Best Logbook Apps for Aussies

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Using your car for business travel and looking for a fair, detailed review of the best ATO approved logbook apps for Aussie drivers?

You can claim from $3,000 to $10,000 and more every year with a digital logbook app. All of the apps listed are ATO -compliant, tax-deductible, and vary in cost between free and $468 per year.

Being an Australian living in NSW, and driving each week for business, I have written a super-useful guide to make your research and decision easier. I first wrote this guide in 2019, and have updated it in January 2024. I road tested each of the apps in my Toyota Camry over a 12-week period in October to January 2024.
Danny Adams sitting in a chair with a laptop

What is the Best ATO Logbook App?

Jump to:

Logbook App Features Comparison

Feature GOFAR myDeductions MileIQ Driver Direct Driversnote
ATO Compliant Yes Yes No Yes Yes
Logbook Method Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Free Version No Yes Limited Yes Limited
Subscription $8 Free $10 Free $34
OBD2 Device Free App only App only App only $60
First Year Cost $96 $0 $112 $0 $468
Australian-made for Australians Yes Yes No, American Yes No, Danish

Next, I’ll share my explorations of each app and the detailed specifications and features for each one. My goal is to help you choose an app that ultimately helps you accurately and easily track your ATO work-related expenses.


#1: You need the best-priced, full-featured, ATO-compliant logbook app

App Name: GOFAR (#1 logbook apps winner)

Created by: Australians
Cost: $8/month, no hidden extras
Download: Google Play, Apple Store
Extras: Check your car compatibility

GOFAR app and adapter award winning design for best logbook appsGOFAR is an advanced, affordable ATO logbook app and mileage tracker that automates your work-related car expenses, giving you a complete record of mileage at tax time.

You can receive between $3,000 and $10,000 back at tax time simply by recording your trips correctly, and GOFAR makes it easier than the other apps in this comparison.

Plus, it’s fully tax-deductible!

Let’s break it down to the main features that Australian drivers need when considering the best logbook apps:

ATO cents per km or logbook method? GOFAR includes both methods.

When using the ATO cents per km method you can record your work mileage with just one swipe.

This is a major advantage for people, like me, who are short on time and patience with this type of business administration.

The GOFAR car logbook app will do the rest for you in terms of collating the data into a report compliant with your end-of-financial year July tax return.

GOFAR collates the driving data (locations and kilometres driven) into an easy-export CSV file.

Simply email the file to your accountant before tax time in July each year: all ATO compliant data is included. The file can be emailed directly out of the app to your accountant or your own email address. Your choice.

I need automated trip data collection, do you?

A feature that sets GOFAR apart from other logbook apps is that it automatically starts and stops tracking your trips, as you drive.

A small, matte black OBD2-compatible adapter is inserted into the port underneath your car dashboard (usually on the right hand side, under the steering column). (Check if your car is compatible here.)

The adapter is about the size of a match-box and glides in easily. Take note that there is a ‘top’ and ‘bottom’ so you get a good fit with the diagnostics port.

The OBD2 adapter is a leave-in device.

This means that it can record and save data for up to a week of trips without being connected to your smartphone app.

This is in contrast to other logbook apps which are contained within your smartphone. Forget your phone and your trip will not be recorded. Or forget to record your trip, and you won’t be able to claim it as a work expense.

Being a leave-in device means you don’t have to manually update your app with trip data. GOFAR is essentially a set-and-forget logbook app. Super convenient!

GOFAR has automated claim rates, specifically for Australian drivers

And GOFAR automatically updates your business claim dollars so you can see exactly how much money you’re claiming each week.

This is my favourite featured because I’m currently recording data for my ATO 12 week timeframe. It takes a few seconds each week to record my trip data correctly. And I won’t have to worry for another 5 years. Woohoo!

Screenshot showing ATO Standard Rate selection

In the screenshot you can see the settings in the GOFAR app. I’ve chosen to automatically tag business trips and to use the ATO Standard Rate as a preset. The ATO myDeductions app is also set up at the ATO Standard Rate. MileIQ and Driversnote need to be configured as they are not Australian-made.

The claim rate is currently set to 78 cents per kilometre for the 2022-2023 financial year, and will increase to 85 cents per kilometre next year, 2023-2024. That’s a 7 cent difference between the cents per km rate of 2022 and 2024.

I can record all work-related vehicle expenses, not just kilometres

GOFAR also records your fuel expenses.

Every time you fill up at the bowser you can input your fuel costs. This, in turn, enables GOFAR to give you a fuel efficiency report. (In recent tests, GOFAR recorded fuel savings of between 9.8% and 30% per driver).

When I fill up my 4WD diesel it costs around $140 per tank. In my area of NSW, the cost for diesel is currently sitting at $2.11 per litre. So that’s a saving of $88 per tank, especially if I drive in eco mode. The Ray helps me control my speed and driving behaviour, which ultimately helps me save money at the pump.

You can toggle between monthly and yearly data in the fuel efficiency report.

GOFAR comes with the “bad traffic” tag pre-loaded. It’s interesting to see how my business trips are usually bad traffic! Aaaargh.

If you’re tagging business vs personal trips it will give you a comparison for those as well.

If you only want to record mileage for tax expense claims then you don’t necessarily need the Ray. But, if you’d like to save on fuel then simply get the Ray too. The Ray is optional. You’ll be able to record logbook expenses without it.

Ultimately, this means that with a GOFAR you’ll be around 10 cents in the pocket better off for every litre you buy at the petrol bowser.

GOFAR logbook app animated screenshotsWhy I bought the GOFAR logbook app?

GOFAR won a prestigious Good Design Award. Everyone loves it, including me!

And in comparison with other mobile apps, it has an ATO tax calculator that can calculate ATO business percentage for you, help you learn how many litres of fuel you used, and accurately predict the cost of each trip.

Plus you can keep track of your CO2 emissions to contribute towards a healthier planet.

GOFAR will get you a lifetime of savings on your ongoing car costs. Start saving $1000s and hours on paperwork while receiving free lifelong updates!

GOFAR also works in any petrol, diesel or hybrid vehicle since 2007 (and many older). Check your car’s compatibility here.


#2: You need a free logbook app, with tax return and superannuation features

App Name: myDeductions (runner-up)

Created by: Australian Taxation Office
Cost: Free, no ongoing charges
Download: Google Play, Apple Store

ATO app animated screenshots of the interface for best logbook apps

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) offers a free myDeductions app that allows you to record and manage expenses and trips, relating to your work as an employee, your business as a sole trader and other general expenses.

It is a general purpose app, with a function included for logbook tracking and that’s why it’s in our list of the best logbook apps. This means that the developers haven’t focused solely on the logbook aspect, and so it’s a little rough around the edges.

I need to record business travel trips

Relating specifically to mileage tracking, in the app you can use a GPS point-to-point method to record your trips. Select the point of departure from a map, and then select the arrival location. myDeductions will calculate the shortest distance travelled, and record the trip.

Alternatively, you can manually record your odometer numbers. Add the number of kilometres displayed on your car dashboard at your starting point, and then when you arrive, record the final odometer number.

Both methods — GPS point-to-point and manual odometer count — require you to manually enter your kilometres into the myDeductions app.

The ATO does not offer an adapter that connects with your car’s onboard computer, to accurately and automatically log this data on your behalf, which is a major drawback.

So, whilst the ATO app is free, free comes at a price! Your time. This issue is the number one reason why Australians are not claiming all their eligible reimbursements from the tax office.

How popular is the ATO app compared to the other best logbook apps?

It’s a pretty basic free app but has more than 1,000,000 installs as of September 2023 and now allows you to upload your myDeductions records to the ATO for pre-fill into your tax return.

The app is popular, but also has 1,000s of negative reviews. This was my favourite quote from Tim Osmond, with 207 upvotes. I hope you have a chuckle too:

It’s a government app so basically it’s like a new Australian Prime Minister, seems like a great idea but then fails to deliver and becomes a huge disappointment when you need it the most.

What other useful features did I find in the ATO app?

The ATO app includes access to other non-driving related tools and resources. For example:

  • myDeductions allows you to record all work expenses as an employee or sole traders.
  • Tax withheld calculator helps you to work out the amount of tax that has been withheld from your salary and wage payments.
  • ABN Lookup enables you to search for an Australian business number. (This seems to be an odd inclusion in a tax management app. How many times do we need to do this in our lifetimes?)
  • Business performance check is a tool to compare your business with other similar businesses, and benchmark your own performance.

You can also use it to set important notifications and alerts when it comes to your quarterly or annual tax obligations.

This app also allows you to enrol your voiceprint with the ATO so you can access their services via the app using voice identification to verify your identity.

What are the known issues that might be a problem for me and you?

According to reviews in the Google Play and Apple Store,

  • “no search function, which means it’s difficult for you to find trips” Garry Wu
  • “no ability to reset records, so data ends up ‘bloated'” Garry Wu
  • “access to expense logging function is not easy to find” Liss Punch
  • “restore from backup option doesn’t work” Clivey in Space
  • “Server too clogged during tax time, which will be a long term issue” John Ferarri
  • “Extremely unnecessarily complicated and frustrating to use” Sharmaine Leeke
  • “Got a new phone and find that the app doesn’t auto backup?!? Total data loss.” Keith Canfield

Being a government app it means that there are some quality issues, and perhaps people have a tendency to point out the negatives more than the positives. The app is designed for general-purpose expense keeping and tax management, and has one section for trip logging.

Why do some people like the ATO app?

  • “very easy to use, has a well thought out layout and I have been able to easily check my tax info” Andrea Simpson
  • “App is good when it works, which is thankfully most of the time” John Ferarri

Author’s Note: To be honest, I’ve read through 100s of reviews for this app in the Google Play and Apple Store. It was nearly impossible to find positive reviews that had any detail and that I thought would be useful for you to read. It seems that the app doesn’t always work, it loses data and constantly has installation bugs. Yikes!

However, it’s free and being made by the ATO it will always be compliant with the Australian tax system, no matter what, and that’s why it’s my 2nd choice.


#3: You need an affordable, quality app with basic functions

App Name: MileIQ (3rd place)

Created by: Americans
Cost: AU$9.30/month (US $5.99)
Download: Google Play, Apple Store

MileIQ was founded in 2012 by an American entrepreneur, Chuck Dietrich, and has been customised for American drivers. However, the app can still be used by Australians to record mileage and produce reports for tax deductions.

As with the other apps, it’s simply a matter of installing the software either on your Android or Apple phone, setting up your personal profile, and hitting the record button. I found the installation process very easy and quick.

MileIQ, whilst it’s not specifically created for Australians and the ATO, you can set a custom mileage rate. For the year 2022-2023 the custom rate is AU$0.78. Keep in mind that MileIQ is recording in US dollars, so be careful with any currency conversions.

Of all the apps, MileIQ has the cleanest interface design. The app is well laid out, without clutter, and without too many buttons. If you want a simple app that is reliable, but don’t need the extra features offered by GOFAR, then MileIQ is an excellent choice.

Is MileIQ reliable? Sometimes.

MileIQ is far more reliable than ATO myDeductions. The MileIQ team briefly worked with Microsoft, and as such, have an experienced, talented development team who regularly release app updates and improvements. The same can’t be said for the ATO myDeductions app with the 1,000s of negative reviews.

Recently the MileIQ team have received negative reviews that relate to the app either forgetting to record, or recording ‘mystery’ trips that never happened. Being a stand-alone app, without an OBD2 adapter, means that MileIQ will record trips if you have your phone on you and are in a friend’s car.

Whereas with GOFAR and Driversnote, you need the OBD2 adapter. With an OBD2 adapter trip recording is far more accurate than MileIQ without the adapter. GOFAR offers the adapter for free, whereas Driversnote charges $60 plus shipping fee.

Overall MileIQ is slightly more costly than GOFAR, and cheaper than Driversnote, but keep in mind that buying the app is a tax-deductible expense.

What other useful features are included in the MileIQ app?

One feature that I particularly like in MileIQ is the ability to set your daily working hours. It’s a clever use of technology and shows that the MileIQ team are thinking about real people with their real problems.

For example, if you always work on Tuesdays between 9am and 5pm, you can set these times in your user profile. MileIQ knows to classify any driving during those hours as business/deductible trips.

However, if you make a personal trip during this time, you need to delete it via the web interface. Slightly time consuming, but a better outcome than missing tax deductible trips.

What are the known issues that might be a problem?

The Apple Store only has a few older reviews, some of them as complaints. The reviews are not worth reading because the MileIQ developers will have fixed the issues in the intervening years. However, the Google Play store has several interesting comments — all from recent months in 2023 — from other users:

  • Cannot change the date of a manually added entry. Can’t even delete it from the app, you have to use the web interface.” AaronLPC
  • “Instead of letting you just mark a trip as ‘business’ or ‘personal’ it now makes you [select] from a list of options. It is extremely annoying and makes for about a 3-4 second selection per drive, instead of [being able to choose] 3-4 selections per second.” Benjamin Lubenow
  • every time that you stop at a red light, it starts a new drive. Drive 15 miles on city streets and you may have to combine 15 drives, which is pretty annoying.” Phillip Greenberg
  • “It doesn’t work. Your phone will say “automatically logging your drives” but it is not. I’ve had it now for over 2 years, but since around April or Jun (2023), it hasn’t been working. I have uninstalled and installed it back 2 different times, and it will work for the first or second drive, and then it stops. ” Rafael Camargo
  • “Good app but often makes multiple trips out of one. Easier to join trips on laptop than app, could be an easier join function, click multiple trips and join at one time. They have not made it so it doesn’t make multiple trips. Stop at a stop light, you get a new trip.” Farren Flynn

The biggest issue I see is that MileIQ have recently updated the app (perhaps around April or June of 2023) but haven’t communicated the new changes with users. Many of the users are complaining about the app not working, but it appears to be an issue with logging out and resetting the app, so there are no split drives and user accounts.

In my mind, it doesn’t make sense to log multiple trips every time you stop at a set of red lights. Hopefully the MileIQ developers will fix this issue before the next financial year.

Why I think that people are frustrated with missing drive data?

One of the most frustrating issues that I encountered when using MileIQ was that I have to disable power-saving mode in my phone while MileIQ is installed.

MileIQ says “the MileIQ app won’t be activated when you move significantly, which could cause missed drives” and “low battery mode can reduce the accuracy of location signals, leading to incorrect routes and mileage calculations.”

Perhaps this is why so many other users are having difficulty with missed drives? If I’m driving a few hours each day to attend pet grooming appointments, then I need to preserve the battery life of my phone. That’s why I use the low power mode; because I’m on the move all the time.

Not being able to use low power mode is a considerable inconvenience.

The MileIQ support team are quick to respond to issues, but being a large development team they need more time to fix the bugs. GOFAR has a small, agile development team and are able to fix bugs very quickly. ATO myDeductions are also very slow with bug fixes as the app isn’t a high priority project.

Why do other people like the MileIQ App?

Overall, the sentiment is that people love that it automatically classifies drives, even after regular business hours. The classification system is limited, but simple. GOFAR and Driversnote offer the same classification system, with GOFAR being easier to customise than other apps.

  • “I love how the app automatically tracks mileage.” A Simple Homestead
  • “Auto-detecting drives is brilliant, it’s tracked me already over $2000 in mileage write-offs, in just 2 months.” Alex
  • “I’m a petsitter and use it to track mileage from job to job. For the most part it’s easy to use and works well. I like that I can add customised purposes.” Bonnie Keyes

Every one of the apps reviewed, except ATO myDeductions, will auto-detect and auto-track drives, and can literally give you 1,000s of dollars back in your pocket at tax time.

It’s simple: Use a logbook app and get money back at tax time. And that’s why MileIQ has made it into our list of the best logbook apps.


#4: You need a robust fleet management logbook app

App Name: Driver Direct (4th place)

Created by: Japanese
Cost: Free
Download: Google Play, Apple Store

Driver Direct app animated screenshots of features

Developed by Toyota for its fleet customers, this app includes many of the same features as the other apps reviewed in this blog, including:

  • capturing trip data via GPS,
  • downloadable logbook data,
  • multiple vehicle tracking,
  • business/private use split, and
  • expense recording and reporting.

This car logbook app also doubles as an ATO receipt app that boasts time-saving functionalities such as storing descriptions for future presets and photo-stocking your receipts.

Also included are a (Toyota) dealer locator for servicing and a fuel finder that lets you filter results for a particular brand – ideal for fuel card holders.

This is ideal for Australian conditions. Many 4Wd owners traverse Australia. Broken down? Need a new part? This app can pinpoint my closest Toyota dealer, even in remote areas.

In addition, Driver Direct includes Novated Lease tools, unlike all of the other apps in this review. I was able to work out how much I owed on my Novated Lease with the comprehensive calculator.

One thing I particularly like about Driver Direct, that none of the other logbook apps offer, is the ability to display the app on your Apple Watch.

This makes it incredibly easy to initiate a new trip, without reaching for your phone. In Australia, it’s illegal to touch your phone while driving. So, if you’ve just started a new business trip you can legally touch your Apple Watch on your arm, but not your iPhone.

This app doesn’t appear to have been updated since 2017 so that’s the main reason why it’s lower down on my list of choices for the best logbook apps. I also don’t love the interface design. Being old, it looks clunky and dark.


#5: You want a simple app and are prepared to pay more money

App Name: Driversnote (5th place)

Created by: Danish
Cost: $16/month, plus $60 for plugin device
Download: Amazon, Google Play, Apple Store

Driversnote app animated screenshots of interface

Driversnote is the most expensive subscription-based app — in our analysis of the top 5 logbook apps — that can track your ATO work-related expenses.

The app was originally developed for American drivers, and has only recently become available for Australians.

Why is Driversnote more expensive than the other best logbook apps?

Driversnote is twice the cost of GOFAR, and users must also pay an additional cost of $60 for the plug-in adapter. There is also a ‘small fee‘ for delivery to some countries, which would include Australia as this is a Danish company.

With the free version, you have to push start and stop buttons on your phone that will make sure trips are automatically registered via your phone’s GPS tracking (up to 15 trips per month).

The paid subscription includes a device for automatic tracking on unlimited trips , now recently compatible with Android.

It generates comprehensive mileage documentation, can track private or work-related trips and calculates reimbursement, distances and odometer readings.

You can add or edit trips in the logbook at any time if you forgot to use the mileage tracker and there is the possibility to track miles and keep a mileage log for multiple cars and workplaces.

Yes, everything is oriented towards miles and American classifications in the original app version. However, recently they’ve released an Australian version that is ATO compliant.

There’s an option to attach a comment on the trip recorded and to add odometer readings if you need them.

In a nutshell, this app allows you to:

  • document and categorise your personal and business trips based on ATO requirements using your phone’s GPS,
  • record and segment your trips so that you keep your mileage log for multiple vehicles or different employers,
  • download your mileage report as a PDF or Excel file containing all the necessary details for tax deductions and reimbursement claims,
  • a simple ATO tax calculator that automatically calculates reimbursements based on the current mileage rates from ATO.

The app itself is compatible with iOS and Android and has an automatic backup feature for your peace of mind in case you lose your phone. This is the case with most of the best logbook apps.

What is the iBeacon and how does it compare to the GOFAR Adapter?

Driversnote is the only other logbook app that needs an additional bit of hardware for tracking to be effective. In both the iBeacon and GOFAR adapter, the device will start and end tracking when you enter and exit the vehicle.

Being a somewhat forgetful person, rushing off to a new client meeting, I am always forgetting to trigger my logbook app to record. So, the device absolutely saves me every single time. It’s brilliant.

However, the biggest difference is that the GOFAR adapter will track trips within itself if I don’t remember to specifically record a trip on my phone, or I don’t have my phone with me. The iBeacon is not able to independently track trips and doesn’t have an inbuilt GPS.

So, when a work colleague borrows my car with the GOFAR all trips will be tracked. Whereas with the Driversnote iBeacon my colleague would need to take my phone with them, in order to track the trip for tax purposes.

This became a particular concern when I discovered that unlike the GOFAR, Driversnote won’t track trips or remind me if trips aren’t tracked for a week or more. This can be especially problematic for caravan drivers who need automatic starts and stops for their long, remote drives.

It’s a good app overall, but won’t notify you if trips are not tracked for at least a week or more. Dale Longenecker

The GOFAR Adapter plugs in — safe and secure — into my car’s OBD2 port, whereas the iBeacon can be left to float about in the glove box or centre console.

Yes, you can use Driversnote without the iBeacon, same as GOFAR.

What are the known issues in the Driversnote app?

  • “Close to perfection.. I prefer manual entry w/ odometer reading and/or simply entering miles driven. Being forced to choose a route isn’t good when my route isn’t listed = inaccurate mileage.” Ryan S
  • “My only complaint is that someone really dropped the ball with the pricing structure. Among all the cool bells and whistles that would make sense to charge for, they chose to charge for… spreadsheet space. Not a satisfying perk. And at $14/mo for the lowest tier, that potentially ends up costing nearly a dollar per ride for users who don’t surpass their free 15 rides by very much.” Elliot Davidson
  • App uses well over 10% of my battery everyday you have to have physical activity turned on so they’re tracking you when you walk through your own home not just when you’re driving your vehicle for work purposes.” Anonymous
  • “Love it in concept, but even after purchasing their “iBeacon” to make sure that no trips would somehow be missed, there are still huge periods of time with no trips logged even though I have not touched any settings and I drive multiple trips almost 365 days/year. If you decide to use this ATO mobile app, you must check daily to make sure it’s working properly. :-(” Diane Matcheck

Are there any hidden costs and charges with Driversnote?

I was very surprised to discover that I need to pay an additional US$12 per month to access reports. All of the other apps offer standard and custom reports for free.

This hidden charge (it’s not listed on their pricing page) blows the cost in the first year out to a whopping $468. Without the report module the cost in the first year is a more manageable $252.

Yes, Driversnote is tax deductible so your business is bearing the cost, but it’s a considerable difference when compared to the free ATO myDeductions app and GOFAR at $8/month, plus all the extra features offered by GOFAR.

What did other people like about Driversnote?

  • “Nicely remembers common destinations, which is particularly helpful if you make the same runs over and over again. One can easily go back and manually add these by selecting a date, clicking the start location and stop location.” A Google User
  • “It has a nice layout and could use a few minor features but overall I really enjoy this app.” Robert J. Kreckel
  • “I deliver for DoorDash and UberEats, and this app has helped me track my miles so much more easily as well as keep track of my driving patterns for the day. There aren’t any ads that pop up, and I can easily start tracking since it’s got a very straightforward interface.” Kimberly

The reason why I’ve placed Driversnote last is mainly due to the hidden costs and the iBeacon tracking techology is problematic. The future promise is excellent and I hope that they continue to develop their technology so it becomes more reliable and affordable for Australian tax payers.

It could then move up a few places in our analysis of the best logbook apps in Australia, for Australian drivers.


How Do I Choose the Best Logbook Apps for Me?

Ultimately it comes down to your personal circumstances, business kilometres travelled and budget. Consider these points to reach your final decision:

  • Do you want everything to be as automated as possible. Your time is most important? Choose GOFAR.
  • Do you want a 100% free smartphone app that is suitable for Australians? Choose ATO Logbook.
  • Do you want an app that automates reporting to your accountant? Choose GOFAR.
  • Do you own a fleet of cars and want to track your driver’s movements? Choose Driver Direct.

GOFAR’s app is the best ATO compliant logbook app in terms of value and functionality because it:

  • is compatible with both iOS and Android
  • installs easily via your car’s diagnostic OBD2 port
  • can store a week of detailed driving logs on the Adapter if you forget your phone
  • helps you save on fuel costs (buy the Ray too)

Either way, the bottom line is that once you try any of these smart car log book apps, you’ll be wondering how you survived without one.

 

Updated on Tuesday 19 September with new prices, new features, and replaced out-of-date logbook apps. Removed Vehicle Logger; discontinued. Updated Driver Direct; low usage and user ratings, and hasn’t been updated by Toyota since 2017. Updated with new reviews from Google Play, Apple Store and my own experience using the apps. Apps were paid for by the writer. 

Danny Adams sitting in a chair with a laptop

Danny Adams

Co-founder of GOFAR and with a Computer Science background from Harvard University, and a Bachelor of Aerospace, Aeronautical & Astronautical Engineering (Honours), UNSW. I want to transform data from cars into useful services so -> drivers save time & money -> emissions fall -> Australian roads are safer. So we built an ATO-compliant logbook app called GOFAR. I write to help you understand how to use GOFAR to maximise business travel. Reach out via support@gofar.co.

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This content is provided for general information purposes only and does not constitute professional advice from GOFAR. We recommend consulting with an independent legal, taxation, or financial expert to ensure the information is applicable to your specific situation. Please note that relevant regulations and laws may evolve over time.
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