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Tracking miles for business

  • 1.  Tracking miles for business

    Posted 28 days ago
    So I started my business full time last month and I engaged the services of a CPA.  She said that one must keep mileage logs. Luckily I have this information for 2022, but I only recorded business mileage and not personal mileage. and in years prior, I have only recorded the miles driven without beginning/ending odometer readings. Now I am hearing that when keeping a mileage log, one must log every single trip be it business or personal.  Is this how you all do it?

    I did a search on this in the archives and 2015 was the last time this was mentioned, so I thought maybe things had changed a bit.

    I am looking at an app called Mileagewise.  Its a little pricy  - $199.00 for a year, but it is supposed to make all this very easy.

    Thank you

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    Patrick Greene
    OWNER
    Knoxville TN
    (865) 384-6582
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  • 2.  RE: Tracking miles for business

    Posted 28 days ago
    Hello Patrick,
    I take the standard mileage deduction and have only recorded the total mileage for business (per day) and for filing taxes, I would tell my cpa the total miles driven for business for that year.
    She never asked me for more specifics so I felt I was good but I don't know for sure what the requirements are.
    Peter

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    Petrus Janssen
    Peachtree City GA
    (678) 416-8055
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  • 3.  RE: Tracking miles for business

    Member
    Posted 28 days ago
    I estimate the percentage of personal/business use. Currently it's 60/40.  That way 40% of total miles driven in a year are business related.

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    Regards,

    Jon Page
    mailto:jonpage@comcast.net
    http://www.pianocapecod.com
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  • 4.  RE: Tracking miles for business

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 28 days ago
    I do my own taxes. I also do the Standard Mileage Deduction, and I also keep track of biz vs. personal mileage (because of the SchedC check box "Is your business vehicle available for personal use"). So I keep a little calendar notebook in the car, in which I record the starting everyday (whether the day's driving will be biz or personal). I do annotate each to indicate one or the other, which makes it easy to get an accurate biz % of mileage (something that would stand up under an audit).

    To elaborate further, if, during a shop week, I have a bank deposit, that trip is a business one, regardless if I also do grocery shopping on the way back.

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    William Ballard RPT
    WBPS
    Saxtons River VT
    802-869-9107

    "Our lives contain a thousand springs
    and dies if one be gone
    Strange that a harp of a thousand strings
    should keep in tune so long."
    ...........Dr. Watts, "The Continental Harmony,1774
    +++++++++++++++++++++
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  • 5.  RE: Tracking miles for business

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 28 days ago

    Like Petrus, I only record business mileage. With my start and end mileage every year, it makes it easy to figure out the personal mileage if I ever need to. 

    I just keep track of it in Notes on my phone, backed up daily in the cloud. I tally the mileage at the end of the day, then once a month add it all together. Certainly not the most tech savvy way to go about it but it's free and accurate, and only adds one minute to the day, and another five minutes at the end of the month. 

    When I do my taxes at the end of the tax year I’ll print it off and keep it with my receipts, in addition to saving it in the cloud.

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    Benjamin Sanchez, RPT
    Piano Technician / Artisan
    (256) 947-9999
    www.professional-piano-services.com
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  • 6.  RE: Tracking miles for business

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 28 days ago
    Patrick

    My son is a CPA and does my taxes, so I know this is how it can be done. I record my mileage on January 1 and the mileage on Dec 31. But you also need to keep your appointment calendar for 7 years. That gives you where you’ve driven to appointments trips and personal trips.

    If you’re working from home you can deduct the mileage from you house to your first appointment until you get home from your last appointment.

    For many years I took 20% for personal mileage. Then, when I was audited once, and the IRS asked for details of my trips, I found out I only drove 10% for personal reasons.

    Don’t sweat the details. You’ll find that you drive about the same amount from year to year. Any difference will not create an audit. Make it easy for yourself.

    Wim.

    Sent from my iPhone




  • 7.  RE: Tracking miles for business

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 28 days ago
    I use Triplog.  It's about $30/year.  It is a very comprehensive app that not only tracks mileage, but also expenses like oil changes, gas purchases and other expenses.  It will also generate reports for the end of the year, with totals for each purpose (business, personal, charity, Medical, Moving, Uncategorized).  It uses your phone while you drive, and then syncs in the background to the cloud when you're home, so you can easily print out the reports or edit your trips if need be.  There are many ways that it actually tracks the mileage and how it interacts with the car.  It has bluetooth which can connect to your car via the OBD-2 plug under the dash with a device that plugs into it.  Or you can get a USB beacon which plugs into a USB port on the dash or radio.  All of these use your GPS tracking in your phone.  They also have a device that independently tracks your mileage with its own GPS capability, and then sends the information in real time, or you can manually download it when you get home.

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    Paul McCloud, RPT
    Accutone Piano Service
    www.AccutonePianoService.com
    pavadasa@gmail.com
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  • 8.  RE: Tracking miles for business

    Posted 28 days ago
      |   view attached
    Dude, don't you dare pay anything for this! Haha. Here is an Excel file you can use for free (assuming Numbers exported everything correctly for use with Excel). If that doesn't work, let me know and I'll email the file directly. I use Numbers for iOS, and I'd be glad to email that Numbers file to whoever wants it.

    The spreadsheet has the mileage formulas in it. You might have to adjust the formulas based on how your device uses the template. What I do is rather simple and should be apparent from the data I've left in the spreadsheet. Enter the date and miles traveled for every day or trip you make. At the end of the year, the total is already calculated with the formula at the bottom. Just get in the habit of doing this every day, and it'll be easy at year's end.

    The attached file is from 2021. I had two different vehicles that year; therefore, two separate formulas for adding the respective miles. You can delete the formula for Car 1 easily enough, but you'll need to adjust the formula for the year-end total to include the rows for Car 2.

    Also in the same spreadsheet is a separate table for medical miles. Medical miles are deductible (at a different rate), so I decided to include it in the business mileage spreadsheet.

    Here's a tip for increasing business mileage. Think creatively about business miles. Try to turn your "normal" driving into legitimate business miles. For instance, if your Post Office is on the way to the grocery store, go to the PO first. Those miles to the PO are legitimate business miles. It doesn't matter if you go somewhere else after that. (Obviously, only deduct the miles to and from the PO.) Or, if going to Lowe's or Harbor Freight, you might need something business-related (mineral spirits, say). So turn the trip into a business trip. You did buy something business related there, right?​

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    John Formsma
    New Albany MS

    "Sneak up on optimal."
    --Ron Nossaman
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    Attachment(s)

    xlsx
    Mileage Template.xlsx   12 KB 1 version


  • 9.  RE: Tracking miles for business

    Posted 27 days ago
    I am not going to pay for a pricey app. It looks like I am doing the right thing as regarding the recording of business miles.

    Thank you all for your replies!

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    Patrick Greene
    OWNER
    Knoxville TN
    (865) 384-6582
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  • 10.  RE: Tracking miles for business

    Posted 8 days ago
    I don't know if you have a iPhone or if its available for other phones, I use Everlance.  It tracks mileage, you pick if its personal mileage or business mileage.  If you add a bank account it tracks deposits and expenses, you pick if the items are business or not.  Best of all.... it was either free or very inexpensive.

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    Jeffrey Gegner
    Tipton IN
    (765) 860-5900
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  • 11.  RE: Tracking miles for business

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 8 days ago
    I'm still in the stone age. I use a paper schedule book. Each morning, I zero my car's meter. At the end of the day, I simply write the number on that day in my book. I also refuse to pay extra for this app or that gadget. Quickbooks also has a mileage tracking function. I'm too lazy to figure it out.

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    Scott Cole, RPT
    rvpianotuner.com
    Talent, OR
    (541-601-9033
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  • 12.  RE: Tracking miles for business

    Posted 8 days ago
    Scott, I am with you on this.  I was going to use a mileage tracking app like Mileagewise, but I am not as technologically efficient as I would like to be.  I was still having to hand enter destinations into the phone and I thought that if I had to do that, it would just be much easier to physically write it down.  So I ordered some of the Adam's mileage logs.  From what I can discern, the IRS needs to see exactly how many miles to and from the work destination.  What I am unclear about is whether the IRS needs to see the mileage I drove to Lowe's, Home depot or the dentist that is outside of business.  Sales folks from Mileagewise keep saying that the IRS will want to know exactly how many miles I drove for personal reasons along with the miles driven for piano related business and I am not sure if that is correct.

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    Patrick Greene
    OWNER
    Knoxville TN
    (865) 384-6582
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  • 13.  RE: Tracking miles for business

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 7 days ago
    Patrick --

    If the IRS catches you including a side trip that is in any way not work related they will call you on it. In other words, as it has been explained to me, if you go directly to the customers home and than directly back to your home/shop, both ways count as work mileage. However, if you make a side trip to the dentist on the way home, and that trip is not work related, that entire trip from the customers home, to the dentist, and then home, according to the IRS, technically counts as a personal trip and can't be deducted. Obviously we're dealing with technicalities here. The IRS is really only interested in trip by trip documented work related mileage. They don't care what you do on your personal miles. They do care about work related mileage documentation, though. So, as only a suggestion, document the round trip to the customers home as work related and subtract however miles out of the way you went on that side trip from the total miles of that work trip and that's your work related miles for that service call.

    I use Excel to document my work miles. (I love the way I can plug in formulas to do all the math for me in neat little columns.) I only document work miles. Anything not work miles is, by definition, personal miles. If I were using the above math, an example of the above trip might look something like this...

    <date>   customer name   start odo reading: 100   end odo reading: 120
    <date>   customer name   start odo reading: 125   end odo reading:

    That missing five miles between end of customer call 1 and the beginning of customer call 2 is the five miles you used to go to the dentist and shows up as personal miles. Or medical miles if you know how to document that correctly.

    I doubt if many piano technicians have ever been audited for questionable tax returns. Our income does not change that much from year to year and there aren't too many ways we can get creative in our bookkeeping. That said, the only time the IRS is ever going to even want to look at your mileage is if you get audited. And that's not going to happen, right?

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    Geoff Sykes, RPT
    Los Angeles CA
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  • 14.  RE: Tracking miles for business

    Member
    Posted 8 days ago
    I'm with Scott on this one. 30 years of Week-at-a-Glance pocket sized appointment books. Since I'm mostly in the shop these days I just record odometer reading when I leave and when I return from a tuning or tunings, then do the subtraction. That's my business miles for the day.

    Record first of year odometer and last of year odometer readings. Do the subtraction. Everything left from those numbers (total year minus sum of dailies) are non business miles.

    Deb





  • 15.  RE: Tracking miles for business

    Posted 8 days ago
    Thank you Debra.  I have been keeping total mileage sums since 2010.  I was erroneously told by a CPA that I only had to have them broken out by month/day on a spreadsheet.

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    Patrick Greene
    OWNER
    Knoxville TN
    (865) 384-6582
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  • 16.  RE: Tracking miles for business

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 6 days ago
    I have been using a smart phone app called MilesIQ for several years now. It is well thought out, has the necessary bells and whistles and has about a 95% drive capture rate which is about the best one can hope for. If it drops a drive you can enter it manually from your desktop, Their support is responsive. When tax time rolls around you just print out a report for the year. A subscription is around $60 a year. I think a demo is available. Simultaneous use with the Google Navigator is no problem.

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    Randy Prentice RPT
    Tucson AZ
    (520) 749-3788
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  • 17.  RE: Tracking miles for business

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 6 days ago
    I also use Everlance. I use the free version that does everything I need it to (tracks all trips and I later classify them as personal or business). You can get more bells and whistles with the $60/yr subscription like automatic classification of trips during work hours that you define.

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    Anthony Willey, RPT
    http://willeypianotuning.com
    http://pianometer.com
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