Tax Tip Tuesday: Mileage Logs Must Be Kept at Least On a Weekly Basis

Posted By ,Posted in Mileage, Small Business Tips.Tagged

Tax Tip Tuesday: Mileage Logs Must Be Kept at Least On a Weekly Basis

The business mileage deduction can be extremely valuable. For example, if you use the standard mileage method to calculate your deduction, you can deduct the 2015 mileage rate of 57.5 cents for each business mile you drive during the year. That means you get a $575 deduction for every 1,000 business miles you drive. But you can’t just get that deduction without proof and a recent ruling said weekly mileage logs may be required. You are not allowed to rely on estimates of your mileage or records you create out of thin air long after the fact when you learn you’re being audited. Rather, IRS regulations say you must keep contemporaneous records of your business driving.  So what does “contemporaneous” mean?

Ideally, you should be keeping a mileage log for your business miles every day you drive for business. However, this is not absolutely required. The United States Tax Court says that it’s sufficient if you note your miles at least once per week.

In this case, a manager for a construction company claimed a $28,504 mileage deduction one year. He lost an IRS audit but won on his appeal to the Tax Court. The Court said that it was sufficient that once per week he recorded his business miles in a calendar, as well as the nature of his daily business activities and weekly travel. So, once per week is good enough to be “contemporaneous.”  (Ressen v. Comm’r, T.C. Summ. Op. 2015-32.)

However, you’ll avoid problems with the IRS, if you do more than the absolute minimum and record your business miles each day, or use a mileage tracking app to automate the process and record each drive as it happens. This will also avoid forgetting about business miles and losing valuable deductions. It’s important to utilize an app that keeps IRS-compliant records, as not every mileage log will satisfy the IRS.

Download MileIQ to start accurately tracking your miles »

Stephen Fishman

Stephen Fishman

Stephen Fishman is a self-employed tax expert and regular contributor to MileIQ. He has dedicated his career as an attorney and author to writing useful, authoritative and recognized guides on taxes and business law for entrepreneurs, independent contractors, freelancers and other self-employed people. He is the author of over 20 books and hundreds of articles, and has been quoted in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Chicago Tribune, and many other publications. Visit Fishman Law and Tax Files for more information on his work.
Stephen Fishman

MileIQ’s blog does not constitute professional tax advice. You should contact your own tax professional to discuss your situation.

x



 
Please enter a valid phone number.
x
Start logging your miles automatically using MileIQ.
Start logging your miles automatically using MileIQ.
<style type="text/css">
#exit-signup {
  z-index: 9999;
}



@media (max-width:796px){
 #exit-signup .quote-text {
    display:none;
}


}

@media (max-width:678px){
#exit-signup ul.mileiq-feats.lower {
display:none;
}
}

#exit-signup .quote-text {
    z-index: 9999999;
    font-size: 18px;
}

#ulp-s3QqZ4gQ5NIl41ua{
 min-height:500px!important;
}

#exit-signup .modal-dialog {
  width: 100%;
  max-width: 900px;
}

#exit-signup ul.mileiq-feats li {
  display: inline-block;
  width: 218px;
  background: url("/images/popups/download-modal/green-check.png") no-repeat;
  padding-left: 28px;
  text-align: left;
  font-size: 14px;
  font-weight: 600;
  color:#808080;
}

#exit-signup .quote-author {
  font-weight: 600;
  color: #fff;
  font-size: 14px;
text-align: right;
}

#exit-signup .quote-text {
  color: #FFF;
  position: absolute;
  bottom: 8px;
  left: -5px;
  padding: 11px;
  text-align: right;
}

#exit-signup ul.mileiq-feats.lower {
  max-width: 300px;
  margin-left: auto;
  margin-right: auto;
  margin-bottom: 30px;
}

#exit-signup ul.mileiq-feats.lower li .inner {
  width: 300px;
}

#exit-signup ul.mileiq-feats.lower li  {
  width: 300px;
}


@media(min-width: 884px){
  
  #exit-signup .quote-text {
    right: 56px;
    bottom: 17px;
  }

#exit-signup .col-md-8 {
padding-right:40px;
}

#exit-signup .col-md-4 {
padding-left:60px!important;
}
}

ul.mileiq-feats {
font-family: 'RealTextOT';
}

@media(min-width: 664px) and (max-width: 991px){
  #exit-signup .quote-text {
    left: 14%!important;
    bottom: 17px;
  }
}

@media(max-width: 663px){
  #exit-signup .quote-text {
    text-align: center;
  }
}

@media(min-width: 992px){
  #exit-signup .col-md-4 {
    background: url("/images/popups/download-modal/or-divider.png") no-repeat;
    background-size: 24px 223px;
    height: 223px;
    padding-left: 45px;
  }


  #exit-signup ul.mileiq-feats.lower{
   display: none; 
  }
}

@media(max-width: 991px){
  #exit-signup .divider-line {
    margin-bottom: 10px!important;
  }
  #exit-signup .modal-body {
    padding: 28px 40px 36px!important;
  }
  #exit-signup ul.mileiq-feats.upper{
   display: none; 
  }
  #exit-signup .col-md-8 {
    display: none;
  }
  #exit-signup .modal-banner {
    padding-left: 20px;
    padding-right: 20px;
    padding-bottom: 19px;
    text-align: center;
  }



  .dl-badges {
    max-width: 180px;
    margin-left: auto;
    margin-right: auto;
   }
   
}

#exit-signup .section-title {
       text-align:center;
   }

ul.mileiq-feats.upper{
max-width: 670px;
margin-left: auto;
margin-right:50px
}

#exit-signup ul.mileiq-feats li .inner{
  width:148px;
}

#exit-signup img.modal-color-bar-top{
  position: absolute;
  width: 100%;
  max-height: 62px;
}

#exit-signup .section-title {
  font-size: 16px;
  font-weight: 600;
  color: #4D4D4D;
  margin-bottom: 15px;
}

#exit-signup #modal-signup-wrap {
  margin-bottom: 36px;
  max-width: 491px;
}

img.mob-banner {
    position: absolute;
    bottom: 0;
    left: 0
}

#exit-signup img.modal-color-bar-bottom{
  position: absolute;
  bottom: 0;
  height: 7px;
  width: 100%;
}

#exit-signup .divider-line {
  height: 1px;
  background: #ddd;
  margin-bottom: 30px;
  margin-top: 19px;
}

#exit-signup .modal-content {
  border-radius: 3px;
  overflow: hidden;
  background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);
}
#exit-signup .modal-body {    
  padding: 32px 40px 53px;
}
#exit-signup .modal-header {
  padding: 10px;
    border-bottom: none;
}
#exit-signup h2 {
  font-family: "RealTextOT-Bold";
  font-size: 41px;
  margin-bottom: 25px;
  color: #333;
  margin-left: auto;
  margin-right: auto;
  line-height: 1.017;
text-align: center;
}

@media(max-width: 768px){
  #exit-signup h2 {
    font-size: 32px!important;
  }

#exit-signup .section-title{
display:none;
}
}

#exit-signup .badges .left-button{
  float:left;
  width: 48%;
}

#exit-signup .badges .right-button{
  float:right;
  width: 48%;
}

#exit-signup .badges{
  max-width: 320px;
  margin-left: auto;
  margin-right: auto;
  margin-bottom: 15px;
}

#exit-signup .modal-white-x{
  position: absolute;
  right: 20px;
  top: 20px;
}

#exit-signup button.close{
  position: absolute;
  right: 17px;
  top: 14px;
  opacity: 1;
  z-index: 100;
}

#exit-signup button.close:focus{
  outline:none;
}
</style>

<div id="exit-signup">
<div class="modal-body text-center">
            <h2>Try MileIQ for Free.</h2>
            <ul class="mileiq-feats upper">
              <li><div class="inner">Your data is never sold or shared</div></li>
              <li><div class="inner">All versions of our apps are ad-free</div></li>
              <li><div class="inner">Your drive history is secure & available</div></li>
            </ul>
            <div class="divider-line"></div>
            <div class="col-md-8">
              <div class="section-title">
                Get started by creating an account
              </div>
              <div id="modal-signup-wrap-exit">
                <iframe src="https://dashboard.mileiq.com/signup?v=iframe-2&media_source=blog&campaign=https://www.mileiq.com/blog&campaign_detail=blog_exit_popup" style="border: none;height: 181px;width:100%;"></iframe>
              </div>
            </div>
            <div class="col-md-4">
              <div class="section-title">
                Download the app
              </div>
              <div class="dl-badges">
              <!-- Badges -->
                <ul class="badge-list">
                  <li style="margin-bottom: 10px;">
                    <a href="http://app.appsflyer.com/id578830929?pid=website&c=header_modal" target="_blank">
                      <img src="/images/popups/download-modal/ios-badge.png">
                    </a>
                  </li>
                  <li>
                    <a href="http://app.appsflyer.com/com.mobiledatalabs.mileiq?pid=website&c=header_modal" target="_blank">
                      <img src="/images/popups/download-modal/android-badge.png">
                    </a>
                  </li>
                </ul>
                <div style="clear:both"></div>
              </div>
            </div>
          </div>
          <ul class="mileiq-feats lower">
            <li><div class="inner">Your data is never sold or shared</div></li>
            <li><div class="inner">All versions of our apps are ad-free</div></li>
            <li><div class="inner">Your drive history is secure & available</div></li>
          </ul>
          <div class="modal-banner">
            
            <div class="quote-text">
              “When I show MileIQ to my accounting clients, they sign up immediately. Fact.”
              <div class="quote-author">
                -Jody Jordan, CPA & MileIQ user
              </div>
            </div>
            
          </div>
         </div>
          <img src="/images/popups/download-modal/lower-banner.png" class="mob-banner">
</div>