Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Thu Feb 9 2017 13:19:59

PayPal's New Reports: Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down?

By: Ina Steiner

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PayPal launched some new features for small businesses this week, and we're wondering what you think of them. In addition to a new mobile app that lets you do more while you're on the go, PayPal launched new reporting capabilities.

It can be frustrating to generate the kind of PayPal reports you need for your business, so it sounds like good news. 

Here's what the company said about it:

"PayPal's new reporting capabilities give our business account holders access to detailed reporting and customizable reports to help them manage common activities such as, staying on top of sales and transactions and basic bookkeeping interactions with accountants and banks."

New updates include:

Activity Download: Built to offer self-service reporting capabilities that allow customizable download of a large set of transaction information, up to three years of historical information and in various formats such as PDF, CSV and QuickBooks-friendly formats.

Statements: Merchants can now get access to a summary of transactions from any date range within the past three years, and the ability to create a monthly or custom statement - all from their mobile device. The summary information includes beginning and ending balance, as well as categories such as Payments Received, Payments Sent, and Fees.

Were you satisfied with PayPal's previous reporting capabilities, or will the new reports make your life easier?

Take a look at the full announcement, and let us know what you think of the other changes as well.




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Readers Comments

Perminate Link for PayPal's New Reports: Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down?   PayPal's New Reports: Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down?

by: FeelingFroggy This user has validated their user name.

Thu Feb 9 15:49:27 2017

Just more useless report to jam up the system.....What they should be doing is cleaning up the pages for ease of reading instead of cramming every little thing they can in,


Something like here with all the useless advertisements.

Perminate Link for PayPal's New Reports: Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down?   PayPal's New Reports: Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down?

by: handmedownheaven This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Fri Feb 10 01:32:54 2017

We may be in the minority but we also own a brick & mortar location and our bookkeeper likes them because we accept Paypal here.  It separates our Paypal here sales and our online sales

Perminate Link for PayPal's New Reports: Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down?   PayPal's New Reports: Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down?

This user has validated their user name. by: cfrphoto

Fri Feb 10 01:45:30 2017

It took several days to write code to extract balance affecting PayPal transactions from the downloads provided in the past. I almost started to believe that the PayPal account did not balance. Worse, import of PayPal transactions into Quicken is unsatisfactory because only the net amount is reported. This means that amounts in Quicken will not match the PayPal 1099 amounts. I don't know if the new reporting will be better. When I tried it last year at tax time, the reports did not provide enough data to balance the account. I am not sure if PayPal really understands the reporting needs of eBay sellers. Even simple things like matching names does not work because the names and addresses in PayPal don't match eBay. If PayPal picked up the eBay Custom Label (SKU) and included it in reporting, the process of extracting PayPal data into a data warehouse would be simplified.

Perminate Link for PayPal's New Reports: Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down?   PayPal's New Reports: Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down?

This user has validated their user name. by: VV

Fri Feb 10 08:16:06 2017

No.

Perminate Link for PayPal's New Reports: Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down?   PayPal's New Reports: Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down?

by: timeaftertime This user has validated their user name.

Fri Feb 10 10:29:30 2017

@handmedownheaven - You are citing what is probably one of the best uses, certainly helpful in your situation.

As for my own operation - USELESS. Even their 1099 is useless because it is not accurate, lumping personal and business transactions in together. Accordingly I keep my own detailed, documented records for my CPA.

My absolute worst complaint about trying to use PP records is that I cannot sort sales/purchases by EMAIL address that made the transaction. I have several email addresses registered (one or two for personal use only and one or two for business only) and have never been able to get PP to sort records by email address - it lumps ''everything'' together, funds either ''IN'' or ''OUT''. USELESS for me.

I DO need to use the ''customer refunds'' function and this year had T-H-E worst time finding how to request a download of that - the ''new improved'' view is horrid. And to make it even worse, any time I found ''instructions'' somewhere, a step (or more) was always omitted so I was going round and round.  

I am still not sure how I ended up with actually finding the report of refunds I was looking for (in the ''Classic'' view), but I bookmarked it and I sure hope the bookmark holds.



Perminate Link for PayPal's New Reports: Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down?   PayPal's New Reports: Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down?

by: timeaftertime This user has validated their user name.

Fri Feb 10 10:35:26 2017

@cfrphoto - Ye gads don't make a good suggestion, they may try it and the results will be even more unworkable!

''NOTHING'' will seems to match the 1099s, I am sure I am not the only one, my CPA gets a copy of mine for our files but calls it a joke. Nothing reconciles correctly with them, at least that's been my experience. So I just print it for paper documentation and keep on doing my own thing with reports of actual transactions and amounts.  

Perminate Link for PayPal's New Reports: Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down?   PayPal's New Reports: Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down?

by: toyman This user has validated their user name.

Fri Feb 10 11:02:53 2017

@timeaftertime - Be a little careful with the use (or non-use) of the 1099. We used to just file our own (accurate) reports on spending selling for our taxes, but the IRS DOES look at the PayPal 1099 total.

We got a nice letter three years ago, asking why our numbers didn't match PayPal's reporting numbers.
We were able to explain what we had done to get our numbers, but we now make sure to start with the 1099 number and work from there, to avoid any unpleasantness with the IRS folks.

Perminate Link for PayPal's New Reports: Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down?   PayPal's New Reports: Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down?

This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Fri Feb 10 11:20:27 2017

At least I no longer have to hunt for my working capital loan balance, they just put it on the front of the summary page where it's right in plain site.

FINALLY

Perminate Link for PayPal's New Reports: Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down?   PayPal's New Reports: Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down?

by: Toledo Maude This user has validated their user name.

Fri Feb 10 12:22:21 2017

As a former accountant, I keep life simple and use my own homemade spreadsheet (on Lotus - how old world is that?)

Daily, I know where I am with sales and income, reconcile my bank accounts, and keep on top of my inventory with each purchase and sold inventory.  Using Paypal and eBay reports would only ''muddy up my bookkeeping pond''. One size does not fit all sellers.

But to give Paypal credit, they did make three changes that improved my online sales life.

First, Paypal ceased freezing my sellers account and those of other sellers for any reason.  Two, Paypal stopped freezing buyers accounts allowing timely payments.   Thirdly with the generous help of the Feds, Paypal (and other banks) ceased holding on to transfers from my Paypal account to my bank.  Now the transfers are overnight and in my bank account the next morning.  This ended Paypal holding my money for 3 to 4 days earning interest that they did not deserve.

The advice about Paypal's nearly useless 1099's is quite true.  When preparing your business Schedule C, be sure to start with Paypal's 1099 that will match the Schedule C the IRS has from Paypal when they review your tax return.  Then make adjustments as needed.  This will keep the IRS happy.  

Perminate Link for PayPal's New Reports: Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down?   PayPal's New Reports: Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down?

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Fri Feb 10 12:53:28 2017

@timeaftertime

PP has always offered a report that you can download to Excel and sort any way you want to sort it.  This report would also help you to sort out your personal transactions from your business ones.

It is actually a pretty detailed report that you can sort and subtotal stuff to suit your particular needs.  It can be a bit time consuming, depending on how many transactions you have in a given period of time, but it is a useful report.

PP did not set up the rules that govern how a 1099 reports income.  That was the IRS.  The 1099 represents your Gross receipts received from customers.  It does NOT represent any refunds you may have given them for any reason and that is by design.  So you need to reduce the numbers on the 1099 by whatever amount you refunded your customers for any reason.

The numbers on the 1099 are your Gross Sales WITHOUT any deductions for refunds you issued during the same period of time.

Perminate Link for PayPal's New Reports: Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down?   PayPal's New Reports: Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down?

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Fri Feb 10 13:39:47 2017

There is also a report called "reconciliation" on PP.  Or at least there use to be, I honestly haven't checked this year.  But this reconciliation report can be found on the same page as you find your PP 1099.

This report is just a simple list of the transactions that make up your 1099 by month.  From this report you can tell exactly what makes up the 1099 number.  So then all you need to do is take these numbers LESS any refunds you issued and then you have an accurate number for your internet sales that passed through PP.

You can do the same thing with the more detailed report of transaction as well.  This one is just a simple list and often easier to digest and use.

Perminate Link for PayPal's New Reports: Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down?   PayPal's New Reports: Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down?

by: timeaftertime This user has validated their user name.

Fri Feb 10 13:59:12 2017

@Toledo Maude, I would not be so fast to give PP credit - I think it was the Banking Dept, which governs them, that finally got after them to abide by federal regulations governing their type of operation. Back in the old Wild West days they used to wreak absolute havoc freezing entire accounts with abandon, when there was only ONE question involving ONE transaction.

@ toyman and Marie,

Thank you for the great ideas and commiseration.

I have used a higher end CPA firm for years and try to do the best possible job documenting everything. I print the PP 1099 and give it to her with numerous documents, including a complete list of all my sales income and the sources where it came from (see below).

I was aware that the 1099 is just ''gross'' and does not include refunds, only ''income'' from PP paid transactions. It doesn't correctly reflect my actual income because I also accept other forms of payment. It only reflects what was collected via PayPal. It's a  waste of my time to download/sort/print.

The only PP report I really want is ''refunds'' because I tend to make a lot of them - for postage overpayments; promised discounts except customer used ''instant'' payment and paid the full price; after-the-fact ''thanks'' for making a multi-item purchase, etc.

I tend to overdo - I actually print out paper reports that document ALL sales, regardless of payment type. I feel better with paper documentation I can actually save in a drawer and look through, in case there is any question about anything. Call me old fashioned, but consequently the ''backup'' for any of my annual tax filings is about 6 inches thick.  

What I actually print out on paper and use as documentation to determine my actual income from sales:
1. Full report of all refunds made (mostly PP but infrequently checks - so the PP ''Refunds'' report is not inclusive, either!) ;
2. Full year of all ebay sales, item by item including selling price/photos (printed monthly from MyEbay);
3. Full year of all other online venue sales (from the annual totals reports I get from them), item by item including selling price. Some of these sales are via PP but nearly as many others are checks/money orders, further confusing the idea of a PP 1099;  
4. Full year total of all sales from my rented group shop space (add up the monthly sheet totals);
5. Full year of any ''miscellaneous'' sales not involving any of the above (I print a copy of each sale record and add up the totals at year end).

On a separate sheet of paper given to my CPA, I add up the total of 2,3,4 and 5 above, which is my actual total sales income, which because of the other types of payment included will not agree with the PP 1099.

On other separate lines I document refunds and other appropriate expenses and losses. This all goes to my CPA who gets paid to correctly complete the required forms.

I am not an accountant nor even very good at math, so I really prefer to fork over the $$ to pay a professional, who knows what they are doing. To protect both myself and my CPA I document everything I possibly may need if the IRS questions anything.

If you do your own - I stand in awe.
 

Perminate Link for PayPal's New Reports: Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down?   PayPal's New Reports: Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down?

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Fri Feb 10 14:12:28 2017

@timeaftertime

Yes, I was specific that the reports are only for transactions through PP.  But thank you for reinforcing that if there was some confusion about what I posted earlier.  PP has no way of knowing about any other source of income other than what passes through PP.

PP's 1099 doesn't reflect anyone's actual NET sales by the rules in which IRS set up for income reporting by PP if during the year any refunds were given to customers.

You can get your refunds from downloading the transaction detail report.  If you don't want to look at the other information it has to offer you, just look at the refund, delete anything else.

I always keep my computer backed up on another source at least once a week.  Plus my year end reports and worksheets I keep on my computer as well as a hard copy.  Like you, I'm old fashion about this kind of things.

You could however save some money with you CPA costs if you downloaded the detailed transaction report offered by PP and sorted it in the way you'd like to see it.  It could cut out quite a bit of time for your CPA so they can balance to the 1099 offered by PP.  Of course this is completely up to you.  A couple hours of your time or theirs.  Whatever is best for you.  

You could always give your CPA a copy of the reports on a thumb drive.  That may be an option for you if you don't want to deal with the PP reports.

Perminate Link for PayPal's New Reports: Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down?   PayPal's New Reports: Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down?

This user has validated their user name. by: Don Wagner

Sun Feb 12 20:20:10 2017

PayPal transaction reports never did a satisfactory job of tying back to eBay transactions - usually took me 2-3 hours to manually add rows to my spreadsheets to account for any single PayPay payments for  combined eBay orders. The new reports are completely broken in this respect. Item ID in PayPal for a combined order is like 35 zeroes and Item Title is blank. Takes me 3 times longer now to fix - cutting and pasting from eBay Sales Record - have been on the phone 3 times with PayPal asking what happened to this or that on reports - What a frigging mess!  



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