How do I claim a mileage deduction for my business driving?

September 15, 2006

Date:  Sun, 13 Aug 2006
From:  Marc

I use my own vehicle on my job as a commercial building maintenance person. I anticipate driving about 20,000 miles this year. I want to claim the mileage deduction. I am not getting reimbursed. What kind of documentation (mileage records) do I have to keep?



Date:  Wed, 06 Sep 2006

Hello Marc,

I recommend that you keep a mileage log showing the date, beginning and ending odometer readings and the customers visited during the day. If you stop at the home office at the beginning and the end of the day, the mileage to and from the home office is non-deductible commuting expense. If you don't stop at the home office and assuming your customers are local, the mileage to your first customer and from your last customer is non-deductible commuting expense. Note your odometer readings at the beginning and the end of the year.

You might have bigger deductions by actually keeping track of your vehicle expenses, including insurance, interest expense, fuel and repairs.

Remember that employee business expenses are miscellaneous itemized deductions. You have to have enough deductions to itemize, and two percent of your adjusted gross income is subtracted from your miscellaneous itemized deductions. Also, employee business deductions are not allowed when computing the alternative minimum tax. These are high hurdles to qualify for the tax deduction. You are much better off if your employer reimburses you for these expenses.

Good luck!

Mike Gray

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