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Thread: Is compensation from online surveys taxable income?

  1. #1
    Senior Member rosarugosa's Avatar
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    Is compensation from online surveys taxable income?

    Does anyone know? I earned about $150. in check form for doing surveys in 2011 and another $50. in gift cards. I tried searching the IRS website but had no luck finding an answer.

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    From years of doing audits: All income is taxable unless specifically excluded. Yes it is income. Whether it would ever be caught is another question. If the company sends in the info electronically to the IRS, it will probably be matched against your return. If they follow the $600 to file a Form 1099, then it would never be found and is too small to worry about.

    I worked for the IRS for 31 years.

  3. #3
    Senior Member rosarugosa's Avatar
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    Thanks, Sweetana. I figured it probably was, but I don't want to pay any more taxes than I have to
    I'll definitely report it - it's not worth the risk of getting in trouble!

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    I wouldn't bother reporting it. Without a 1099, I don't think IRS would find unless they audited you personally and saw $5 deposits to your bank account. Saying so because I didn't report it when I did surveys -- I didn't keep track of how much I got and didn't mess with it.

  5. #5
    Senior Member bae's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rose View Post
    I wouldn't bother reporting it. Without a 1099, I don't think IRS would find unless they audited you personally and saw $5 deposits to your bank account. Saying so because I didn't report it when I did surveys -- I didn't keep track of how much I got and didn't mess with it.
    That would be deliberately cheating on your taxes...

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    Taxes require decisions be made based on one's ethics and what can be lived with. I want a simple life and try to do nothing that I would want to possibly come back and haunt me later in life.

    I spent years and years explaining missing income letters to people over the phone and in person and would prefer not to get such communications.

    Taxes are way too complex. 30 years ago, I could complete a return, even a business return, with pencil and the forms and maybe a calculator. I did audit reports by hand. Now it requires a computer and specialized program. Talk about unintented consequences (maybe Congress intended this complexity to hide what was really going on?)

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    Ha, I figure it is just less money the government has to spend on war. I can't get too wrapped around the axle about a few dollars. I don't report money I get for stuff I sell on Craigslist either. And I don't feel unethical about it. I was a corporate tax accountant for 20 years and took advantage of every loophole available in the tax code for corporations. That is ethical. My few dollars unreported isn't. Whose to say?

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    Senior Member bae's Avatar
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    Character is what you are in the dark...

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    Senior Member Mangano's Gold's Avatar
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    Yikes, I don't thkink it is necessarily a morality play. I think that reporting "secret" income tells you something admirable about the person. I think not reporting it doesn't tell you much (at least when dealing with these small amounts).

    Aside #1: Selling sonething on Craigslist may or may not be a taxable transaction. It depends on if you made a profit on the item. If you are selling your old shoes it is pretty unlikely you are getting more than you paid for them. .....But if you find $20 on the sidewalk that indeed is taxable.

    If I may add a little levity. This short youtube video Gross Income fun and catchy (Section 61 refers to where in the Internal Revenue Code Gross Income is addressed).

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=361o5rqdPi8
    Freedom is being easy in your harness. - paraphrasing Robert Frost and Gerry Spence

  10. #10
    Senior Member rosarugosa's Avatar
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    Mangano: That is a hoot! I hadn't been back to this thread, so I just saw the video today
    Bae & Rose: On the morality angle, if one reports income because one does not wish to get in trouble with the IRS, especially over a measly $150., I'm not necessarily convinced that it has anything to do with moral rectitude.

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