I'm sure this is a dumb question..mileage

I just started mystery shopping a few months ago and haven't kept track of mileage. Going forward I will and I can see the benefit on mileage tax deduction (and might be able to go back figure out mileage for shops) but HOW important is calculating mileage??

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/05/2019 08:25PM by 4muppets.

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Not a dumb question, especially since it can prevent making a dumb mistake. Keeping a record of mileage for the entire year is essential. No record; no tax deduction. Just get a little notebook that will fit in a drink cup holder, for instance. Enter mileage at the start of the year and again at the end of the year. Then, for every MS trip, enter destination, start and stop mileage. That mileage allowance will shelter a TON of MS income from taxation !!!

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.
Here is a url for free mileage log templates:
[templatelab.com]
I just download one and make a copy as needed and keep in my car.
Very important. Each mile reduces taxable income by more than 50 cents. When i first started i needed to figure my mileage too for the first few months. I used google maps to fill in the blanks for mileage on those shop. But now I update my records daily using the tripometer on my car.
I usually take my total mileage off each year but, I think this year I will take off the actual car expense. I can't take off both. I think with the price of gas last year here vs. the mileage I put in, it will be a higher deduction if I take off the car expense instead. I also had expenses such as painting, etc.

I keep a record of the total mileage of each shop and then total my mileage at the ending of each day. At the end of the year, I am able to figure out my total personal miles and my total business miles for tax purposes.

Shopping Arkansas, Louisiana, & Mississippi.
Ark, be sure to check out the details of what you can and cannot take in terms of total expenses. It may not be the best way to go for most vehicles and drivers. And, as I recall, you cannot use depreciation one year if you have previously used the mileage allowance. At least, not for the same vehicle. But be sure to read the IRS brochure on this very carefully.

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.
Thanks, wales. Thank you for your advice and concern. It means a lot. I have a degree in personal and business taxes as well as accounting. I thought taxes and accounting was what I would do all of my life and even had a business for years doing it. I was actually an enrolled agent with the IRS. But, somewhere down the road, life changed and I ended up with a different career. But, I still try to keep up with all the changes and the way things work year-to-year. It's not like practicing and doing taxes and accounting for a living though. It's hard to keep up with when you get out of it. I just bought a new car (with cash) this year so it hasn't been placed in service yet. I also donated my old car this year that I used. There are other expenses I can take off as well. I will be weighing my pros and cons and reading pamphlets as well, so I do make the right decision.

Shopping Arkansas, Louisiana, & Mississippi.
Since you do not have a loan for the vehicle, there will be no partial write-off for interest. (You probably know this, but others may be learning something from our discussion, so please bear with me.) And, if it is very fuel efficient and new, you should have relatively low repair bills and possibly, much to gain by using the mileage write off. So, you will be busy working the numbers, I am sure. Fortunately, by tax time in 2020 we will have a much better understanding of the new tax laws than if you were filing 2018 taxes using that vehicle.

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.
You must be talking about section 179 when you are talking about the partial write-off? I have to have the car title in my company's name and it must be placed in service by December 31. I have done either. Talking about the fuel efficient, I also had my older car I donated. It got good mileage but, not like I would have liked. I added up my mileage for last year on both cars and I think it's going to be a toss up. When I get into doing my taxes, I will see which one will help me the most.

Shopping Arkansas, Louisiana, & Mississippi.
Did you mean to say "neither" ?
Everything I wrote assumed that you place this vehicle in service in 2019. Why title the vehicle in a company name if you are operating as a sole prop? Just curious? (Self-employed for over 50 years and always as sole prop and doing own taxes; no audits or even questions from IRS. Learned to do taxes at my mother's knee, literally.)

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.
Mileage is a huge expense that is deductible. It is not too late to keep track. Start a spread sheet. You should always keep receipts and information about shops. You can Google the mileage. I am a tax preparer. The key is good records. You would be surprised how the mileage can add up. It is perfectly legal.
I keep either an excel or Google sheets for each company and then I calculate the mileage from home to each shop and then home again,
Each company has it's own sheet. and then I print it out and give to the CPA.
Excuse my mistake. Yes, neither.

50 years? What all have you done? Did your mom do taxes as a business? You are pretty smart on a lot of subjects. I am impressed with your posts.

I am not a sole prop.


@walesmaven wrote:

Did you mean to say "neither" ?
Everything I wrote assumed that you place this vehicle in service in 2019. Why title the vehicle in a company name if you are operating as a sole prop? Just curious? (Self-employed for over 50 years and always as sole prop and doing own taxes; no audits or even questions from IRS. Learned to do taxes at my mother's knee, literally.)

Shopping Arkansas, Louisiana, & Mississippi.
I keep track of mileage in the Excel spreadsheet that I use to track shop dates, locations, fees, and reimbursements. I use Google Maps to calculate distances. There are times when I thin the distances are either slightly too short or too long, but on average, they seem correct. If the IRS were to dispute a distance, they would need to use Google Maps or some other online mapping program.

Shopping Southeast Pennsylvania, Delaware above the canal, and southwestern NJ since 2008
I found a free App called Everlance. It tracks your trips easily. Just have to remember to use it and click to end each trip.

I was using a spreadsheet previously.

I note the odometer on January 1, and December 31.

I use my personal car, the tax form asks for starting and ending miles, and miles used for the business.

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