WHEN to mark down Milage

Ewraith

New Member
HI all, I'm going to make this short but detailed because I can't find a damn answer on this.

I've been driving for lyft for about 2 months but am now starting to take mileage. I live in Brooklyn,NY but lyft in Jersey City. My main question is, do I mark down my odometer the second I get into Jersey, or do I start when I leave my house in NY. (Part 2) do I need to track my mileage ONLY when I'm picking someone up and dropping them off or can I track it the whole time I'm in jersey working until I head home.

Reason why I ask is because as everyone else, there are times when we drive around waiting for a ride, do we mark that mileage down? Like we're waiting to get business or its strictly only when we're dealing with a customer.
 

Older Chauffeur

Well-Known Member
Record your odometer reading when you sign on to the app and are ready to accept pings. This is pretty well covered in the discussions in this forum with tax professionals, which I am not.
 

rperez14

New Member
HI all, I'm going to make this short but detailed because I can't find a damn answer on this.

I've been driving for lyft for about 2 months but am now starting to take mileage. I live in Brooklyn,NY but lyft in Jersey City. My main question is, do I mark down my odometer the second I get into Jersey, or do I start when I leave my house in NY. (Part 2) do I need to track my mileage ONLY when I'm picking someone up and dropping them off or can I track it the whole time I'm in jersey working until I head home.

Reason why I ask is because as everyone else, there are times when we drive around waiting for a ride, do we mark that mileage down? Like we're waiting to get business or its strictly only when we're dealing with a customer.
When driving for Uber /lift whatever, all the driving around, driving to pick passengers, waiting driving, all counts. Keep accurate records. I personally use everlace for this.
 

Ewraith

New Member
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #4
Well knowing that, lyft records how many miles you drive while you're in driver mode. Will that be enough for the IRS? I don't see any better documented proof than the actual app itself
 

LAuberX

Well-Known Member
Moderator
app on? write down odometer.

done for the day with app now off? write down the odometer.

simple.
 

rperez14

New Member
Well knowing that, lyft records how many miles you drive while you're in driver mode. Will that be enough for the IRS? I don't see any better documented proof than the actual app itself
Hi,
I decided to answer your questions in details.

When to mark down mileage?

This was a question posted by a Lyft driver on the Uber People forum. I wrote a short answer suggesting to track all business related mileage by using a mobile app. I recommended Everlance since this is the app that I personally use. No affiliation.

After my suggestion, then he asked if the Lyft driver mode mileage records is enough for the IRS.

Another member suggested to write down – I think he meant manually - the odometer count before and after starting to Lyft.

Let me kill two birds with one stone here.
I am going to answer this question in details.

Let’s begin.

Lyft and Uber only keep track of the mileage when the client is sitting in your car. They don’t keep track of the mileage you drive when you go to pick up the client, and when you go to the next client. Again, Uber app, and Lyft driver mode only keep track of the mileage while the client is on your car.

Every mileage you drive in Uber/Lyft hours counts. Not just driver mode or Uber on-trip mileage.

Very Important:

The moment you start your app and accept the first trip of the day, your tracking mileage duty starts, and it ends in your last trip of your business day.

I learned this with a client who works with Uber and Lyft here in New York. He literally keeps track of all the mileage he drives around. When we were comparing mileage tracking records with Uber vs Lyft vs the mileage tracker app he uses on the side; the mileage tracking app had way more miles recorded.

Key resource: IRS Publication 463 – Topic 510 Business use of car.

Let’s keep in mind that this client of mine keeps track of every mileage he drives during all hours he is driving for Uber and Lyft. And, this is what I recommend you do.

Keep accurate bookkeeping of your business mileage.

Will that be enough for the IRS?

Good question.

In Uber and Lyft, the mileage is reported in your tax summary with no details. When you get your tax summary from Lyft and/or Uber, you’ll see a breakdown of all your earnings, 1099-K, 1009-Misc, etc. On that page you’ll also find your driver mode miles.

It looks something like this:

Unfortunately, this is not the right format the IRS suggest you use for keeping track of your mileage.

If you are ever audited by the IRS, you have to show your mileage records in the following format:

DATE

STARTING MILEAGE

ENDING MILEAGE

DESTINATION

PURPSE

MILES DRIVEN

I’ll let you decide if you want to write down odometer information. It’ll take a miracle for you to do this all day, all year round.

Challenge: If anyone brings me a hand written mileage record, I’ll prepare their personal income tax return for free.

If you want to take advantage of the standard mileage deduction, you must keep detailed information about your business mileage.

Uncle Sam is a very complicated guy. You want to make sure you have your bookkeeping straight.

I know many clients who have failed to provide accurate records of bookkeeping and ended up paying penalties. If you started to work with Lyft now, I strongly suggest you keep everything in order. Self-employed individuals get audited very ease, especially taxi drivers.

Before the Uber and Lyft generation, it was very hard for taxi drivers to keep record of earnings and expenses. Because of this many have been audited. You don’t want to see yourself in that position.

Let’s get down to business and tell you why I use and like Everlance.

I have a technical background, before working as a full time tax prep, I use to work as an IT support dude at a hospital. Testing new technology is a hobby I love.

I have tested lots of mileage tracking apps and so far Everlance is the only app I like.

Here is why.

Once you download the app and configure it, this app will track every trip in details from point A to point B. It shows the following details:

- Miles driven per trip.

- How much you get for your tax deduction per trip.

- Point A and point B addresses and map directions.

- Date and time of your trip.

- It lets you take pictures of business receipt and save them in the app.

- It saves everything to your personal cloud account.

The beauty of this app is that you don’t have to look at the app for every trip. At the end of your Uber/Lyft work day, you can take a few minutes to swipe and categorize your trips.

And the sweet part, the app uses a report system that gives you every detail for each trip. The report gets sent to your email in an excel format, so you can keep it handy in case you get audited.

See this sample data.

In conclusion

I sound like a broken record when I say this, but please, keep track of your mileage and sharpen your bookkeeping skills. I’ve seen this over and over when clients get questioned about their business records and don’t have a straight answer.

Don’t fall into the “I don’t have time trap”, I hear this a lot from clients, but at the end of the day, you are responsible for what gets reported on your personal income tax return. Uncle Sam does not care how, when or who prepared your tax return. You alone are responsible.

Also, I always suggest to my self-employed clients to sign up for audit protection. This is an additional service that you have to pay for, but in case of an audit, protection plus will take care of the details.

Google: Protection-Plus or Audit assistant.

Good luck with your Lyft driving. Tax season is around the corner, keep your bookkeeping straight.

Thanks for reading.
 

TheBlank

Active Member
I been using TripLog. I log from the time I leave my house to drive til I pull back in when I'm done
 

Older Chauffeur

Well-Known Member
What about gas used ? Do I have to fillup before and after ? How do I keep gas used separate ??
No need if you are using standard mileage rate. If you are using actual expenses, you still need odometer logs to determine business/personal use percentages, which are then used to figure the split on all operating costs to determine the business use deduction.
 
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