Options for Keeping Your Mileage Log

Services for Real Estate Pros with William T. Zumwalt CPA, CTC "The Tax Coach for REALTORS"

I think everyone in real estate knows they need to keep a mileage log. Rest assured that will be one of the first things an IRS agent asks for.  So here are some tips to keep your blood pressure down.

First of all, we need to know your total miles driven for each year. That’s easy peesy! Just have your oil changed at the beginning of every year. The receipts will show the odometer reading for the beginning of each year.

Next we need to establish your business usage. That can be done in several short cut ways. One is to keep a daily log of your business mileage for three consecutive months. The flip side of that is to keep a daily log of your personal mileage for three consecutive months. Either one works.

The IRS will also allow you to keep the mileage log for the same week of each month. So you pick the week such as the second week of every month and have 12 weeks of logs.

The log you keep should have the beginning odometer and ending reading for each day. The net difference is your mileage for the day. Now you just need to tell the story of where you drove that day. These records must be done within one week of their occurrence.

There are many apps out that can help you as well. I use taxbot.com. It has a GPS tracking ability to record your mileage and each day goes to a spreadsheet.

There are exceptions that require you to keep a log 24/7, so should you have any questions just email me or call

Bill Zumwalt
Helping REALTORS with Tax Solutions and Solving Tax Problems for REALTORS
REALTOR Tax Preparation, REALTOR Tax Accountant, Tax Preparation Tulsa, OK
The Tax Coach for REALTORS

William T Zumwalt CPA,CTC, PLLC
5416 South Yale Ave
Suite 120
Tulsa, OK 74135


Re-Blogged 3 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Carla Muss-Jacobs, Principal Broker (503) 810-7192 05/17/2013 10:38 AM
  2. Gary Frimann 05/17/2013 11:00 AM
  3. Lynn B. Friedman 07/11/2013 11:38 AM
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Lauren Lavina
The Keyes Company ~ since 1926 - Palmetto Bay, FL
Realtor -- Miami, FL (786) 586-5946

Great tips! I will have to look into Taxbot.

May 17, 2013 07:18 PM #22
Joni Bailey
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services - Anderson Properties - Huntsville, TX
Your Huntsville / Lake Livingston Area REALTOR®

All of the apps that I have tried so far have failed. I will check out your taxbot app! Thanks!

May 17, 2013 07:28 PM #23
Joan Whitebook
BHG The Masiello Group - Nashua, NH
Consumer Focused Real Estate Services

Lot of good tips on making sure we can get some tax break for all the miles we drive.  I log my mileage every time I have to fill the tank. 

May 17, 2013 07:29 PM #24
Sheila Morales
Kauai Property Shop - Kapaa, HI
Your Kauai Hawaii Agent

taxbot looks like an interesting app.  I'll give it a try.

May 17, 2013 07:54 PM #25
Steven Pahl
Keller Williams Tampa Properties - Tampa, FL
Real Estate Consultant Tampa, FL 813-319-6423

Never hear of taxbot, but will be checking it out shortly.  I like the idea of an oil change at the first of the year.  Thanks for the tips!

May 17, 2013 07:59 PM #26
Iris Stuart
none - Santa Rosa, CA

Bill, thank you for sharing this information.  I knew a log was necessary but didn't know the details.  Bookmarked for future reference!


May 17, 2013 08:29 PM #27
Lynn B. Friedman
Atlanta Homes ODAT Realty Call/Text 404-939-2727 Buckhead - Midtown - Westside -- and more ... - Atlanta, GA
Concierge Service for Our Atlanta Sellers & Buyers

Dear Bill,

Quite amazing tool - the computer - and now add the taxbot.com. It has a GPS tracking ability to record your mileage and each day goes to a spreadsheet." 

Have a happy day -

May 17, 2013 08:56 PM #28
Myrl Jeffcoat
GreatWest Realty - Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent

Ironically, I continue to be a pencil and paper kind of gal, when it comes to logging mileage.  I really like your idea of having your oil changed at the beginning of every year, so receipts will show the odometer reading for the beginning of each year.  Great tip!

May 17, 2013 09:21 PM #29
Sonsie Conroy
I serve buyers and sellers everywhere in San Luis Obispo County - San Luis Obispo, CA
Energetic, Enthusiastic, Knowledgeable Realtor

I am also one who uses pencil and paper for this task--actually, pencil and an old-fashioned paper datebook. I just record the business mileage as I accumulate it, and be sure to get the odometer reading at the first of the year.

What's this about only having to record three months of the year? Do you then apply that to the rest of the year? I haven't heard of  this before; I just do the whole year as it happens. But three months would make life a lot easier.

May 18, 2013 12:34 AM #30
Tropic Shores Realty - Ich spreche Deutsch! - Spring Hill, FL
Florida Waterfront and Country Club Living
Bill, I never heard about this method for keeping a log or rather establishing the mileage. I just keep a log for every day and record the number of business miles driven, that way I'm in the habit of doing it.
May 18, 2013 04:38 AM #31
David Burrows
Classic Realty - Fairfax, VA
No Pressure, Just Seriously Devoted to Real Estate

Bill, thanks for the information. I use a spreadsheet to keep track but I like what you shared today. I will also give the Mobile app a try.

May 18, 2013 04:43 AM #32
Matthew Sturkie, CRS, GRI 909-969-3805
Action Realty - Apple Valley, CA
CRS, GRI 909-969-3805

Hi Bill, Thanks for the tips. I like to use a spiral notebook that stays in my car at all times. Whenever I finish my driving for the day I write down the milage, date, and somes notes about what I did that day. It's kind of like a daily driving journal for work related driving. It's very easy and takes less than a minute. I like the oil change at the beginning of the year tip.

May 18, 2013 08:40 AM #33
Jean Hanley
Coldwell Banker Kivett Teeters - Hemet, CA
Specializing in Folks Who Want To Buy/Sell Homes

Wow, lots of great information.  I am lazy about this, and need to do better.  think I will check out Taxbot and give it a try.  Thanks for sharing your knowledge.

May 18, 2013 03:10 PM #34
Fred Griffin
Frederick Griffin, Licensed Real Estate Broker - Tallahassee, FL
Licensed Florida Real Estate Broker

Bill, great information as always.   Congratulations on the Featured Blog.

May 18, 2013 06:38 PM #35
Bob Crane
Woodland Management Service - Stevens Point, WI
Forestland Experts! 715-204-9671

Thanks for the great tips Bill, I checked out Taxbot.com, very entertaining video, and helpful program.

May 18, 2013 10:36 PM #36
Dulcey Schuster
Rentec Direct Property Management Software Tenant Screening - Grants Pass, OR
Property Management Software

Thanks for the tips, it's great that there are some tools out there that make keeping these records simply.

May 19, 2013 07:49 AM #37
Bill Zumwalt
William T. Zumwalt CPA, CTC "The Tax Coach for REALTORS" - Tulsa, OK
Tax Coach, CPA

I am overwhelmed 38 comments on this blog, wow!  Thank you one and all for taking the time to share your thoughts with me.  My business is helping REALTORS with taxes no matter where you live and helping you keep as much of what you earn as you can, legally!  I welcome your questions and here for you!  Give me a call, drop me an email always happy to hear from AR friends!

Thanks again, Bill!


May 20, 2013 05:42 AM #38
Lynn B. Friedman
Atlanta Homes ODAT Realty Call/Text 404-939-2727 Buckhead - Midtown - Westside -- and more ... - Atlanta, GA
Concierge Service for Our Atlanta Sellers & Buyers

Dear Bill,

And today - due to your wonderful set of comments - my AR inquiry about mileage records went DIRECTLY to your post. I am going to check out your suggestions - love the change the oil on January 2nd!

Have a happy day -

Jul 11, 2013 11:26 AM #39
Jeanne Dufort
Coldwell Banker Lake Country - Madison, GA
Madison and Lake Oconee GA

Looks like an excellent tool - thanks for sharing. We Realtors are good at SOME paperwork, but tracking expenses is not a strong point for me.

Jul 12, 2013 01:22 PM #40
Georgie Hunter R(S)
Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers - Haiku, HI
Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info

I just heard about Taxbot and it sounds like the answer for keeping car records and other expensees too.  Thanks for the good info.

Jul 30, 2014 02:10 PM #41
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