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Quiz: Tricky Notary payment questions

Many states have laws regulating the fees Notaries can charge for notarial services. But what about travel fees, tips and other non-Notary service fees, and payment methods? Take our quiz to see how well you can answer these tricky Notary payment questions. (Scroll down for detailed answers.)

ANSWERS:

1. If a signer offers you a tip in addition to your Notary fee, you should:

A. Accept it, because state Notary laws don’t apply to tips and gratuities

B. Accept it because you wouldn’t want to offend your customer

C. Decline it because a tip could compromise your impartiality even if allowed by state law

D. Decline it unless you list it as a separate non-Notary expense in your journal

ANSWER: C. Notaries accepting tips and gratuities could create legal and ethical problems. Many state laws limit the maximum amount Notaries may charge for their services. If your state sets a limit on Notary fees, you should not accept tips because if the tip plus the Notary fee exceeds the maximum amount you are allowed to charge for a notarial act, you could face disciplinary penalties for violating Notary laws.

Even if you’re in a state that doesn’t set a maximum Notary fee, tips pose a potential ethical problem. A customer who tips you may expect you a favor the next time you notarize for them, which would compromise your impartiality.

The safest policy is never to accept any tips and gratuities apart from the maximum fee permitted by your state for notarial services.

2. True or False? State laws prohibit Notaries from accepting electronic or online payment for notarial services.

ANSWER: False. Many Notaries have asked the NNA if their state law requires Notary fees to be paid in a specific form, for example, by cash or check. State laws do not address the form in which payment for notarial services is rendered. A Notary may accept payment by cash, check, credit or debit card, or online payment service such as PayPal or Venmo as long as the customer is willing and able to use the payment method in question.

3. Notaries can charge customers a separate travel fee if:

A. Your state laws permit or do not prohibit charging travel fees

B. You do not charge a higher travel fee than your state law allows

C. You follow all state laws and guidelines regarding informing and agreeing on travel fees with customers.

D. All of the above

ANSWER: D. Mobile Notaries often ask if they can charge a fee for travel time and mileage in addition to the fee for performing a notarization. Before doing so, you need to confirm that your state law permits or does not prohibit charging travel fees. Your state law may be silent on the matter of charging travel fees. This generally means charging a travel fee is not regulated under state law. Be sure to follow all rules regarding how much you may charge. Also, some states have additional requirements such as informing a customer prior to the notarization that a travel fee will be charged, or that the customer must agree to the amount charged. You can find information on individual state travel fee rules in our article “A guide to Notary travel fees across the United States” and our video “Notaries and travel fees.”

4. True or False? Notary fees do not have to be reported on your annual income tax return.

ANSWER: False. While notarization fees are not subject to self-employment tax, IRS Publication 17  says that all fees received specifically for notarizations should be included in gross income on a Schedule C or Schedule C-EZ of Form 1040. More general information about Notary fees and income tax can be found in our article “5 income tax tips for Notaries and Signing Agents.” If you have questions about specific business or personal factors that might affect your income tax returns, consult with the IRS or a qualified tax professional.

David Thun is the Editorial Manager at the National Notary Association.

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24 Comments

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Saronda Turner

07 Mar 2024

Thanks

Darlene Green

13 Mar 2024

Very informative.

bjaytae@gmail.com

14 Mar 2024

Great info

Sandra coles

18 Mar 2024

I lost my notary license do to fire at my home my husband and I were devastated by this fire my notary license expired that year we lost everything thank God we survived it took about two years we started to remember sentimental value that was missing it took my husband a year more to get his drivers licenses we’re here in Baltimore md I share this story because we didn’t get to be help we needed because we had a small policy to keep our home

Cindie

18 Mar 2024

Good quiz to refresh notaries knowledge. Thank you

Sharron Fagans

18 Mar 2024

Great info!

Q Qureshi

18 Mar 2024

Excellent documentation and videos

Marsha LIlly

18 Mar 2024

I like these, keep them coming!

Belinda

18 Mar 2024

Very informative

Kita

18 Mar 2024

Helpful reminders-- TY!

Robbie Carvell

18 Mar 2024

Love this. Thank you.

Robbie Carvell

18 Mar 2024

Thank you

Lancelot Anastil

18 Mar 2024

I love it Great refresher

janean.urbanmatrixmag@gmail.com

18 Mar 2024

These really help keep you sharp. I hope there's more to come!

Joanna Bruce

18 Mar 2024

Very Informative Thanks

Martinez Jones

19 Mar 2024

My Dad always said you can't get enough education Once you learn it can't be taken back

Jacqueleen Garcia

19 Mar 2024

Are we allowed to charge a convenience fee in the state of Georgia? Thank you. Scenario: it’s 1 am and I am open 24/7 and I get an urgent call to assist with notarizing a document and they are coming to me and not requiring my Mobile services. Thanks!

National Notary Association

09 Apr 2024

No, convenience fees, administrative fees, clerical fess and similar fees cannot be charged by a Notary Public.

lisa.williams57@yahoo.com

21 Mar 2024

Great info.

lisa.williams57@yahoo.com

21 Mar 2024

Helpful tips.

apena007@att.net

24 Mar 2024

Very helpful tips. Thank you!

Terry S. Prillaman

29 Mar 2024

Excellent quiz, made one think!

Salwynne

30 Mar 2024

I Appreciate This Kindly, 😊 Thanks

Belinda B King

01 Apr 2024

thank you

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