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Oklahoma Bar Association

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Management Assistance Program

It’s Time to Consider a Mileage Tracking App (June 1, 2020)

Many of us had our lowest total of miles driven (perhaps in our adult lives) in April and May of 2020. With courthouses and businesses reopening, that is changing. Lawyers tend to have a lot of business-related driving, but it is also easy to fail to record and document many short trips that may be tax deductible. (e.g. a trip to the office supply store for an emergency purchase or going to the court reporter’s office five miles away for a deposition.)

The 2020 rate for mileage deduction is 57.5 cents per mile for business miles driven. That means if you forget to claim that 10-mile round trip to the court reporter you are missing a $5.75 business expense deduction when you did incur the automobile expense. Some lawyers might say that amount is too small to spend time recording. And the IRS does require documentation to claim the expense. But if you do this drive several times each month, the amount can add up. So this should be automated.

There are many inexpensive mileage trackers that will automatically track mileage and provide the documentation. See Why You Should Stop Doing Your Mileage Tracking Manually. Many of these have a free version and a paid premium version. The paid ones are typically better for documenting trips. But many Office 365 subscribers have access to a great premium one, Mile IQ unlimited, at no additional charge as a part of their subscription. They just need to set it up! MileIQ unlimited is now included with a Microsoft 365 Business Premium, Microsoft 365 Business Standard, E1, E3 or E5 subscription. (MileIQ unlimited is also included with Microsoft 365 Personal and Microsoft 365 Family for personal use.)

Here are the instructions. How to: Activate premium MileIQ with your Office Plan, MileIQ Drive Detection Best practices and MileIQ home page.

If you do not have Office 365 or just want to look at other options, there are many, many online comparison reviews like this one. After all, Uber and Lyft drivers really need these tools. But so do many lawyers and law firms.