One of the biggest concerns when driving for Uber or Lyft is how to record and manage your driving hours or IRS and Tax issues. While Uber and Lyft have mileage recording features in their app, using the Uber yearly mileage report is just not enough. The Uber mileage recording feature only records the miles driven while taking a passenger. Keeping a full copy of all your annual driving is very important to appreciate the total number of hours and miles covered fully. Another reason is that the IRS standard mileage deduction for business, charitable and medical driving in 2017 is 53.5 cents per mile. For miles driven not in relations to Uber/Lyft, it would be prudent to record them for tax reasons fully.
Most Uber and Lyft drivers will cover more than 1,000 miles per week, so if you are driving to work every single day, or if you work a lot of driving, you want to make sure you have a full record of every mile you have driven no matter what the circumstance or situation.
There are two types of mileage tracking applications available, the full accountancy/small business app, and the dedicated mileage counter app. Both are good, but each one offers a different number of features.
If you prefer to manage a full account of your Uber/Lyft driving, then you might consider Quickbooks Self-Employed App. This exciting app provides a comprehensive bookkeeping system with a mileage calculator, so it is straightforward to link resources and costs to the mileage driven every time you use your vehicle. This lovely app allows you to itemize and automate all your recurring expenses and only requires once a week is categorizing of miles. It also syncs with banks, automates bookkeeping and at the end of the year compare business miles to actual driving miles.
Another full option is Stride Drive which is a free app that gives you a complete expense tracking service for your mileage. It also allows you to run it in the background, so every mile driven is recorded. Since it is an expense management system, you can add every resource and costs you spent for every trip. Stride is an easy app, not heavy on memory usage so that it won’t interfere with your Uber app.
For the focused apps, you might consider mileage tracking apps that only record the miles you have driven. Logging only rideshare miles means that you will need to manage your business information separately. There are some excellent dedicated mileage recorders, including:
Triplog 2.0, which will allow you to estimate your gas usage and also best gas prices. What sets Triplog apart from the rest is its tracking versatility, you decide when to start tracking your trips. Triplog 2.0 is free, but for additional features such as cloud backup and AutoStart, you will need to pay a basic price. Another great feature is the IRS reports that Triplog 2.0 will produce.
MileIQ will cost you $6 per month, since it is free only for 40 rides, as most Uber drivers tend to drive more, expect to pay. This app is quite simple, it has two categories; personal and professional, and it gives a secure cloud sync. The only issue with MileIQ is that it is very heavy on the battery and mobile data.
Hurdlr is an excellent mileage tracking app that offers expense allocation to rides. It also has a few interesting functions, such as graph displays to show you net earnings and expenses in a time frame. Hurdler connects to your cars Bluetooth and starts when the Bluetooth links, which is a nice auto-start feature.
Everlance is another excellent app, although the free version is limited to 30 trips and then it costs either $7.99 a month or $59.99 yearly. (Don’t you just love the use of 99) It also allows expense tracking and has a very friendly GUI.
Finally but not last, Milecatcher, which is an easy app that automatically tracks and categorizes tax-deductible mileage and also creates expenditure reports. Milecatcher runs in the background and is not heavy in the system memory or resources. Whats good about this app is that over time it automatically classifies trips based on your driving history. Milecatcher costs $3.99 a month or $48 per annum.
Finally, the old-school way, why go digital when you can use analog. Buy a logbook and track every trip, allocating expenses as you go. The simplest way is to record all your trips on a regular diary and transfer the data into an Excel file. Keeping both a written hard copy and a digital copy will give you full quality control and audit. Also, when you write down everything you tend to remember it better than when it was stored automatically for you by an app.
1. Always reset your odometer daily. By resetting it every day, you can record your starting mileage and finished mileage, which you can use to compare the reports generated by your mileage tracker.
2. Use a mileage tracker. Download one to give you more IRS reporting power, and also use it to compare with the Uber/Lyft trackers. Having three options (Odometer, Uber and mileage tracker) to check mileage is essential.
3. No matter what system you use, back it up daily to your cloud. If possible, print out a weekly report too, make sure you have a readily available IRS report updated to the week.