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5 Income Tax Tips For Notaries And Signing Agents

Get five income tax tips for Notaries and Signing Agents.

Updated 1-30-19 with deadlines for the 2018 tax year. 

April is just around the corner, which means it's time for Notaries to get their income tax returns ready for the 2018 tax year. There are five tips Notaries should consider when preparing to file income tax, according to David M. Green, a Notary and owner of David M. Green Bookkeeping and Tax Service in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

These are general guidelines only, and every person’s tax situation can differ. If you have specific questions about your income tax situation, contact the IRS or a qualified tax advisor.

1. Reporting Notarization Fees
 

According to IRS Publication 17, all fees received specifically for notarial acts should be included in gross income — the amount of money received before anything is deducted — on a Schedule C or Schedule C-EZ (Form 1040). Notarization fees are not subject to self-employment tax, but be sure to check with a qualified tax professional or the IRS if you have questions or if there are other factors that could affect how you report your income.

2. Notaries Paying Self-Employment Tax
 

Mobile Notaries must carefully itemize notarial versus non-notarial fees from loan signing assignments. If you are a self-employed Notary Signing Agent, IRS Publication 17 states that you must pay self-employment tax if you had net earnings of $400 or more from fees for services other than notarizing documents (for example, traveling to a signer’s home, delivering completed loan document packages, etc.). Any income falling into this category must be declared on an IRS Form 1040, Schedule SE for self-employment tax purposes.

3. 1099-MISC
 

If you’re working as an independent contractor for different companies and lenders, you can expect to receive a 1099-MISC Form (for “Miscellaneous Income”) from any company that paid you $600 or more to perform loan document signing assignments. If a company paid you less than $600 for loan signing assignments during the year, it is not required to send you a 1099-MISC (though some may still send you the form) — but you still may be required to report that income on your taxes, so keep careful records of all earnings throughout the year.

4. Keeping Accurate Records
 

Keep careful track of all your tax-related information. For example, if you intend to deduct your mileage for mobile Notary assignments, you should keep a detailed mileage log showing the date and how many miles you traveled for each assignment, either on paper or electronically. There are a few good apps such as MileIQ, Milebug and MileTracker for smartphones that keep track of mileage on a daily basis. 

5. Home Office Deductions


The home office deduction allows you to claim as business expenses a portion of both deductible expenses, such as mortgage interest and real estate taxes, and otherwise nondeductible personal expenses including utilities, home insurance, repairs and depreciation. However, you must keep all statements and receipts to substantiate these claims. Be careful when claiming a deduction for using part of your home as an office. Home office deductions have very strict requirements, though there is a simplified home office deduction option also available. As a general rule, the IRS regulations for home office deductions require that the space is used exclusively and regularly as your principal place of business or as a meeting place for clients and customers in order to be claimed as an income tax deduction. 

2018 Tax Deadline Reminder
 

For this upcoming tax season, the deadline for individual tax returns will be Monday, April 15, 2019 (for Maine and Massachusetts residents, the deadline is Wednesday, April 17, 2019).

David Thun is an Associate Editor at the National Notary Association.

Additional Resources:

Notary Gadget

 

32 Comments

Add your comment

Dolores

16 Feb 2015

Thank you so much for all the informative topics you share and educate us. Keep up the great work!

John McCoy

16 Feb 2015

As a mobile Notary, a typical re-fi signing has 6, 8 or more Notary seals. In FL, if $10. per Notarization is applied and entered on form SE, this amount in some cases would completely negate any income from the signing. How are Notary fees separated from the overall fee paid for the signing? This is very confusing.

Michael A Aloe

16 Feb 2015

We all work very hard in this business to overpay our taxes.

JACQUELINE FATTIBENE

16 Feb 2015

HOW MUCH CAN WE DEDUCT FOR EACH JURAT AND ACKNOWLEGDEMENT?

National Notary Association

17 Feb 2015

Hello, Please see Tip 1, "Reporting Notarization Fees," above.

Melanie Moder

16 Feb 2015

How can I get a copy of my last renewal application?

National Notary Association

17 Feb 2015

Hi Melanie, So we can better assist you, can you please contact us at social@nationalnotary.org with more details of what documentation you need what state you are commissioned in and the best way to contact you, please? Thanks!

Jacqueline Hardges

17 Feb 2015

I'm a new NSA. This is great information.

notary13@hotmail.com

12 Mar 2015

Let's clarify about SE taxes. The actual notary fees are exempt from Federal SE tax; however, just because you CAN take the SE exemption doesn't necessarily mean you SHOULD. Taking the exemption can have affect your future Social Security benefits, as well as disability benefits. NSAs should review their situation with their CPA or EA to determine whether or not taking the exemption is best for them.

National Notary Association

12 Mar 2015

Hello. Information from the IRS regarding Notary fees and self-employment tax is available on page SE-5 at this link: http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/i1040sse.pdf

Charlotte Eddington

16 Jul 2015

Your comment about keeping accurate records, is great. They can help income tax preparation go a lot smoother. I also specifically like your comment about making a detailed log of your information, such as mileage. Thanks for sharing your information.

lucy

26 Jan 2016

The correct day to file your Income Tax Return is April 18, 2016 . Thank you!!!!

National Notary Association

27 Jan 2016

Thank you for letting us know! We've updated the stories to the correct date.

Beth Hancock'

27 Jan 2016

Speaking as an enrolled agent who is also a notary I wanted to point out that the home office does not need to be a separate room. You can get the deduction even if you use a portion. For example you have an open concept first floor of 1000 sq feet in your 2500 sq ft home. Your "office" is a corner comprising 50 square feet. You can use that 50 sq feet for calculating a deduction. Alternatively even if you have a separate room you may not be able to deduct the whole room. Let's say you remodel a 500 sq foot basement to use an office. Unless you can explain why you need such a large office, an auditor is likely to allow only a portion, especially if the main use of the office is only storage of notary supplies and bookkeeping

Evelyn

02 Mar 2016

Does a conference call, or phone calls only held in that location of your home qualify as a meeting place with and for your clients/customers?

National Notary Association

07 Mar 2016

Hello Evelyn. For questions regarding special case or unusual deduction claims, please contact a qualified tax preparer or tax advisor.

Fermin Marengo

04 Jun 2016

The ten days waiting (cooling of) period for a contract cancellation signed December 23, 2015, taking into consideration holidays of the 25th of December and January 1, 2016, when is the valid day for cancellation within the law?

National Notary Association

06 Jun 2016

Hello. We cannot provide legal advice regarding cancellation of a contract. Please consult a qualified attorney for assistance.

Gina Jamison

13 Feb 2017

Thank you for the information. This year is particularly tough. I bought a new car when my old car blew up. And I'm having a heck of a time figuring out how to input this information. Any advise?

Judith S. McDanniel

01 Mar 2017

Is it true the first $600.00 one earns from each signing company is tax deductible ?

Sandy Kon

07 May 2017

I didn't find any mention of deducting fees for each notary seal in the publication. Is this even a real thing? I don't want to pay H & R Block $75 dollars to find out it isn't a real deduction. Thank you

National Notary Association

09 May 2017

Sandy, we're sorry but because every Notary's tax situation is different, you would need to speak to a qualified tax attorney or tax preparation professional to ask about any deductions regarding your Notary seal.

Jean

08 Jun 2017

I perform Notary acts at my current place of employment. At this time there are no fees (customer or non-customer) but my employer is considering charging a flat fee. Can my employer charge for my notary services?

National Notary Association

08 Jun 2017

Hi Jean. To help us answer your question, can you please tell us what state you are commissioned in?

Bo Ssekyanzi

21 Jun 2017

As a provider of Notary Public service, I depend on the income from this service as a small business operator. What items should I include on the IRS Tax form?

National Notary Association

21 Jun 2017

Hello. IRS Publication 17 has information on reporting notarization fees on your income tax: https://www.irs.gov/publications/p17/index.html

Maria Ferrell

12 Feb 2018

This is a great inspiring article. I am pretty much pleased with your good work. You put really very helpful information. Keep it up. Keep blogging. Looking to reading your next post. Tiger Financial Service provides insurance

michelle

26 Feb 2018

Notary Tax Info

Karen M Spain

03 Jan 2019

Is it safe to use 3rd party such as notary gadget to keep book keeping info for taxes

Irene Diaz

10 Feb 2019

This is a good start to collecting tax info... anything you need/use for your business can be written off....its possible to write off your lifestyle....good record keeping is the key!! And the knowledge of how.

ian greig

24 Mar 2019

Tax info for Notaries is difficult to find. Go to: IRS Publication 17. page SE-5, center column, Para 2.

Afton Jackson

19 Sep 2019

I highly agree that people consider keeping tax-related data is usually neglected. It does not hurt to keep track of records when your money is at stake. If facilitated well, these can highly benefit everyone in the business. If ever, I will need an enrolled agent to help meld my ideas in my small business.

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