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How do you keep track of miles for tax purposes?

Freckles74

New Member
I am writing down the mileage on my car when I go online and then writing down the miles when I go offline. Then taking my mileage and deducting the miles listed on app the to get a total to claim for tax purposes. For example the mileage on my car is 4000 when I turn on the app. My mileage is 4221.60 when I turn off the app. So that's 221.60 miles then I minus the miles on the Lyft app 60.8 so I am writing down 160.8 miles for tax purposes? The mile difference is returning from airports, driving to pick ups, etc... Does this sound correct?

As long as the app is on and I'm driving (to and from) taking rides I can claim the miles right?
 

Christinebitg

Well-Known Member
I keep a memo open on my phone, to use for making notes. Those notes always include starting mileage and ending mileage, as well as start time, end time, and that kind of stuff.

When I finish driving that day, I email it to myself. That also serves to back up my memo, since gmail saves it basically forever.
 

Seamus

Well-Known Member
Although there is some disagreement in what is required, (most seem to just track total miles) the safest bet (to not having your mileage dis-allowed in an audit), is to keep a mileage log that is broken down by each business destination. There is an app called Triplog that I use and it breaks down each business destination (including non trip dead miles). Costs about $4 per month. You will be totally covered. That way you have it both ways, total mileage and the break down of destinations.
 

FLKeys

Well-Known Member
I am writing down the mileage on my car when I go online and then writing down the miles when I go offline. Then taking my mileage and deducting the miles listed on app the to get a total to claim for tax purposes. For example the mileage on my car is 4000 when I turn on the app. My mileage is 4221.60 when I turn off the app. So that's 221.60 miles then I minus the miles on the Lyft app 60.8 so I am writing down 160.8 miles for tax purposes? The mile difference is returning from airports, driving to pick ups, etc... Does this sound correct?

As long as the app is on and I'm driving (to and from) taking rides I can claim the miles right?
You are cheating yourself out of deductible miles and your trip log does not contain all the required information to satisfy an IRS audit.
If you keep proper mileage logs:

  • If the app is on and you are looking for work than the mileage is deductible.
  • If you were taken out of your normal area and return to your normal area with the app off or in destination mode the mileage is deductible.
  • If you are driving to a store to purchase supplies specifically for rideshare the mileage is deductible.
  • If you are driving to your accountant for business related issues like taxes the mileage is deductible.
  • If you are driving for auto repairs, maintenance, car washes, etc the mileage is deductible percentage based on personal/business use.
I am not a tax professional however this is my understanding of deductible mileage. The key to make it pass an audit is to have a properly detailed log, not just a start the day end the day log like most want to keep.

At the beginning of every year and the end of every year record your odometer reading. This will be used to calculate percentage of use between Business and Personal.

Keep a log with a starting odometer reading and place you started from when you turned on the app. Record every destination, the odometer reading, and any pertinent notes. At the end of the day record the ending destination and odometer reading. Your total miles can easily be calculated from these records. My log includes the activity and basic description as well. I transfer mine into a spreadsheet for safe keeping.

Sample Log:

296736
 
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PlayLoud

Well-Known Member
You are cheating yourself out of deductible miles and your trip log does not contain all the required information to satisfy an IRS audit.
If you keep proper mileage logs:

  • If the app is on and you are looking for work than the mileage is deductible.
  • If you were taken out of your normal area and return to your normal area with the app off or in destination mode the mileage is deductible.
  • If you are driving to a store to purchase supplies specifically for rideshare the mileage is deductible.
  • If you are driving to your accountant for business related issues like taxes the mileage is deductible.
  • If you are driving for auto repairs, maintenance, car washes, etc the mileage is deductible percentage based on personal/business use.
I am not a tax professional however this is my understanding of deductible mileage. The key to make it pass an audit is to have a properly detailed log, not just a start the day end the day log like most want to keep.

At the beginning of every year and the end of every year record your odometer reading. This will be used to calculate percentage of use between Business and Personal.

Keep a log with a starting odometer reading and place you started from when you turned on the app. Record every destination, the odometer reading, and any pertinent notes. At the end of the day record the ending destination and odometer reading. Your total miles can easily be calculated from these records. My log includes the activity and basic description as well. I transfer mine into a spreadsheet for safe keeping.

Sample Log:

View attachment 296736
Not saying you're wrong, but that's way too much work IMHO. This is my first year doing rideshare, so I guess I'll find out if what I'm doing is enough. I use Stride Tax. I turn it on when I start driving rideshare, and turn it off when I'm done. It does keep some location information, but the report only seems to show start and stop locations. In-app, it gives you a map of your route. Uber and Lyft both track your miles (now even when you're waiting for a ping), but there is going to be some overlap when you're waiting for a ping in both apps at the same time.
 

FLKeys

Well-Known Member
Seems like a lot of work but really is not once you get used to it. I have enough down time between pings that I can keep the info updated in the spreadsheet from my tablet.

The wealth of information that can be learned from analyzing the data is an added benefit. I have been able to determine hot spots by day of the week and by area. I tie in other trip data into my spreadsheet to analyse profitability as well. I am convinced this extra effort helps me make a taxable profit doing rideshare part time. I'm sure there is an app out there that can do the same but 1 it probably costs money and 2 from what I have seen they report approximately 3% less miles than actual odometer readings do, that 3% would have been around 420 miles for me last year.

Ultimately what works for each person is what is best for them.
 

hrswartz

Well-Known Member
I didn't read all the posts on this thread so if I'm being redundant... I don't really care...
My car is equipt with a resettable trip odometer, as are most vehicles... I set it to zero before I leave my driveway, and record the number when I return home. That, kiddies, is the entire amount of business miles I've travelled that day. So far, so good...
 

PlayLoud

Well-Known Member
If you have a long time between pings, it probably wouldn't be so bad. When it's busy though... If you get another ride request before you even dropped off the pax, and the drop-off isn't really a place you should stay stopped longer than it takes to let the pax out.

There is a decent chance the GPS is more accurate than your odometer. I'm pretty sure mine is off by 1%. I have a Scan Gauge II hooked up to my ODBII port, and I had to do a 1% offset on the speedometer to match multiple GPS speedometers. I'm assuming would would make my odometer off by 1% as well.
 

hrswartz

Well-Known Member
As I stated in numerous threads... I'm independently wealthy and wouldn't care about the accuracy of my trip odometer. Being a part timer I never make enough to pay any tax as the standard deduction covers my earnings... wow finally a perk for being an older citizen... just celebratin'
 

NGOwner

Active Member
My car is equipt with a resettable trip odometer, as are most vehicles... I set it to zero before I leave my driveway, and record the number when I return home. That, kiddies, is the entire amount of business miles I've travelled that day. So far, so good...
Same here. That coupled with the trip receipts I'd print out should I ever be audited for the $3.97 I eeked out in profit in 2018 will bury the agent in paperwork.

[NG]Owner
 

BigRedDriver

Well-Known Member
Although there is some disagreement in what is required, (most seem to just track total miles) the safest bet (to not having your mileage dis-allowed in an audit), is to keep a mileage log that is broken down by each business destination. There is an app called Triplog that I use and it breaks down each business destination (including non trip dead miles). Costs about $4 per month. You will be totally covered. That way you have it both ways, total mileage and the break down of destinations.
Just started using this. It’s OK, but really keep an eye on it. I’ve been losing up to 10 miles a day. Sometimes it lags and I think I have it ready to go and it doesn’t log the trip.

Might be I need to upgrade my phone, which is likely the reason.
 

Seamus

Well-Known Member
Just started using this. It’s OK, but really keep an eye on it. I’ve been losing up to 10 miles a day. Sometimes it lags and I think I have it ready to go and it doesn’t log the trip.

Might be I need to upgrade my phone, which is likely the reason.
When I first started the free trial I was having the problem losing mileage. (I still kept it on paper while learning as a double check). I went into settings and changed using location from only while on to always use. I then shut off auto start and went to manual mode. Since then it has been pretty darn accurate. Occasionally I have to manually adjust a trip which is easy to do. Occasionally adjust the odometer. All in all once I did those things I have been very happy with it.
 

tohunt4me

Well-Known Member
When I first started the free trial I was having the problem losing mileage. (I still kept it on paper while learning as a double check). I went into settings and changed using location from only while on to always use. I then shut off auto start and went to manual mode. Since then it has been pretty darn accurate. Occasionally I have to manually adjust a trip which is easy to do. Occasionally adjust the odometer. All in all once I did those things I have been very happy with it.
 

Attachments

Karen Stein

Well-Known Member
Tracking miles is basic to making Uber work - and you don't need a fancy app to do it.

Indeed, miles are only one of several bits of information you want to help you run your business. Make no mistake -- driving is a business.

Electronic records have their value, but they haven't replaced old-fashioned pen and paper. I have two types of logbook: the daily and the summary.

My daily log - I have one for each calendar quarter - is a cheap, bound composition book. Each day Gets a page.

Each day I start by recording the odometer on my car and resetting the trip odometer to zero. Using the trip odometer eliminates math, and the permanent odometer is there as a check.

I log my trips. While my primary reason is to identify trend, this also demonstrates how my "dead" miles accumulate.

At the end of the day I enter the trip odometer reading in a cumulative log. In this log each page summarizes the data for several weeks. Totals for each page will be used in preparing my taxes
 
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