Tax Tips: Another Pointer for Biz Travel

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Here’s another alternative for keeping track of business miles. Instead of keeping a log of all business miles for the entire year you can use an IRS-approved method called “sampling” to determine your deductible miles.

According to the IRS, “You can keep an adequate record for parts of a tax year and use that record to prove the amount of business or investment use for the entire year. You must demonstrate by other evidence that the periods for which an adequate record is kept are representative of the use throughout the tax year.”

Instead of counting the miles for every trip you would pick certain representative periods of time, clock your business driving during those periods, and apply the number of miles or percentage of use to the entire year.

The IRS gives the following example:

“You keep adequate records during the first week of each month that show that 75% of the use of the car is for business. Invoices and bills show that your business use continues at the same rate during the later weeks of each month. Your weekly records are representative of the use of the car each month and are sufficient evidence to support the percentage of business use for the year.”

Or if you record your business mileage total as 2,500 miles in the first three months of the year, you can claim an annual deduction of 10,000 miles.

No matter which “sample” you use, you must show that the period is representative of actual business driving for the year.

New Jersey tax pro Robert D. Flach has been preparing 1040s for individuals since 1972.

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