards in one year, then yes, we have to claim them. So no worries there. Not yet anyway. But... Here's what still makes no sense to me. If I get points for shopping and get the GC that way, then how would it be any different from buying certain items at say...Target and getting a Target GC? Hmmm...

I'm not going to worry about any of the rest of the survey sites for now. If it looks like I am going to start getting a lot of money or GCs from any one on a consistent basis (hasn't happened yet) then I guess I will try to keep track of it. But the $1 and $3 here and there? Nope.
 
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