Taxes and Mileage

I did a little MS last year but this year I have done quite a bit. I was told that I only write off the money I make for jobs and not the reimbursement about since I am being reimbursed, it is not income. My 1099 should only list the money I actually made. My question is how do you track your mileage? Do you print out the report sheet that gives the address and then you track mileage to and from your home? Thank you!

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You have options.You can use a mileage app or keep a mileage log for each vehicle that is used for your assignments.

The human spirit needs places where nature has not been rearranged by the hand of man. ~ Unknown
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I’ve noticed that everyone who is for abortion has already been born. - Ronald Reagan
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I just started keeping track of my mileage but can go back with print out of jobs and figure out the mileage on google maps but someone said you have to know your starting mileage from the odometer not just google map the actual mileage. Is this true? Is there a way to do it without the actual odometer? Also, what app would you suggest? Thank you very much!
There is software for address-to-address mileage calculation. This might make up for the missed odometer readings. Another good resource for your business is a tax specialist. These people can provide insights on many aspects of your business.

The human spirit needs places where nature has not been rearranged by the hand of man. ~ Unknown
_____
I’ve noticed that everyone who is for abortion has already been born. - Ronald Reagan
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Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/14/2018 03:55AM by Shop-et-al.
I have had several Schedule C Businesses. I'm assuming it's still the same, but you are supposed to keep track not only of the #of miles/day/location, but start/end mileage of each trip.
You should keep contemperaneous records of the total miles you drove for each business trip. Contemporaneous meaning as you go, although I'm sure its no big deal if you need to catch up using Google Maps. You don't need to track your odometer reading for each trip, just the reading at the beginning of the year and at the end of the year. Some people use a paper log they keep in the vehicle. But really, you should create a spreadsheet that lists each shop and its address, along with fees and reimbursements, the name of the MSC, etc.. You can track your mileage in the spreadsheet for each shop or groups of shops, and use this same spreadsheet for tracking your total fees without having to worry about some MSCs that lump fees and reimbursements together on the 1009s.

[www.irs.gov]
Yes, contemporaneous records are given "great deference" by the IRS, so start NOW to note all business trips in a notebook in your vehicle. Easiest way is to enter date, starting odometer and ending. Then if you have several days of no business trips, enter something like, "Aug 1-4, errands," and the end mileage for that. Then "Aug 5, address of shop, end mileage." This way, each end mileage note is clearly also the beginning mileage for your next trip or series of trips, in the case of several non-business days. Use the computer generated mileage ONLY for the months when you have no actual records, BUT you must report the odometer reading for January 1, 2018 and end of Dec. 31, 2018 in order to compute percent of total miles used for business on supporting IRS forms that feed Schedule C.

Based in MD, near DC
Shopping from the Carolinas to New York
Have video cam; will travel

Poor customer service? Don't get mad; get video.
For me, my odometer has stopped working. However, I track my mileage each day in my logbook. For each day I'm working, I list the furthest city in which I've traveled, the amount of shops I did for that day and the total miles driven.
At tax time, I list the total miles driven for the year (I add all of the miles in my logbook). There is a question that asks if I have other vehicle for personal driving. I always reply "yes".
This might be overkill for most, if not all of you but I track all of my miles. I just keep a paper log in my car and each time I shut off the motor I log my miles driven and mph...I am not doing this for mystery shopping but because my Prius does not get anywhere near the mpg that is advertised so I started my own record. The computer in the car is not accurate I have found. I do know my start and end mileage for each year so in the rare case I may be challenged by the IRS I can pinpoint the trip I took for each shop. I also write the total miles for each shop in the shop log i keep. I am probably setting myself up right now for an IRS audit by saying this but I do think audits of mileage are probably rare. Have any shoppers out there ever been audited by the IRS?
I have been audited while being an IC in another industry and making a lot more than most MSers make. They did ask about mileage. I showed one page of my in-car mileage notebook and they waved that away as "the right stuff." The audit was not "about" mileage but once you are there, they can ask about anything. btw, I could document what they were concerned about and was out of there in short order with no additional taxes or fees.

Based in MD, near DC
Shopping from the Carolinas to New York
Have video cam; will travel

Poor customer service? Don't get mad; get video.
I keep a small wall calendar on which I write all my MS assignments. When I leave for a shop, I set my trip odometer. When I get home, I check the mileage and write it down on the calendar under the shop name. I have other self-employment income, too, so this is the easiest method for me, as all my appointments and shops are in one place. If I have, e.g., a client appointment and a shop on the same day, it makes it easy to split the mileage up by task. I've tried other methods, but sometimes good old-fashioned manual input is best. When I forget to mark a mileage down, I mapquest it using the route I took on the shop and record that. It's certainly accurate enough. And if I ever get audited, this is a simple and visual way to provide documentation.

I learn something new every day, but not everyday!
I've learned to never trust spell-check or my phone's auto-fill feature.
I keep a spreadsheet and after the shop, I fill in the mileage from google maps. I notate groups of shops together on routes, but if I did a route, went home, then did another shop, I keep them separate. Is this sufficient for tax purposes?
I have an email into my tax accountant. I had an oil change done on December 31 so woo hoo, I have my January 1st odometer reading and I have every job listed that I did. It is easy enough to go back and update the first few jobs with google maps and then I have everything I need. My question to my tax prep is, do we need the odometer reading for every trip or just the 1st of year and end of year. I use my vehicle for personal use as well. I have kids I take to school and we just returned from a family vacation out of state. Seems like a lot of work to track my personal miles as well. Hoping I can just subtract business log from total of year shops.
Hey, just so you know, some companies do lump in your reimbursements for required purchases on your 1099. Each company is different, some do, some don't, but you will want to check that at the end of the year so you can be sure, since it is not income and not taxable.

@macmomaz wrote:

I did a little MS last year but this year I have done quite a bit. I was told that I only write off the money I make for jobs and not the reimbursement about since I am being reimbursed, it is not income. My 1099 should only list the money I actually made. My question is how do you track your mileage? Do you print out the report sheet that gives the address and then you track mileage to and from your home? Thank you!
I find that often in city traffic or on the freeways there are big delays and/or construction sending me on a different route than the one google maps might choose. Because most of my mystery shops are in the city and close by if I take a detour of a mile it can add over 10-20% to the mileage for that shop. Once I checked the odometer in a large parking garage where I had to circle twice up and down and around several stories. That trip just to find parking inside the garage added a half mile. Another time I was not allowed a left turn out of the garage at the hour I exited so had to go around the block, a very long block since it held the campus of a large hospital complex. That alone with the mileage inside the garage added a full mile. So I use my odometer and not the "shortest" or "fastest" route on a mapping site. I am not sure if the government would agree but I would challenge them to drive around this city first!
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