The chronicles of an accounting students dive into RON work

Hey y’all, I just joined and wanted to make something new and fun (hopefully). I’m a junior accounting major in Texas, and decided to dive head first into the RON world. After diligent credit card financing of my licensing and training requirements, I have begun my adventure. I’ve come here to seek my fortune just like everyone else, I’ve been approved for a RON platform and like any other person begun working to make my fortune.

Day 1… caught no calls
Day 2…got 1 call, had to terminate

Day 1-to date-earnings: none yet, but hey, gotta start somewhere!

I hope this seems like an interesting contribution to the community. I’ll try to periodically update with my adventure as I work to build my fortune as a remote online notary accounting student in Texas. Btw I’m somewhat of a developing tax professional so if y’all got any questions you’ll see me around with some helpful responses!


I am truly elated to read the chronicles of your journey into the RON world. Particularly
because you are new to this gig AND, more importantly, have the accounting training that many other newbs don’t have and a lot of oldies have learned the hard way. As this relatively new way of notarizing really is an unknown as to whether or not it’s worth the expense and time invested, your experience and knowledge are invaluable. I’ve been doing signings (not RON) for 30 years and am really excited to see your insights and experience. Please, do keep this up!!! Also, it’s very hard to find tax pros who understand notary/tax, so you just might also get a lot of business from other notaries.


Thanks @Arichter I definitely look forward to future posts. I get very geeky when it comes to numbers. :sweat_smile: While I’m not a cpa yet, next tax season I plan to ask around for common notary tax questions and make a video going through all the IRS’s tax guidance when it becomes available.

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Glad somebody is a numbers geek because I think that’s what most of us lack in the beginning. It’s probably the major reason newbs accept whatever pittance is offered and then it takes them a while to actually realize they’re not making enough (if any) profit.

From many years of reading forums, here are a few common questions/concerns many have asked (& a lot of tax ‘pros’ don’t know) Notary fees are deductible–how, where, wha??? If the deductible notary fees are more than I was paid, can I carry them over to the next signing? (yes, it happens and that answer is NO). And one puzzlement: What IS the IRS code number for a mobile notary business? Wishing you Happy Geeking…

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Ah IRS business codes nothing spells fun quite like staring at a properly formatted pdf document. Honestly I would say choose your best guess, but there are many different suitable codes for notary work. Document preparation services 561410 seems like a solid choice for general work, but if someone exclusively does loan signings a more specific one would probably be preferable.

For notary fees, oddly enough I was randomly researching it the other day :sweat_smile: with fees being deductible I believe the only benefit for notary fees is an exclusion from self employment tax. Typically independent contractors pay around 15% self employment tax on top of income tax, so getting notary fees excluded can save quite a bit of money. The current guidance found on the 1040 schedule c instructions pdf says net profit exclusively from notary fees should not be entered into the Schedule SE, so essentially its just left off. Also if you charge a fee and receive less than the total fee that sounds like a potential “bad debt” business expense which would be reported on schedule c under “other expenses”. Bad debts can be tricky though, first it must be reported into income before deducting so if you charged a $25 notary fee and received $20 you would have to report the $25 income to be able to report the $5 bad debt. In some situations reporting it in this way can be beneficial although the explanation will make this reply a lot longer, some expenses have limits, for example, the home office deduction cannot make you take a loss, it is capped at your total income. In this unique situation, by reporting a $5 increase in notarial fee income to be able to take the bad debt expense, the home office deduction may be able to fully erase the $5 increase in income. After that the $5 bad debt expense would have the potential to put your business into a net loss which would result in non business income being reduced on the 1040 which will lower tax liability (especially with social security if its being taxed because the method to calculate it favors individuals who are able to lower their income through most deductions, but oddly does not include the student loan interest deduction).

And second if a reported bad debt was paid in the future, you’d have to adjust that prior bad debt expense by recognizing the income in the year received. In this obligation, the hypothetical looks like this: charged notary fees of $1,000 in 2021 but received $900. For 2021 taxes a $100 bad debt deduction was recognized. In 2022 someone who underpaid you in 2021 made things right by giving you your $5 back, and now you’ll have to recognize the $5 as income for tax year 2022.

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Oh, you did go down a rabbit hole…I was just making suggestions for your future use.
Also, there is a downside to reducing self-employment tax: you also reduce future SS. One thing very important, particularly these days, is file a loss a bit too often and IRS will declare it a hobby.

I wanna see more about your RON journey.

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Attempting to write down a bad debt also means keeping records of what steps were taken to collect that debt. Without taking these steps means the IRS can deny the write down. The IRS doesn’t specify what collection steps you take, only that they be reasonable an prudent. You can also send the ‘bad debtor’ a 1099-C, cancellation of debt. The cancelled debt come a tax liability for the debtor. Just remember once the debt is cancelled you can’t comeback later and attempt to collect.

While Notary fees are exempt from SE taxes, but must be reported to the IRS on Schedule C (Form 1040); see “Income and Losses Not Included in Net Earnings From Self-Employment” on the Instructions for Schedule SE. Make certain to follow these instructions to the letter or your SE exemption could be denied.

The IRS safe harbor rule indicates you have turned a profit in at least three of five consecutive years, the IRS will presume that you are engaged in it for profit. Your are, however, not obligated to report all of your business expenses. Buy not taking all of your expenses this will make your business profitable. The unreported business expenses non-deductible personal expenses.

This post is for informational purposes only and does not establish a client relationship. Since your situation is unique, always seek the advice of a qualified professional.

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In the State of Oregon notary fees are reportable as income but not subject to self employment taxes.

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