The Internal Revenue Service allows taxpayers to deduct business-related expenses when using a personal vehicle for work purposes. The IRS requires individuals to use either one of two methods for write-offs -- a standard mileage rate deduction or an actual expenses deduction. When using a mileage log deduction method, keeping organized and accurate records is essential to getting the maximum deduction owed.
Mileage Log Book
Keep a notebook in your car, along with a few pens, to use as a mileage log book to document each time you use your personal car for business. Store the notebook and pens in your glove compartment so you always know where they are.
Document Each Business Trip
Accurately document each business trip in your mileage log book. Include the date, start mileage, end mileage and purpose of the trip -- such as client meeting or traveling to a conference. Be thorough in your record-keeping in case of an audit. The IRS will want to see detailed records and not just start and end mileage figures when determining if a trip qualifies for a business expense.
Update the mileage log after each trip to maintain accurate and organized records. Avoid allowing long periods of time to go by or trying to document several trips at the same time; this can result in mileage estimations and sloppy, incomplete records. By updating each business trip when it occurs, individuals can ensure the actual miles and trip details are entered in the log book.
In addition to mileage, tolls and parking fees can also be deducted but only when traveling for work-related purposes, such as meeting with a client. Driving expenses to your actual work location cannot be deducted. Save all business-related toll and parking receipts and store in an envelope with your mileage log book.
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