Anyone who uses their car for business purposes must maintain an accurate mileage journal. It not only makes it easier for you to keep track of your spending but also makes sure you can deduct your mileage from your taxes. Although physically documenting each journey can seem like a demanding task, technology has made it much simpler. We’ll look at how to utilize Google Maps for your IRS mileage record in this post, making it easier to complete and ensuring that you obtain the most accurate deductions.
Why Google Maps?
Many of us use Google Maps on a regular basis as a navigation and mapping tool. A wide spectrum of consumers may access it because it is available on both Android and iOS smartphones. It also has a ton of tools that may help you create and maintain your mileage journal.
Getting Started with Google Maps
Before you can use Google Maps for your IRS mileage log, you need to set it up correctly. Here’s how to get started:
- Install Google Maps: If you don’t already have the Google Maps app on your smartphone, download and install it from your device’s app store.
- Sign in to Your Google Account: Open the app and sign in to your Google account. If you don’t have one, you’ll need to create one.
- Enable Location Services: Make sure that location services are enabled on your Google Timeline. Google Maps relies on your device’s GPS to track your location accurately.
- Check Your Location Accuracy: Before using Google Maps for mileage tracking, ensure that your device’s location accuracy is set to high. You can do this in your device’s settings under “Location.”
Now that you’re set up, let’s explore how to use Google Maps for your IRS mileage log effectively.
Tracking Your Mileage with Google Maps
Google Maps offers a feature called “Your Timeline,” which automatically tracks your location history. Here’s how to use it:
- Open Google Maps: Launch the Google Maps app on your smartphone.
- Access Your Timeline: Tap the three horizontal lines in the upper-left corner of the screen to open the app’s menu. From there, select “Your Timeline.”
- View Your Trips: Your Timeline will display a chronological history of your trips, including places you’ve visited and the routes you’ve taken.
- Select a Trip: Tap on a specific trip to see more details, such as the distance traveled, the duration of the trip, and the places you’ve visited.
- Add Notes: You can also add notes to each trip to specify its purpose, such as “Client Meeting” or “Office Supplies Purchase.” This will help you categorize your trips later.
- Export Your Data: To use this data for your IRS mileage log, you’ll need to export it. Unfortunately, Google Maps doesn’t offer a direct export feature for mileage tracking. However, you can export your saved places from Google Maps, which we’ll cover shortly.
How to Export Saved Places from Google Maps
Exporting your saved places from Google Maps can be a valuable step in using it for your IRS mileage log. If you are wondering how to export saved places from Google Maps, here’s how to do it:
- Access Your Saved Places: Open Google Maps and tap on the three horizontal lines in the upper-left corner to open the menu. Select “Your Places” and then choose the “Saved” tab.
- Review Your Saved Places: You’ll see a list of all the places you’ve saved in Google Maps. These can include your home, office, or any other frequently visited locations.
- Export the List: Unfortunately, Google Maps doesn’t have a built-in export feature for saved places. However, you can manually copy the information into a spreadsheet or note-taking app. Create columns for the place name, address, and any additional notes you’ve added.
- Organize and Categorize: Group your saved places based on their purpose, such as “Business” or “Personal.” This will make it easier to calculate mileage for specific categories later.
In conclusion, using Google Maps for your IRS mileage log can simplify the process of tracking your business-related mileage. By leveraging features like Your Timeline and exporting saved places, you can streamline the data collection process. Just remember to maintain accuracy, categorize your trips correctly, and keep detailed records to ensure compliance with IRS regulations. With the right approach, Google Maps can be a valuable tool for managing your mileage and maximizing your tax deductions.