When it comes to business travel, it is paramount to keep accurate records of all accumulated mileage. This task comes naturally to some and is a laborious chore for others. In order to ensure you are appropriately compensated for miles traveled, while also avoiding an audit by the IRS, you must take the proper precautions by accurately logging your business travel.
To begin, the IRS recently issued the 2018 optional standard rates for the use of a car, van, pickup or panel truck. The new rates are as follows:
- 54.5 cents per mile for business miles driven which is up from 53.5 cents in 2017.
- 18 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes which is up from 17 cents in 2017.
- 14 cents per mile driven in service of a charitable organization.
In order to use these rates, simply multiply the standard mileage rates by the number of miles traveled. If you use your vehicle for both personal and professional use it will be very important to maintain accurate records of miles traveled. Listed below are a few options to help you do so.
The simplest way to record business miles traveled is to write them down. Make sure that along with your computer, your calendar, your cell phone and the rest of your business belongings you have a notebook specifically dedicated to logging your travel. Include the date of your trip, the point of origin, the destination, and finally the reason for travel, all of which is required by the IRS. For those in business who are savvy with their smartphones, your Notes section or an app may be just what you need to get the job done.
Mileage tracker apps are available nowadays by the dozens. Mileage Expense Log is available exclusively for Apple iOS phone systems. This particular app offers both a free and a paid-for Pro version which costs a mere $3.99. You can choose to manually input data from each trip or you can have it logged automatically. Either way, once you have recorded a trip, you can sync the app to both iCloud and Dropbox where you can store the data until tax season.
MileIQ is an app available for both Android and iOS. This app is more expensive at $5.99 per month or $59.99 annually; however, it is much more user-friendly. The ease of use is certainly the most attractive part of what this app offers. Swipe right for business travel, left for personal. From here you can categorize each drive in an effort to maintain succinct mileage records. You can then export the logged information via Concur and Freshbooks.
Some mileage tracking apps also offer free mileage log templates for both Excel and Office 365. Utilizing an app as well as a computer program may be the perfect way to remain on top of all of the accumulated miles for the perpetually traveling business man or woman.