Keeping track of your miles can save you a fortune when tax time rolls around. This guide will show you how to build a mileage log template for Google Sheets from scratch. Alternatively, you could just download one of our ready-to-go templates.
What Is a Mileage Log?
Mileage logs are logbooks or spreadsheets that keep track of the distance you or your staff have driven in your car only for work-related activities during a specific period. You can utilize a mileage log to give or get an employer reimbursement or tax deduction, similar to how ledgers work.
Benefits of a Digital Mileage Log
Mileage reports can save you money on taxes if you travel to work. If you work from home, have a home office, or are near your place of employment, keeping track of your miles might not seem like a major concern. But, if you travel for work, you know how quickly miles may accumulate. And, with the price of gas and car upkeep, this is the point where keeping a mileage journal is essential.
It’s crucial to remember that keeping separate logs for work and personal miles is encouraged. When tax season comes around, this will clear up any misunderstandings and make things simpler for you.
There are three main benefits of creating a vehicle mileage log in Google Sheets. These include:
- Improves financial records: The days of keeping track of miles on paper and ink are long gone. This outdated approach does not accurately record the number of miles traveled and can be easily misplaced.
However, with a Google Sheets mileage log template, you can check your log anytime and anywhere. Additionally, you never have to be concerned about data loss as all your data is kept in the cloud.
- Saves time: You can easily track miles with Google Sheets in just a few minutes, freeing up your time to concentrate on expanding your business. By using Sheets, you can spend less time manually tracking miles. You can even create a schedule in Google Sheets for your driving too.
- Helps avoid audits: The IRS takes business cost reimbursement extremely seriously. They, therefore, call for details that many individuals leave out of their handwritten mileage diaries.As these deductions are notoriously inaccurate, the IRS may decide not to accept your company mileage expense, or they could audit you. The IRS will, however, have concrete evidence of your accrued miles over a single tax year, provided you keep meticulous records of your travel.
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Mileage Tracking Tips
What Should Mileage Logs Consist Of?
You should include several things in your mileage report. These are things specified by the IRS, and they consist of:
- The milage
- Dates of the business trips
- Places you have driven to for these trips.
- The purpose of these trips
The IRS also demands a log of the total miles you drive throughout the year, whether for business, extra commute, or in your personal time.
Keeping the Tax Man Away
The best method for tracking your mileage for the IRS for proof is using records. You can create these on the same day or soon after. Creating meticulous records allows you to be precise about the current average mileage of your vehicle.
Making these mileage logs may sound like a chore, but it’s much easier to do than you may think. Although some paid software and apps allow you to do this, an easier way to do this is by using spreadsheet software like Google Sheets.
What Kinds of Business Driving Is Deductible?
Self-employed people who use their cars for business reasons are the most probable candidates for business mileage deductions. If their bosses are not paying them the full amount mandated by the IRS, workers may also be eligible to deduct some of the mileage expense. However, the cost of traveling to and from work is not deductible for any taxpayer.
The following business car usage scenarios are eligible for mileage deductions:
- Visiting clients or customers
- Going to a meeting that is away from your workplace
- Traveling to and from a temporary workplace
- Driving from your work location to a different one like a worksite or a temporary office
Additionally, you might be allowed to deduct miles for business-related chores like purchasing supplies. Remember that factors, such as whether a work site is in your neighborhood or the journey requires a lengthy overnight stay, may influence how you claim a deduction. To confirm that your expenditures are accurate and permitted, check the most recent IRS regulations or speak with a tax accountant.
How to Create a Mileage Tracking Spreadsheet
How you decide to create your mileage tracking template may vastly differ from our version of the template, as it depends on your needs. The template we are going to create in this example mileage report will have three parts. The first one contains the basic information of the employee as well as the totals of the different calculations. We created six entries here.
Here are the steps we followed for our example of a mileage log:
- First, we need to combine the cells for better visual representation. You can do this by selecting the cells and then clicking on Format in the top bar. Click on Merge cells and select the option that suits your needs.
- Now that the cells are merged, it’s time to add the labels. You can use the same ones we did in the above example, or choose those which apply to your business.
- Although this part is optional, you can add colors to the boxes to make them more visually appealing. To do this, select the cell and click on the Fill color icon in the main toolbar. There, choose the colors you like.
Now we are going to create the main part of this mileage spreadsheet. Let’s take a look at how you can do this:
- Add the required labels to the spreadsheet.
Similar to how we did this before, we can merge the cells to ensure the data is formatted appealingly.
- Add borders around the cells. You can do this by selecting the cells and then clicking on the Borders icon in the main toolbar. There you can select the type of border you wish to apply.
- Finally, add colors to the cells and the text. This can be done using the main toolbar’s Text and Fill color options.
Adding Formulas to the Mileage Log Template for Google Sheets
Now that we’ve completed our initial formatting, it’s time to add formulas to the spreadsheet to automate our mileage tracker spreadsheet. We are going to be using the SUM formula for a lot of the cells, so let’s take a look at its syntax first:
=SUM(val1, [val2, ...])
We have added the formulas to three cells in this mileage form template. These are Total Miles, Total Miles Traveled, and Total Reimbursement cells. When using our template spreadsheet for mileage tracking, enter the reimbursement rate to get the proper results for Total Reimbursement.
Here are the formulas we used in this spreadsheet:
1. Total Miles Traveled:
This formula adds together every figure from the Total Miles column.
2. Total Reimbursement:
This formula multiplies the Total Miles Travelled by the Reimbursement Rate.
3. Total Miles:
This formula subtracts the End odometer reading from the Start to calculate the miles traveled for each trip.
Note: If you’re building a spreadsheet from scratch, you’ll need to use autofill or the fill handle to copy the formula to the rest of the column.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does Google Have a Mileage Tracker?
Google does not have a dedicated milage tracker specifically built to create mileage reports. However, due to Google’s flexibility, you can always create your own or download a template from the internet and use them as free mileage logs. You can also make specific changes to fit the spreadsheet to your needs.
How Do I Keep Track of Business Miles?
The way the IRS recommends tracking your traveled miles involves using a mileage tracker log where you have to keep track of every mile you drive daily. You could use a business diary, a dedicated app, or a free spreadsheet tool like Google Sheets.
Do You Have to Provide Proof of Mileage on Taxes?
It is a misconception that you must record your odometer at the start and end of your trips of a business-only vehicle. However, you do have to record it as proof at the beginning and end of the year or when you start using a new vehicle for your business travels. If your car is for private and business use, it’s a good idea to track when you use it for your company.
Now that you have a mileage log template for Google Sheets, you just have to remember to use it consistently. Save the Sheets app to your phone to make adding the mileage after each trip easy.
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