4 Best Mileage Tracking Apps To Consider
Although it seems the IRS demands a ton of our money, they’re nice enough to grant us pages and pages of various tax deductions.
One favorite deduction, especially among those who have a side business or are fully self-employed, is the mileage deduction.
Miles can be deducted for business travel, medical travel, and charitable travel. However, we’re going to discuss business travel.
Mileage Deduction Methods
Now, there are technically two deduction methods. The first involves tracking your actual vehicle expenses:
However, this method requires careful record keeping. You have to hold onto receipts to back up every single expense. Otherwise, you’ll be in trouble if the IRS ever comes knocking.
In addition, this method is usually optimal only for those who travel infrequently. It won’t be as lucrative if your business involves frequent travel, such as a travel blogger or maybe a consultant.
Mileage tracking is just that: you record your miles traveled rather than vehicle expenses. You can then deduct mileage from your taxes based on an IRS-set rate that factors in all vehicle expenses (meaning you can’t write off gas, maintenance, etc. under mileage tracking).
In 2019, the IRS allows you to deduct 58 cents per mile (although it can change from year to year). You can already see how anyone who travels even semi-frequently might choose this option. Traveling just 100 miles per month for business earns you a $58 tax deduction.
You do have to keep records of your mileage, including
- Starting point
- Staring mileage
- Ending mileage
- Purpose of trip
- Tolls and similar costs
Keeping these records by hand is a royal pain, but lucky for you, there are tons of mileage tracking apps that do everything for you. All you have to do is drive.
Here are the best mileage tracking apps.
1. Quickbooks Self-Employed
Quickbooks Self-Employed is an entire accounting/bookkeeping software built specifically for self-employed people, such as freelancers and very small businesses. They have both a website and an app, but you’ll obviously be tracking mileage in the app since you’ll be on the go.
Speaking of the mileage tracker, it does nearly everything for you.
Before you can use it, first turn on location services on your mobile devices. When those are enabled, you simply navigate into the mobile app’s Mileage menu and turn on auto-tracking when you’re taking a trip.
Turn it off at your destination, mark it as business or personal, and you’re done.
Forget to add a trip? Need to adjust a trip you’ve recorded already?
Quickbooks Self-Employed thought of both.
You can add trips manually or edit existing trips with a few simple clicks and it’ll automatically recalculate your deduction and factor it into your current quarterly tax payment.
For the most pain-free tax season, consider grabbing the Quickbooks Self-Employed Tax Bundle. It’s quite affordable (and as a business expense, it’s a tax write-off in and of itself).
The Tax Bundle entitles you to 1 free federal and 1 free state tax filing per year. Plus, It allows you to seamlessly import your mileage and other tax information to TurboTax, saving you the time of manually entering your records from your tracking software.
2. Stride Tax Mileage
Stride, aka “The Benefits App for Independent Workers”, finds an average of $200 in tax deductions for its users each week (mostly mileage), at least according to the Google Play store.
Stride tracks your miles automatically using your GPS. Just flip it on and it’ll start recording your travels. According to some, it’s one of the most accurate mileage trackers, something worth considering.
Features go beyond that, though. Stride also
- Reminds you to flip on mileage tracking during work if traveling
- Provides advice on other tax write-offs
- Works with many commons tax software programs to seamlessly export your data
Lastly, it even reduces you chance of audit by providing information in an IRS-friendly format.
Whether you drive for Uber, shop for Shipt, dog sit on Rover, or you run your own business, Stride can potentially save you thousands come tax time.
Everlance is a solid, intuitive mileage tracking app with plenty of other good features.
Using your GPS, Everlance tracks your travels automatically. With the swipe of a finger, you can designate whether they were business, personal, charity, or medical miles for easy organization.
If you forgot to log a trip, just enter your starting point and destination and it’ll fill in the mileage blanks.
Do you travel to the same place often? You can save your destinations’ addresses to save even more time in tracking your miles.
Then when tax season rolls around, you can export your miles and other tax information into an IRS-compliant spreadsheet.
Everlance users can upgrade to a premium account for unlimited mileage tracking, as well as advanced reporting features and premium customer support.
Something many are worried about with mileage tracking apps is phone battery life due to GPS usage.
Unlike other leading mileage trackers, MileIQ doesn’t use your GPS in the background to track your miles automatically. It instead uses complex formulas to detect trips.
Because of this, MileIQ consumes nearly 0 power when not in use, and is still able to spare most of your battery even when in use.
It then creates detailed reports of each trip without you having to do anything.
But MileIQ goes further: it sends you weekly customizable reports of your miles, perfect for building reports in a way that makes sense to you.
You can include other information like trips purpose, tolls, and parking fees directly in these reports too.
MileIQ does have a $5.99/month or $59.99/year subscription, but many can get by on the free version’s 40 trips per month.
Office 365 users, you’re in luck: you get MileIQ Unlimited for free with your Office 365 subscription.
One More Tax Tip
These are by far the best mileage tracking apps. The one you pick depends on which specific features you’re looking for.
However, they all share one thing: you can write them off on your taxes (assuming you pay for a premium subscription) because you use them in the course of your business.