Should you use an app to track your mileage?
If you drive for work, mileage tracking is an indispensable part of your day. Tracking every work trip ensures that you maximize your tax deduction and the easiest way to make sure you do not miss out on that is by using an app to track miles. You need to keep records of your driven miles and submit them to the IRS in case you are audited, as the IRS requires that you keep adequate, timely records of your mileage.
Adequate records should contain the following:
- The mileage for each business trip and total mileage for the year
- The time, destination and purpose of the trip
The IRS also requires that you log your miles in a timely fashion - basically, at or close to the time of the trip.
How to log adequate, timely records of your mileage
There are a few ways you can track your mileage, including a paper log, a spreadsheet and a mobile app.
Using a paper log or spreadsheet
You can use a paper log or a spreadsheet to track the mileage you’ve driven near the time of the trip - e.g. after each trip or at the end of the workday. You should always include the required details for each trip as described above - not just the distance, but the time, destination and purpose of the drive. If you drive often, it can take a while to write down every trip detail, and of course, we’ve all forgotten to record trips in the past! In this case, an app to track miles could be just the solution for you.
Apps to track mileage
The best apps for tracking mileage can track your driving in real time and save you the hassle of inputting information about every drive you take. You simply open the app and start tracking - the app will then record your trip while you are driving. Once you finish your trip - simply stop the app from tracking - you’ll have a logged trip including the start and end time, start and endpoints, and you’ll be able to specify the purpose of your trip.
Some apps for keeping track of mileage offer automatic tracking too - no need to even open the app to track your mileage. For example, we offer free automatic mileage tracking that will start recording a trip every time you move above a certain speed, as well as a mileage tracker device to go together with your app when you purchase your yearly subscription. By pairing the Driversnote app with an iBeacon - a low energy Bluetooth device that you place in your car - Driversnote offers a proven automatic tracking solution. The iBeacon will prompt your phone to start tracking a trip every time you get in your vehicle and start driving. When you exit your vehicle, the app will stop recording your trip. You’ll have all of the required information, as well as a very timely record of your trips.
How to track mileage
Depending on which method you choose, there are a few different ways to track your trips. If you choose to track mileage with the Driversnote app, you can do so by using your phone's GPS, by using auto-tracking with motion detection or by auto-tracking with an iBeacon. If you forget to track a trip, you can always add it manually later on either through your phone or by using the web version. Learn more about how to track your trips here.
Apps for tracking mileage will keep your records safe
Using an app will remove the task of organising and keeping mileage logs from your hands - mileage tracker apps will keep the information for you and your full mileage log will be just a few taps away at any time.
If you’re using paper or spreadsheet mileage records, make sure to properly save and file them - the IRS states that records should be kept for 3 years from the date of filing your tax return in case of audits.
If you use Driversnote to log your mileage, you can rest assured that we retain your tracked trips for as long as you keep an account with us - regardless of whether you have a paid subscription or a free account, your data is safe with us.
- Self-Employed Tax Deductions
- Free printable IRS mileage log template - PDF, Excel and Sheets versions
- How to keep an IRS compliant mileage log book
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