I know we can claim like mileage but how does that work? You can only claim mileage to/from jobs and getting gas/supplies, stuff like that, right? You don’t record mileage for like when your on personal time, shopping and such. When claiming fuel receipts, do the receipt dates have to correspond to the dates on the job, invoices or whatever?

I just started out and the last year I just gave my TAX preparer my invoices, gas receipts, and expenses and that was it. The preparer never asked me for mileage records. Now I have only made about $4000-$5000.00 as this is just a small sideline for now(I just work a few days a month) but plan to work much much more in the future.

Are we required to record mileage in order to claim fuel?

I have a dedicated work vehicle and keep track of all mileage. If I have to use it for something personal I keep track of those miles and deduct them from the total. When I do my taxes I take the mileage allowance from the IRS and deduct that from my income.

You can claim [I]either[/I] mileage or [I]actual cost of gas and oil[/I]. Not both. I do what Tony does, keep track of mileage that is related to my business, regardless of which of my own vehicles I am using. If my wife is going to K-Mart or ***-Mart(sorry, Larry) I’ll ask her to get a bag of steel wool, bottle of rubbing alcohol or what not and we’ll count even those trips as business. [I][/I]. I drove with my family to Pittsburgh for an AUWC seminar and counted that very large number of miles as business. We need all the legal deductions we can get in this day and age.

Here’s how I do it.

I record the mileage (km in Canada) at the beginning of the year.

When I leave for work each day, I record start (home) then each stop until I’m home again. Then total mileage for the day.

At the end of the year I write total mileage for the year and subtract total work mileage.

This gives my accountant a percentage of how much total vehicle expenses (gas, repairs, license renewals) I can claim for the business.

ie" If 70% of the miles put on the vehicle were done so while performing as a business, then 70% of all vehicle expenses are a tax write-off.

In the US, you get $.55/mile if you go with the IRS’ deductable amount. This is pretty close if not better than actual cost, and much easier to calculate.

Any mileage you drive in the furtherance of the business can be deducted. The only exception, technically, is your commute to your first job/or office if your office is not at home.
If you have a home office, this doesn’t count. [Your first trip is considered a commute, just like every other person has, and is not deductible. Once you arrive at your office though, even if it’s at home and you wake up there, you can deduct the mileage from then on for the day]

If you have a dedicated work vehicle, it’s easy to keep track… Just log every gas stop and fill out the mileage. If possible, use a credit card so you’ve got statements that align with the book. This is acceptable proof in most cases, and it’s unlikely the IRS questions you in the first place.

… but the simple answer is [B]yes[/B] you need to record mileage if you plan to deduct vehicle expenses

Sigh…like the $1400 repair bill I’m going to pay tonight or tomorrow morning when I pick up my van. :frowning:

If you have a smart phone Intuit the software company that makes Quickbooks has an application called Itap. It will use the gps or google maps and record all you mileage and store it on an IRS approved log sheet. All you have to do is tap it from job to job

I downloaded a app for my iphone to log maintenance, fuel and calculate mpg. I haven’t used it yet but it looks cool. Anyways, I will write my mileage on my fuel receipts each time I fuel up.

My accountant states that a mileage log is best. Enter daily start/stop readings and applicable appointments, etc. A weekly refueling receipt doesn’t give that level of detail (if required by audit.)

Itap on Iphone does all the detail and it is easy to use

Yeah, using a small Mileage book we track the mileage everyday on our work van(well my wife does, I drive so thats her responsibilty)
Plus you can deduct anything to do with your vehicle: Carwashes, repairs, anything.
We have an ad on our car so we deduct mileage from that as well

I keep track of my mileage but i also reimburse gas receipts to my husband for the fuel he puts into the co. van. Is that legal?

In talking with my CPA while getting ready to start this business, she made it sound like you could either take the IRS mileage deduction or itemize all the expenses like maintenance, gas, etc…

You can do either/or but not both.

Generally it’s probably about the same result if not in your favor to just use the IRS deduction, especially if you’re in a used vehicle (lower depreciation) that hasn’t had any major repairs last fiscal year (ie, a $3000 transmission job)

Not to mention, it’s alot easier.

I like that. So,no matter where you go you can say you’re advertising.

I thought I read somewhere that you can have up to four vehicles in your small business and have the deductions for up to the four vehicles. I mainly use my Suburban for jobs, but I have had a couple repair bills for two of my other cars (one bill was $700.00 and the other was like $400.00), can I deduct those too?

I just clean a couple businesses on 3 Sundays a month. I have ALL my fuel receipts for 2009. What exactly can be deducted? I only drive about 15 miles on each Sunday top my accounts (they are right across the street from each other); so can I only deduct the fuel receipt for that particular week I am working my sideline cleaning business? Last year , for the tax year 2008, I just gave my tax preparer ALL my fuel receipts and he never said anything.

As I think someone mentioned above, we aren’t tax pros and your best off talking to an accountant.

But, you can technically only deduct [I]either[/I] the mileage OR the expenses ONLY from when the vehicle was being used for business purposes. So if you used the vehicle for work purposes that entire week, then yes you can write off the receipt. If the vehicle is primarily used for business purposes, then you should also be able to write off the repair.

Chances are the IRS isn’t going to say anything if you deduct more mileage and it sounds like you got away with that last year. But if by some chance you get audited, you’ll be in hot water trying to explain why you wrote off expenses that weren’t connected to the business… if you’re only performing work 10 days out of the month, the IRS probably won’t buy that you actually used all 3 vehicles for work purposes. Whatever you do, don’t write off enough to get a refund unless you can prove the legitimacy of every expense.

Also, as far as I know there’s no limit on how many vehicles you can write off (almost positive) as long as they are actually being used in the furtherance of the business. Wouldn’t make sense to limit it… there are plenty of businesses that have waaay more than 4 vehicles. If it does exist, it must only apply to 1 man operations.

Wouldn’t some of this depend on how you were filed with the State? I am an LLC and the company owns the vehicle. Therefore the company pays for the gas, repairs, maintenance and get to deduct the depreciation.

I am picking up my personal taxes late this week and will question the accountant. If I can keep money from my State government LEGALLY I will. They don’t have the balls to fire anyone so they want to raise our sale tax AGAIN.

Good point, I was assuming he is a sole prop.

Also monguse - keep in mind that if you stretch the truth too much (ie, claim repairs on vehicles not used in the business) and get audited for 2009 taxes and discrepancies are found, there’s a fair chance they’ll go back and audit the two prior years as well. Chances are you won’t; but it’d be a real bitch if you did.