The 2019 optional standard mileage rates used to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business, charitable, medical or moving purposes have been issued. Beginning on January 1, 2019, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car (also vans, pickups or panel trucks) will be:
- 58 cents for every mile of business travel driven, up 3.5 cents from the rate for 2018.
- 20 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes, up 2 cents from the rate for 2018.
- 14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations.
The business mileage rate increased 3.5 cents for business travel driven and 2 cents for medical and certain moving expense from the rates for 2018. The charitable rate is set by statute and remains unchanged.
Whether you’re traveling for business, charity, medical purposes, or pleasure, it is important to track your mileage for tax purposes. The IRS has documentation requirements in order to claim business mileage deductions. You will need to keep a mileage log for each year you claim this deduction. Your mileage log must include the starting mileage of your vehicle’s odometer at the beginning of the year and its mileage at the end of the year. Each time you use your vehicle for business purposes, you must record the following items:
- The date of your trip
- Your starting point
- Your destination
- The purpose of your trip
- Your vehicle’s starting mileage
- Your vehicle’s ending mileage
While these documentation requirements can be cumbersome, thanks to advances in technology, there are several mileage tracking apps available to ease the burden. Here are a few of the mileage tracking apps along with a brief description of each app to help you decide which one is best for you.
MileIQ comes equipped with all the bells and whistles. With features such as smart-drive technology, you can automatically log your drive and calculate that drive’s value. The app easily classifies all of your trips and can save your drive data in the cloud to access it on a different device, if needed. You can even export your data for filing purposes. MileIQ allows you to track 40 drives free of charge each month, but if you need to track more, a subscription service is available. The app, which is available to Android and iPhone users, costs $5.99 per month or $59.99 annually, a price that includes tracking for an unlimited number of drives.
TrackMyDrive is an automatic mileage tracking app for expenses, reimbursements, or IRS tax deductions. The app runs in the background and automatically detects all the drives that you make and lets you categorize them as business or personal. Unlike other mileage logs that only track the “start” and “end” locations, TrackMyDrive tracks your entire trip and calculates your mileage deduction or company reimbursement. TrackMyDrive allows you to track 10 trips a month free of charge or you can pay $8.99 a year for unlimited trips. This app is free but there are more add-ons, if needed, and is available through the web, as well as for Android and iPhone users.
TripLog is a full-featured mileage tracking app that features MagicTrip, which is a fully automatic way of starting the app when you start driving. The app can be set up to automatically start tracking your travels by several methods such as connecting to the Bluetooth in your car or when you travel at a certain speed. It also saves all your travel data to the web (or cloud) and you can login there to sort, analyze and download reports. TripLog has a free plan that saves your GPS mileage tracking and shows your driving route on Google maps. TripLog also offers a basic plan for $20 per year or $2 per month and adds several useful features including comprehensive IRS compliant reports. This is the version that comes with the ability to be fully-automated with your Bluetooth connection. Both the free and basic plans are only accessible through the app on your mobile phone. Finally TripLog offers a professional plan for $30 per year or $3 per month. The main difference between this plan and the basic plan is that it gives your web access so you can view your reports through the web on your computer. This app is available through the web, as well as for Android and iPhone users depending on which plan you select.
For any questions on how to track your mileage or what you can deduct on your taxes, always consult a Certified Public Accountant. Submitted by: Micah Kunkel, CPA, Tax Services, Thomas Howell Ferguson P.A. CPAs, (850) 668-8100, firstname.lastname@example.org.