For the discerning business owner, tax season is more inevitable than the next season of The Bachelor—and way more time-sensitive. In order for mileage reimbursement payments for mobile employees to remain nontaxable, organizations and their employees must track, record, and submit all work-related mileage for review and approval. However, there’s several different allowable ways of calculating and tracking mileage. When tax season rears its ugly head, here are some ways to keep mileage tracking from becoming another headache. 

What is the IRS Looking For? 

The IRS requires that mobile employees who get reimbursed for their work-related travel in personal vehicles keep record of this travel in the form of mileage logs. These logs must—in a timely fashion—contain the time, date, and location of each trip, as well as its business purpose. What the IRS doesn’t dictate is exactly how these logs are kept, which means spreadsheets, paper logs, and digital methods are all possible options. There are also no hard and fast requirements for how, exactly, mileage is tracked. 

Manual Mileage Methods 

When it comes to tracking mileage, there are a handful of different allowable options that your organization may choose to use. The most traditional (and most analog) is the tried-and-true odometer readings method. It’s exactly what it sounds like; employees record the odometer readings of their personal vehicle, then manually subtract the difference after work trips to reach a mileage total.

While this is ostensibly the simplest mileage calculation method, it does come with a high margin for error, in the form of miscalculations or data misentry, and a low amount of oversight from management or supervisors. 

Not to mention the time it takes to document all of the necessary information for each trip. The average employee spends about 17.5 minutes a day calculating mileage totals for tracking. That comes out to ninety minutes a week, or around six hours a month. Wouldn’t you rather your employees spent their incredibly busy work days actually doing their jobs, instead of holding a calculator and squinting at the odometer of their Toyota Corolla? 

There Has to Be Another Way!

Don’t worry, there are other options besides manual mileage tracking. Some businesses opt to use GPS technology to monitor employees’ travel, and to track their mileage that way. However, GPS mileage tracking is unintuitive, and does not determine between actual work-related trips and mileage generated by side trips and home commutes, which are not eligible for reimbursement. 

Many businesses are opting for the more streamlined method of point-to-point trip mileage tracking. Using mileage reimbursement software, mobile employees simply record the starting and ending points of their work-related trips—plus any necessary receipts—on their smartphones, and then submit that data for approval and reimbursement. This method puts less responsibility for calculation on employees and automates the approval workflow, so everyone from employees to supervisors can do their jobs without getting bogged down in calculations and paperwork. 

Keep it Simple With CompanyMileage

Mileage tracking is a crucial tenet of proper mileage reimbursement management. But if you’re not careful, it can also become a time-consuming slog of odometer readings, calculations, paperwork, and workflow bottlenecks. Let your employees focus on doing their jobs, and let us do ours!

CompanyMileage and our suite of mileage reimbursement software solutions, SureMileage, SureMobile, and SureExpense, are designed to optimize, organize and automate every step of the mileage reimbursement process. Don’t let mileage tracking slow down your business operations. Contact us for a demo today and find out more about how we can save you time, money, and a lot of trouble!