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 What do you think is the best way to keep track of mileage?
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Missy1970
Star Contributor

Logan, WV
USA
425 Posts

Posted - 07/28/2005 :  8:29:34 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I have been keeping up with my mileage on Microsoft Street and Trips since most of the assignment have actual address. When I go and do a shop as soon as I input my data I pop in the Streets and Trips disk and input my address and their address and then mine again this gives me actual mileage, I then print it out and it states at the top of the page the mileage. I then staple it to my reports as proof that I did the shop, along with proof of payment. My tax preparer loves this.
How do you keep track?

Janice-NoVA
Star Contributor

Reston, Virginia
USA
300 Posts

Posted - 07/28/2005 :  8:41:46 PM  Send Janice-NoVA an AOL message  Reply  Reply with Quote
I keep a notebook in the car and write in the date, beginning and ending mileage along with who the customer was. I enter the mileage on the spreadsheet where I record each shop with the pay and expenses. I can use the sigma function on Excel to get a running total of mileage for the year. The mapping programs are not always completely accurate as to mileage. I get a new notebook each year and usually buy them when I do a drugstore shop.
Janice Porter

Janice Porter
Shops Northern Virginia, Maryland and DC
Gold Certified June 2003
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BlueAbe
Star Contributor

Mid-Central, Ohio
USA
2090 Posts

Posted - 07/28/2005 :  8:51:53 PM  Visit BlueAbe's Homepage  Send BlueAbe an AOL message  Reply  Reply with Quote
For three years I bought that little blue book from Office Max that costs like $1.99 where you write down your daily mileage, and record if its business or pleasure, and your starting and ending mileage.

Unfornately I forgot to this year! :(

Gold certified since the beginning. Merchandising, Mystery shopping, & Court Research throughout Mid-Central Ohio.
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PennyC
Star Contributor

GA
USA
656 Posts

Posted - 07/29/2005 :  08:29:59 AM  Visit PennyC's Homepage  Reply  Reply with Quote
I use the spreadsheet method also.
I have the sheet set up to calculate the profit of the shop (reimb + fee) - the cost of the shop (monies paid out + mileage at $.40/mile). This helps me assess if a shop is worth it when I can see the 'bottom line' literally change as I input a shop.

PennyC
MSPA Gold Certified 5/04
Shopping Gwinnett, Hall and Jackson Counties in Georgia
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Helen Jean Harris
Valued Contributor

Mesa, AZ
USA
149 Posts

Posted - 07/29/2005 :  12:13:12 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I use both a mapping program and my odometer. I write the mileage for each job from my door until I come back to my door. Occasionally I will take a side trip,so then I track those miles and subtract those miles from my total miles. Never had a problem in almost 4 years. I use Microsoft Excel to track all my work, expenses, mileage, anything to do with the job. Even keep information for those companies I never want to work for again.

Helen Jean
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Dianeee
Trainee

WA
USA
5 Posts

Posted - 07/29/2005 :  2:20:55 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
How do you all log the miles if you are doing shops for couple different companys in one trip?

I would also be interested in the headings you all are using in Excel for the different items you are tracking.

TIA
Diane
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CarmenBolin
Valued Contributor

Camarillo, CA
USA
199 Posts

Posted - 07/30/2005 :  9:59:20 PM  Send CarmenBolin an AOL message  Reply  Reply with Quote
Dianeee, I track all the mileage regardless of what company it is for. My spreadsheet headings are:

Date; Home Mileage; Starting Mileage; Ending Mileage; Home Mileage; Destination; and Company.

I used to track the job number too, but then I started merchandising too, and there were not job numbers for most of them so it was just a bunch of empty fields. I only fill in the "Home Mileage" at the beginning of my day and the end of my day. Then, when I add up my mileage, I subtract the mileage from home to the first location, and the last location to home. This is an easy way to separate the "commute" miles.

MSPA Gold Certified July 2005
Shopping & Merchandising Ventura, Santa Barbara, and Los Angeles Counties
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.Lily Kerns
Inactive

Kingsport, Tennessee
USA
4 Posts

Posted - 08/19/2005 :  07:47:43 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Hello, I am a merchandiser first, and an income tax professional second..that is from Jan 1 to April 15. It is important to know how to allocate the mileage you have to the type it is. Mileage incurred while doing work as an independent contractor is deducted on Sch C. This is the income you have to pay self emloyment tax on. Mileage incurred while working as an employee, unless the company's W2 shows you as a statutory employee, has to go on a form 2106, then be carried to Sch A for itemized deductions, if you can itemize. This is also limited by a deduction of 2% of your adjusted gross income.
I keep a steno pad in my car and do beginning and ending odometer readings every day I work with total miles driven. It is important to write down the odometer readings on Jan 1 and Dec 31, also. By subtracting, you arrive at the total miles driven all year {required].
Add all business mileage for days worked, then divide by the total mileage for the year. This gives you the business use %. This will be used if you are claiming depreciation and actual expenses, such as
gas, maintenance, insurance, and repairs. The way gas is going up, I think that may yield a larger deduction than the mileage rate unless it jumps several cents per mile. If you are using mileage deduction, you can change to the depreciation method, if you are using depreciation, you cannot change to the mileage method without IRS permission. Hope this helps. If you need more info,,just let me know. LILY KERNS

Lily Kerns
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BlueAbe
Star Contributor

Mid-Central, Ohio
USA
2090 Posts

Posted - 09/02/2005 :  11:28:05 AM  Visit BlueAbe's Homepage  Send BlueAbe an AOL message  Reply  Reply with Quote
Being gas prices the way they are, should we claim mileage this year, or receipts from gas and car repairs related to work?

Gold certified since the beginning. Merchandising, Mystery shopping, & Court Research throughout Mid-Central Ohio.
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KimBie
Star Contributor

USA
607 Posts

Posted - 09/05/2005 :  4:37:56 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Whichever will give you the highest deduction.

Kim
MSPA Silver Certified
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SharonInCO
Valued Contributor

Conifer, CO
USA
218 Posts

Posted - 09/06/2005 :  07:46:59 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I thought that once you chose a method, you had to stay with that method until you changed vehicles... if I'm wrong, I'm sure one of our "tax experts" will correct me.

Sharon
MSPA GOLD Certified Shopper
Shopping the South and West suburbs of Denver
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