Tracking Mileage

Today TaxMama® hears from Straffan in the TaxQuips Forum, with this quick question. “Do you have to keep a separate log with start and stop odometer readings for each business trip? Or can you just add mileage notes to a daily planning diary? Would you still have to include odometer readings in the diary to comply with IRS requirements?”

Dear Straffan,

A few weeks ago, I read a Tax Court case that blew my mind. (I must admit, I don’t remember the citation.)

The Tax Court disallowed the mileage deduction because the taxpayer only noted where he was going in his daily diary. In other words, he noted only the name of the client.
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He did not include

  • the starting address for the day.
  • the address of the client or appt.
  • the miles to that place.
  • the next address or appt.
  • the miles to that place.
  • and so forth.

I could not believe that the Tax Court wanted that much detail.

Who would have time to get any work done if we spent all our time entering information we already know because we often see the same people or go to the same places all the time.

So, to answer your question, you may keep all the notes in your daily diary.

BUT, expand the amount of data you enter, to include the specifics – who, what, where, and how far.

Good luck getting anything else done!
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