How to keep track of mileage for taxes
This question keeps popping up among those who drive a vehicle for business trips and plan to file business mileage tax deductions to the IRS in order to write off their car-related business expenses after each tax year.
It would be easier to start with “how not to track my mileage”, as the answer to that question is pretty simple: it’s time we forgot about medieval methods like writing a paper-based mileage logbook, or even using an Excel mileage log template, as they often take long and one needs to work a massive amount of “overtime” to deal with mileage logging outside of work hours.
Plus, there is no way that you can be sure that your homemade mileage log is flawless and IRS-compliant by any means.
Luckily, there are plenty of mileage tracking apps on the market, the question is: “What is the best mileage app out there?”
How to compare the best tracking apps
There are specific functions that may have more relevance to e.g. small business owners than rideshare drivers, or vice versa. Thus, in this article, we’ve found the best to cover those functions that can be useful and important for all drivers, including employers, employees, the self-employed, gig workers, independent contractors, real estate agents, tax professionals, and so on.
Best Mileage Tracker Apps in 2022
After thorough market research, we’ve chosen 5 mile counter apps to discuss:
Though the first one is our own car mileage tracker, we’re going to objectively and fairly compare it with the other players.
NOTE: All of these mileage tracking applications can be found on both Google Play and App Store.
Let’s see the most important features a mileage tracker app has to have:
Manual & Automatic Trip Tracking
Altogether, there are 3 automatic and 1 manual recording modes you can track your miles with on the mileage logging market:
- Vehicle movement monitoring (a.k.a. Touchless trip recording)
- Bluetooth tracking
- Plug’N’Go tracking (a.k.a. Phone charging tracking),
- Manual trip recording, with which you press a button at the point of your arrival.
Let’s be honest, this last one might sound useless while there are fully automatic trip tracking modes, however, technology is not on our side all the time, so it’s good to have a button with which you can start & stop recording your trips – just in case.
MW has them all: Touchless, fully automatic vehicle movement monitoring, automatic Car Bluetooth tracking without the need of any additional hardware, automatic Plug’N’Go phone charging tracking, and manual trip recording. MileageWise covers the whole spectrum of trip tracking modes, automatic or manual.
Being the most downloaded mileage tracker app in the U.S. (partly because of its former free inclusion in Microsoft 365 package), it’s surprising that they only have the vehicle movement monitoring function. It means that the driver can’t track their miles via Bluetooth, Plug’N’Go, or by manual trip recording.
As you can imagine, it may be unpleasant to realize that your trip wasn’t logged because of the malfunction of the only trip recording mode there is in your app, and to top it off, there’s no way to switch to another one. Awkward, isn’t it?
Everlance uses only vehicle movement monitoring as well, backed by GPS satellites, which on one hand is pretty accurate most of the time, however, if you’re in a tunnel, the connection might be cut, and the GPS usage just eats up your phone’s battery and mobile data.
TripLog also has all the tracking modes that MileageWise does, plus they have 2 additional Bluetooth tracking options: their own TripLog USB device and the aforementioned iBeacon compatibility.
Driversnote has manual trip recording, vehicle movement monitoring, and a Bluetooth tracking mode, too. It’s important to note, however, that in order to use its Bluetooth trip recording, you must purchase a separate USB device called iBeacon, which seems pretty unnecessary, after having seen both MileageWise and TripLog being able to do Bluetooth tracking without any external hardware.
MileageWise and Everlance offer an automatic trip classification feature, which seems pretty fair – we should expect an app to be able to do that in the 2020s.
Driversnote occupies the middle ground, their mileage counter app suggests the trip purpose for the ones you have visited frequently.
TripLog’s and MileIQ’s apps offer the Tinder-inspired left-or-right swipe method, which you need to do on every single trip. While we understand that it’s only a swipe, having to do that every time you set off seems utterly undesirable.
Mileage log reconstruction
If you’ve received a letter from the IRS and you need to backtrack and fix your past mileage log, MileageWise is your only choice from this list. No other drive tracker app comes even close to our AI-based AdWise feature, with which the software is able to give you recommendations for your forgotten trips based on the locations you had visited previously, filling the holes in your past mileage log, giving you the opportunity to come up with a fully IRS-compliant mileage log.
This is a key feature, which is extremely overlooked – although, it has helped plenty of people in the U.S. protect themselves from an enormous IRS fine.
Mileage reimbursement for teams
Satisfying the needs of companies for mileage reimbursement is an obvious choice from mileage tracking app providers, there’s huge competition for these clients. While we cannot really point out one company here, as they’re all striving to be as good as they can at mileage reimbursement, we’ve got some important aspects to keep in mind.
The most essential factors in teams’ mileage logging:
- a Team Dashboard platform
- a custom cost-per-mile rate option as mileage reimbursement plans vary by employees
- well-prepared, professional, and easily accessible customer service – MileageWise excels in that without a doubt 🙂
NOTE: Most drivers who are eligible for business mileage tax deduction use the standard mileage rate. This mileage rate is often used at companies as well, but if an enterprise chooses to go with the FAVR (Fixed And Variable Rates) mileage reimbursement plan. The FAVR plan is a combination of a fixed monthly car allowance amount to cover fixed costs, such as depreciation, insurance, and lease payments, plus a custom cost-per-mile mileage rate, which is usually lower than the standard mileage rate.
Mileage log preparation service
It can easily happen that you realize that you don’t have a sufficient mileage log that would stand up during an IRS audit, or you want to get the most out of your mileage tax deduction, which can be $12,000 per car for a year.
Out of these 5 gas mileage tracker applications, only MileageWise offers a mileage log outsourcing service, where mileage log experts help you prepare your mileage log, even for multiple years.
You can be sure that going with this service, the mileage log expert team will do their best to help you maximize your mileage tax deductions.
The best free mileage tracker app: What options are there?
As for free mileage tracker apps, there are limited options, and there is no such application that would provide you with a free unlimited lifetime package. Most apps offer you a limited number of trips, which might be an acceptable deal for those who don’t drive much, but for those who don’t want to worry about exceeding their monthly limits, MileageWise has great news.
For free trials, both MileIQ and TripLog give you 40 free trips for a month, at Everlance, this number is 30, and Driversnote is at the end of the line here by providing only 20 free trips a month for its users.
MileageWise gives its users a 14-day free trial period for ongoing mileage tracking. During this 14-day trial, you have the opportunity to test all the key features, without any limits on the number of trips.
If you’re satisfied with MileageWise’s app, you can continue your subscription for as little as $6 a month per user – this is the amount that will be withdrawn from your bank account each month: our Small Monthly package doesn’t charge you for the whole year. It’s also important to know, that until the end of the 14-day trial period, you won’t need to give any credit card details.
Is there a definite best app for keeping track of your mileage?
These were some of the most important features and aspects to be aware of when choosing an app that tracks miles.
If you’d like your mileage tracking solution to:
- focus solely on your mileage tracking,
- help you get the most out of your yearly business mileage tax deduction,
- give you the opportunity to transfer your Google Timeline data to an IRS-compliant mileage log,
- help you backtrack and recreate your past mileage log,
- provide you with 3+1 automatic trip recording modes,
- help you deduct $12,000 a year per car in mileage taxes,
- support you with an in-built IRS auditor feature that checks and corrects 70 logical conflicts before printing your mileage log,
- and prepare your mileage log for you,
MileageWise is your go-to software for mileage logging.
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