Do you use your car for work?
It's early in the morning, and you have to meet a client. You get up and get dressed. You grab your phone and bag. You hop in your car and be on your way. What is wrong with this picture?
One of the most under-reported expenses is the use of your personal vehicle for work. Did you record your mileage or do you have a plan to capture it? Keep in mind, your mileage for work is not just to and from your destination. Think about all the other places you go during the day.
Track your actual mileage
If you meet a client for a business lunch and they ask you to take them to the airport on your way home, this will not be included if you only use a map app to determine your mileage. Think about it -- if you drive an extra 10 miles out of your way each week for a year, that is 520 unclaimed miles. At roughly $.55 per mile, you could be losing out on almost $300 of expense claims per year.
Make Smart Decisions
Using your personal car for business-related expenses can take a toll on the overall health of your car. Be diligent about getting your oil changes and tune ups. Also, remember to shop around! For things like tires, you don't want to wait until one blows out to make that purchase. If you do, instead of finding the best deal, you will be stuck paying for the most convenient. Get those line items repaired on time, so you can shop around a get the best available prices. Each time you get your car serviced, they provide you with a report. Try to stay ahead of those upcoming and obvious repairs like getting new tires.
So, what does it take to be an expense expert? Well, you already are! No one knows the expenses related to your business better than you. All you need to do is be aware of what you are spending and definitely keep a log.
Note: This post is for informational purposes only. For tax advice, please contact a tax professional or visit www.irs.gov.
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