Are you looking for a straightforward, IRS compliant Excel mileage log template? Using a mileage log is the best way to ensure that your manually-tracked mileage is consistent and your records contain all the information required by the IRS. Using the Standard Mileage Rate, this template will calculate your deduction per trip, making it easy to calculate your total deduction when it comes time to file your taxes on your Schedule C tax form.
That's why we created a free downloadable mileage log template will help you track your mileage manually
What your mileage log needs to include
Thorough mileage tracking can save you significant amounts of money during tax season. However, the IRS does not operate based on the Honor System; they require detailed records in order to validate your mileage deduction. That’s where your mileage log comes into play, serving as an acceptable record to substantiate your tax claim and provide a basis for the figure you deduct. Our Excel mileage log template meets IRS requirements, meaning it contains all the information the IRS expects to see in the event of an audit. This includes:
- Your mileage for each trip you deduct
- The dates of those trips
- The places you drove on those trips
The IRS will also want to know the total number of miles you drove for the year, which can be found by subtracting the starting mileage on your odometer from the mileage at the end of the year.
It’s also a good idea to know your business, commute and personal mileage. Since your mileage log template records your business mileage, you can subtract that number from your total mileage. From there, estimate your commute mileage by multiplying your commute length by your days worked (a weekly average is okay for all but the most detailed of purposes). Once you subtract this number, you’ll be left with your personal mileage.
Of course, keeping detailed records of all your trips takes the guesswork out of calculating your specific mileage for each category. There are a number of mileage tracking apps available to help automate your mileage tracking, making it easy and convenient to track your mileage anytime, anywhere, without a second thought.
How to use this mileage spreadsheet
The most important thing about tracking your mileage is to track it consistently -- every trip, every time. To be thorough, you should be tracking your business, personal, and commuting miles. When you’re sitting in front of the computer next, transfer your records into the spreadsheet.If it’s a trip for business, write “business” in the purpose column. Next to it, record any details about that trip, such as “Meeting with XYZ” or “Staples run.”
Next, enter the location you drove to and, of course, the mileage of that trip. The template will calculate the deduction for each business trip automatically based on the Standard Mileage Rate.
Does the IRS require odometer readings for my log?
No, the IRS does not need your mileage log to include odometer readings for each trip, only the mileage of each trip. However, they do want to know the mileage displayed on your odometer at the beginning of the year, so it’s a good idea to keep an annual record of your starting mileage.
Consider using a mileage tracking app
To effectively use this Excel mileage log template, you’ll need to track your mileage manually using something like a notebook, then transfer your data (again, manually) into the spreadsheet when you next happen to be in front of a computer. If this sounds rather arduous to you (and it is), you might want to consider using a mileage tracking app, such as Everlance.
The purpose of any mileage tracking app is to make it easy to keep detailed, IRS compliant records in a single location, accessible at any moment. Most of us already spend the majority of our time within inches of our phones; mileage tracking apps take advantage of this and allow you to track your mileage without having to take any extra steps. You simply download the app, then categorize each trip as being for business or personal reasons.
Everlance tracks your mileage automatically, meaning you won’t need to worry about forgetting to launch the app or turning any settings on or off. Simply download the app for iPhone, Android, or Google Play, then launch it once after download is completed and go about your day. The app will automatically track each trip, log your mileage, and calculate your deduction. Categorizing a trip is as simple as swiping left or right for personal or business trips, respectively. The app is fully customizable and can be tailored to suit your individual needs. You can also use Everlance to automatically track your expenses, making calculating deductions for everything, from business expenses to parking fees to travel cost, easier and more efficient.
Automated expense tracking can save you time and money
When you connect your bank account or credit card to Everlance, the app will automatically log your expenses, recording the date, time, amount, and corresponding transaction information. This way, you avoid hanging onto a shoebox full of receipts and the end-of-the-month scramble to enter your data into a spreadsheet.
In addition to keeping all your mileage and expense records in one place, Everlance allows you to track your automotive expenses. This can help you calculate your mileage deduction based on actual expenses, which requires much more detailed record keeping of everything from fuel costs to oil changes to repair expenses, in addition to mileage.
While this method requires much more meticulous records, it can be very lucrative for some people. Keeping appropriately detailed records allows you to decide which method is right for you.
Whether you use the Everlance app, our Excel mileage log template, or even a notebook, the key to getting the most out of your mileage deduction is to track every single trip and maintain detailed records of your mileage.