QuickBooks can do WHAT? Tracking your mileage
When it comes to potential tax deductions, lots of accounting pros and their clients end up leaving money on the table. A big culprit for missed deductions? Incomplete or messy mileage logs.
And really, it’s not hard to see why.
IRS guidelines require a lot of very specific information beyond just the reading on your odometer. Without a law degree, trying to juggle all the regulations and requirements can produce a lot of anxiety. Tracking your miles is a hassle, categorizing your trips (business/personal) is time consuming, and keeping all your records in one place for tax time is nearly impossible.
The Mileage Tracking feature in QuickBooks® Online makes it easier than ever to keep your records straight and help you get the deductions you deserve. Whether you enter trips manually or use the amazingly simple auto-tracking functionality, Mileage Tracking saves you the tedious work of staying on top of your driving — helping you focus on your work, your clients, and your business.
Previously, the feature was only available for QuickBooks Online Self-Employed users. But now, the ease and simplicity of Mileage Tracker is available for ALL QuickBooks Online subscribers!
The biggest game-changer in the Mileage Tracking feature is its auto-tracking functionality. With the help of the QuickBooks mobile app, your phone can automatically detect and measure your trips using GPS.
From there, all it takes it a few taps to record each trip into a running list of deductible mileage. When tax time rolls around, all the relevant information is neatly stored in one convenient location. Whether you enter miles on your phone, your computer, or a combination of both, all your trips are synchronized and stored as one easy-to-access log that you can filter by date, type, or custom tag.
But, that’s not all! There’s so much more to love about Mileage Tracking. It uses current IRS guidelines to calculate potential tax deductions at a glance. It stores important information about your vehicle. It even lets you export your log as a CSV, so you can add the data to your own expense spreadsheets.
Easy, right? We believe that’s how easy it SHOULD be to get your deductions.
Whether you access the feature through a browser or the QuickBooks mobile app, Mileage Tracking is easy to find in the Menu sidebar.
Right now, only the Master Administrator of the QuickBooks Online company has access to the Mileage Tracking feature.
The following step-by-step guide focuses on how you can automatically log miles using your smartphone and the QuickBooks mobile app. If you’d like to enter your trips manually via your phone or computer, skip ahead.
Step 1: Enter Vehicle Info (first use only)
From the mobile app, navigate to Menu > Mileage > Auto-tracking > Manage vehicles to enter the info.
TIP: You can enter additional vehicle details (make, model, cost, ownership status) from your browser.
Step 2: Enable Auto-Tracking (first use only)
Navigate to Menu > Mileage > Auto-tracking and turn the toggle switch on.
TIP: You might need to open your smartphone’s settings to allow auto-tracking. The app will prompt you with the necessary steps to enable the feature.
Step 3: Just Drive!
QuickBooks will automatically detect a trip using your phone’s GPS location.
TIP: Completed trips will be stored in the UNREVIEWED tab of the Mileage screen until you categorize them as Business or Personal.
Step 4: Review Logged Trips
From the UNREVIEWED tab, swipe RIGHT to categorize a trip as Personal, or swipe LEFT to categorize as Business.
TIP: If you categorize a trip as Business, QuickBooks will prompt you to add a purpose for the trip. Read this list for some common trip purposes.
If you’d prefer to log your trips manually, you add a new business trip using the Add (+) button on the mobile app, or with the Add trip button on your browser. From there, you can add the trip date, distance, purpose and start/end points. Once you save it, the trip will appear in the REVIEWED tab, alongside any automatically tracked trips too.
NOTE: Recorded trips are not captured by the QuickBooks Online Audit Log, and deductible trips are not recorded in your General Ledger as posted transactions. To record a mileage expense, you can either record a bill to reimburse the owner or create a journal entry. You’ll need to set up a Mileage expense account to categorize these entries.
- If you frequently travel between a few destinations, save them to your list of Favorite Locations for quicker entry. Choose from a suggested location name (Home, Work, etc.), or create your own custom location name.
- From the browser, you can export your trips as a CSV file for easy importing into spreadsheets or other external documentation. From the trip log grid, click the export icon in the top right. Before exporting, you can also set a custom type/date filter to limit the number of exported entries.
- When it comes to trip purposes, be specific and consistent. This will help you track trips more easily and improve your justifications to auditors and other tax professionals. To get you started, here’s a list of some common purposes for business trips:
- Client meeting
- Supplier meeting
- Company meeting
- Purchasing supplies
- Professional development
- Site evaluation
Try the Mileage Tracking feature today to save you and your clients time – and stay in compliance.