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Tax Time! Ask me anything about Ride-share Taxes

Older Chauffeur

Well-Known Member
Thanks for the input! I’m guessing the year end statement will only include my deposits, correct? So I write off mileage at the current rate against the deposits, and that’s all? I don’t pay for my cell phone (my other job provides my phone). What else can I reasonably write off? Thanks!
I don’t drive for U/L, but my understanding is that the gross amount that they show is what the riders paid, including all fees. You show that on your Schedule C and then deduct their fees to get your gross, and then deduct your mileage and other expenses. These include any extras you provide to riders like water. If you get more than the normal amount of car washes (say over once a week) to keep your car clean for clients, a case could be made for that deduction. Maybe @UberTaxPro will comment. I hijacked his thread. 😉 :p
 

SamuelB

Active Member
Some drivers are under the impression that if you are online with Uber and Lyft at the same time you get to claim double the miles because you have both apps on. So basically they are claiming $1.16/mile because they have both apps on. I disagree since having both apps on does not increase your expenses and there is no way the IRS is going to let you double dip. Schedule C asks for total business miles you drove. It doesn't care if it is Uber or Lyft and you can't drive the same mile twice.
What say you?
 

UberTaxPro

Well-Known Member
Past Sponsor
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #184
Some drivers are under the impression that if you are online with Uber and Lyft at the same time you get to claim double the miles because you have both apps on. So basically they are claiming $1.16/mile because they have both apps on. I disagree since having both apps on does not increase your expenses and there is no way the IRS is going to let you double dip. Schedule C asks for total business miles you drove. It doesn't care if it is Uber or Lyft and you can't drive the same mile twice.
What say you?
You're 100% correct. Don't double dip unless it's an ice cream cone! The IRS holds you responsible for your record keeping, not Uber or Lyft.
 

LD598

New Member
Hey there UberTaxPro,

I have two questions for you if you’d be so kind as to indulge me.

1. How would you recommend I calculate the percentage of my cell phone bill to write off as a deduction? Since cell phone crevice isn’t something that’s inherently tied to the vehicle, using the percentage of rideshare miles/total miles driven doesn’t make sense to me. I also don’t imagine there’s an easy way to calculate the cellular data used while driving rideshare as compared to total data used overall. My inclination is to claim half of my annual bill as an expense, but am curious to hear what your take is on this.

2. Here in San Diego, the city requires rideshare drivers to pay for a business tax license every year. It’s horsesh*t, but it’s also another write off. However, coming into 2019, they were sending me notices that said I had to pay the fee for 2019 in full by January 1st. So, I incurred the expense in late December of 2018, even though the license was technically an expense for 2019. Can I still write this off as a 2019 expense or does the fact that I paid for it in late 2018 make that problematic?

Thanks much for your insight.
 

SamuelB

Active Member
1. How would you recommend I calculate the percentage of my cell phone bill to write off as a deduction? Since cell phone crevice isn’t something that’s inherently tied to the vehicle, using the percentage of rideshare miles/total miles driven doesn’t make sense to me. I also don’t imagine there’s an easy way to calculate the cellular data used while driving rideshare as compared to total data used overall. My inclination is to claim half of my annual bill as an expense, but am curious to hear what your take is on this.
I'm not a tax expert nor do I play one on TV. I do claim 75% of my phone. I have no personal life so any review of my calls/text will show the majority are business related. I also save a copy of my iPhone Screen Time report every week wich shows the amount of time spent on each app. My work related apps are always the most.
 

UberTaxPro

Well-Known Member
Past Sponsor
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #187
Hey there UberTaxPro,

I have two questions for you if you’d be so kind as to indulge me.

1. How would you recommend I calculate the percentage of my cell phone bill to write off as a deduction? Since cell phone crevice isn’t something that’s inherently tied to the vehicle, using the percentage of rideshare miles/total miles driven doesn’t make sense to me. I also don’t imagine there’s an easy way to calculate the cellular data used while driving rideshare as compared to total data used overall. My inclination is to claim half of my annual bill as an expense, but am curious to hear what your take is on this.

2. Here in San Diego, the city requires rideshare drivers to pay for a business tax license every year. It’s horsesh*t, but it’s also another write off. However, coming into 2019, they were sending me notices that said I had to pay the fee for 2019 in full by January 1st. So, I incurred the expense in late December of 2018, even though the license was technically an expense for 2019. Can I still write this off as a 2019 expense or does the fact that I paid for it in late 2018 make that problematic?

Thanks much for your insight.
Yes, you're correct there is no easy way to allocate cell phone bills. Pick a reasonable method stick with it consistently. Your 50% sounds reasonable as does @SamuelB method at 75% to me.

The business tax question depends: Did you deduct the expense in 2018? if yes you can't deduct again in 19.

It also depends on your accounting method which is a selection you make on your tax return. If you've selected accrual, then yes, you can deduct in 2019. If you selected cash, then no, you can't deduct in 2019.

With the cash method you can amend your 2018 return and take the deduction for 2018.
 

LD598

New Member
Thanks for the feedback. I used the cash method in 2018 since that seems to be how both Lyft and Uber do their end of year accounting. I did not write this expense (2019 license) off in 2018, but I did write that year’s Business Tax license off, which was charged in January of 2018. Sounds like I’m SOL on this one since I paid the tab for 2019 in 2018 and use the cash method. Lesson learned. I’ll be sure to pay the fee for 2020 on January 1st, 2020.
 

Darrell Green Fan

Active Member
So will the Uber app track miles even if you are outside of your territory where you can accept rides? In theory someone could drive to California and deduct all the miles even though they aren't really ride share driving.
 

NTXDFWDriver2017

Active Member
I went to H&R Block once years ago because I got tangled up in an OID and didn't know how to handle it from a tax perspective. Never again. The woman that I worked with there was clueless. After about 20 minutes, it became painfully clear to me that I understood this stuff better than she did. Lesson learned. The only time you go to H&R Block is if you have a very simple return that you can do yourself, and if that is the case, why go to H&R Block at all?
Dont go to hr and block for taxes they have no idea on how to file taxes as a rideshare driver!
 

MrLightRail

New Member
Post automatically merged:

Can I deduct miles from home to the first ride? Also between rides the mileage ? If so I will go back and add up all those miles. Also will keep track from here on. Is using UBER weekly sheet best for proof? Thanks in advance for any info. Retired but don't want to end up paying taxes I don't have to.
If you have your app on, and available for pickups, yes.I do this on the oft chance I'll get a rider on my way to my "hunting grounds".
 
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