15 Mileage Log Errors that May Get you in Trouble with IRS

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1. Hard to Read Mileage Log

If you are using a handwritten or a hardcopy of mileage log, you better make sure it is easy to read.

However, this is the old way of doing it. You’re better off using a mileage tracking app such as GOFAR to help you track and log your mileage.

GOFAR will find your car’s engine sweet spot and then train you how to drive efficiently to save fuel and reduce wear and tear.

Other areas where GOFAR is useful in your car include

  • Finding engine faults and communicating them to you in plain English
  • Reminding you scheduled maintenance visit and insurance payments
  • Connecting you with the best parts suppliers and top-rated mechanics in your area
  • Helping you save up to 30% on fuel spending

2. Post-Dated Mileage Log

The IRS will not accept any mileage that has been recorded after the fact.

What this means is that all the mileage that you log must have time and date stamp on it.

Anything that is added after the date and stamp has been put will not be accepted.

3. Discrepancy on Supporting Document

The IRS will require that when you file your mileage, you also produce the supporting documents.

These documents are used to substantiate your mileage claims and therefore, must correlate with the mileage log.

The cost of fuel indicated on the petrol station receipt must correlate with what you file on your mileage claim form to avoid the discrepancies.

The IRS is at liberty to discredit any logs that have discrepancies.

4. Failure to Account for Federal Holidays

Most American workers do not work during federal holidays. They also take at least two weeks of vacation every year.

You need to account for this absence on your mileage log.

As a best practice, switch off your mileage log during these days to avoid the personal mileage incurred during this time being counted as business drives.

5. Unbelievable Mileage Numbers

What are the chances that the miles you’ve driven through the year come to a round number such as 10,000 miles?

If you file claims with such a round number, it will be an instant red flag to the IRS auditors.

Instead, file claims for the mileage displayed on your mileage app irrespective of whether that number has some decimal points.

6. Doubtful Mileage Distances

Even if the distance from point A to B is constant when you move on a straight line, the mileage will be different depending on the traffic, lane changing, and alternative routes taken.

When claiming mileage, you should use the mileage indicated on the mileage logging up instead of estimating the distance.

7. Arithmetic Errors on Mileage Numbers

The IRS understands that keeping an accurate mileage log is tedious.

However, this task has been made easier by use of mileage tracking apps.

Instead of trying to add up your mileage at the end of the day manually, you’re better off using an app that will automatically lock the miles and give you the total distance at the end of the day.

Remember to switch off the mileage log in up when you’re doing personal errands to avoid the mileage being added up as business mileage.

8. Weird Gaps in the Mileage Log

Unexplained gaps in your mileage log will raise a red flag since it is an indication of sloppy mileage tracking.

The IRS would want to establish why there is a gap in your mileage log.

9. Including Commuter Mileage on Claims

The IRS defines commuter mileage as the transportation between your home and your regular place of work. Commuter miles are not deductible.

However, you can beat this rule by converting one of your rooms at home into an office and get it qualified as the place who are you an emergency of your income and do most of your administrative work.

If you include commuter miles or new tax deduction claims, they will be disallowed.

10. Claiming 100% Business Mileage

It is inconceivable that all the miles you drive throughout the year will be for business purposes.

There is all likelihood that a part of those miles will be driven for personal reasons.

The IRS will raise an audit query if you claim 100% of your mileage is business drives.

11. Ignoring the Provisions of Tax Cuts and Jobs Act

In 2018, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) has started being implemented and remove the right of workers to deduct automobile expenses.

You are a worker, and you regularly drive for business reasons, you will need to carefully inspect your company reimbursement policies so that you can negotiate for a better salary in exchange for the expense deduction that has been outlawed by the TCJA.

12. Exaggerating the Expenses

The taxpayers under Schedule C are usually tradespeople. Examples of these taxpayers include plumbers, masons, painters, truck drivers etc.

Because of their inexperienced in tax matters, these taxpayers regularly exaggerate the cost of running vehicles. The IRS is aware of this phenomenon, and it pays attention to the files of these taxpayers.

Before you make your mileage claim, ensure that your expenses records are in order.

13. Poor Records

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Starting from the day you make your first business trip, the IRS will require properly kept mileage records.

Ensure that you check your mileage log at the end of every business day.

This will ensure that you have accurate records and that there is no any missing mileage that you should have claimed.

You also need to keep a proper record of all the supporting documents which you will need to file along with the mileage claims on your filing your tax returns.

14. Confusing Personal with Business Miles

You are expected to know the difference between personal and business driving expenses.

Commuter expenses that you incur are considered personal expenses by the IRS.

When filing your returns, ensure that you do not make a mistake of including personal miles as part of your mileage deduction.

15. Lack of Tax Filing Competence

Bookkeeping and tax returns filing is a professional task.

If you do not have the competencies that are needed to file your returns with the IRS, you are well advised to hire a tax consultant.

Most taxpayers under Schedule C do not have the expertise to keep the records with which they will use to substantiate their mileage claims.

Since ignorance of the law is not defense, get someone who can do the work without errors to file the returns to avoid getting in trouble with the IRS.

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