6 Hillarious Ways To Track Mileage
When I am out meeting independent business owners or 1099 (independent) sales reps, I always ask “How do you keep track of your mileage?” Specifically, I am enquiring of those people who are using their personal vehicle and are planning on taking the standard mileage deduction.
Of course there are the more common answers: the log book, an app, using Google Maps & Mapquest to look up locations (we will cover these in another blog post as most of the time with these options, people still do not have the records they need) but today I am going to share some of the more “inventive” methods I have heard.
1)The Mileage Napkin
These are actual napkins, or scraps of paper that people jot down mileage (?) or at least locations they have travelled when they can’t find their log book. Keeping track of these half recorded memories and not having someone assume they were garbage is the biggest trick to making sure you have all your records at the end of the year.
2)Post It Notes
Some people keep post-it notes (3M would be proud) in their car and then as they write down the individual trips, they post them on their dash. Of course, you hope you always have a supply of post-it notes in your car and you must keep your dash out of the sunlight or that writing will fade….
Not to be confused with using the receipt method for mileage. This is where people jot down odometer readings and locations on the back of receipts – any receipt that comes in handy. Later you or your accountant will have to check both sides of every receipt to find the elusive mileage records. Oh and please don’t crumple them or spill your coffee on them.
4) Voice Memos
This one actually is very creative and could be fairly accurate assuming you always remember to do it. So, when you drive by and see someone talking on their phone, they could be recording mileage. Now that’s a nice little transcription job for you accountant or bookkeeper (at $30+/hour).
5) Pen and…
I once had a lady answer the question, by picking up a pen, holding out the palm of her hand and proceeding to write on it. (The palm pilot) I hope she uses indelible ink and that her accountant is good at palm reading (especially deciphering a year’s worth of mileage layers)—given that the average business person makes eight trips a day.
6) My Accountant Does it For Me
This one is fantastic! I would like to have the same accountant because he/she would have to drive around with you continuously to know where you went, what your odometer readings were and why you went where you did. Most accountants are pretty amazing and provide an enormous amount of help to their clients, but you do have to give them something very specific to work with when it comes to mileage.
Of course, none of these methods is likely to produce the detailed records required by the IRS/Revenue Canada and/or they are extremely time consuming.
What creative methods have you used to record mileage?
Oh, for those of you who would prefer an easier method that can provide the right documentation to “nail down that mileage deduction and keep it” we suggest you get a
3rd party verified, contemporaneous (as it happens) records that usually have people laughing all the way to the bank.