Here is a shortcut for keeping track of business mileage.
Often taxpayers who use their car for business make multiple trips to the same locations on a regular basis — in my case to Staples for supplies, to my private mail box provider, to the bank and to various year-round clients.
Many years ago when I worked for one of the “big eight” international accounting firms, we had to record the mileage to and from our clients' offices on our time report. The firm would reimburse us for business miles, and would in turn bill the client for the mileage. Rather than have to count the miles for each individual trip, the firm provided employees with a chart that listed the round-trip miles from our office to each of the firm’s clients. If Client A indicated 20 miles, each time I would go to Client A I would record 20 miles on my report.
The round-trip mileage was clocked on the first trip from the office to the client, and that figure was used as the standard for every trip from then on. If a client moved the standard would be changed.
Taxpayers who make regular business trips to the same location should do as my firm did — count the miles from your office to the business location and back on your first trip and then record the same miles in your travel log for each subsequent round-trip drive. It will make your life easier and your mileage accounting more efficient.
New Jersey tax pro Robert D. Flach has been preparing 1040s for individuals since 1972.