TThe short answer is… yes. It’s probably not what you want to hear – but don’t walk away yet! Understanding why you need a mileage log is very important, and ultimately it may save you a ton of money (or actually make you money).
Why You Still Need A Milage Log
You have to prove it!
The reason for this is that you can only deduct the percentage of business use for your vehicle. If you drove 90% for business, then you can only claim 90% of your expenses as a deduction. The way you calculate and prove this is by dividing the number of business miles by the total miles your vehicle travelled.
That proof and calculation is done using your mileage log. If you don’t have a mileage log, even if your car is 100% business, to the IRS you are guessing. They don’t accept guesses. They accept proof.
The point is, if you claim any vehicle deduction, you always need a mileage log to prove it to the IRS.
Since you need a mileage log anyway, you may want to check out how depreciation works. You may realize that claiming mileage can make you more money.
Qualified NonPersonal Use Vehicles
There are some vehicles the IRS allows to not requires a mileage log. These are termed “qualified nonpersonal use vehicles”.
The idea is that because of their design these vehicles are just too impractical for more than a minimal amount of personal use. They include ambulances, trucks with a power lift gate (like a tow truck), vans with only a driver’s seat, etc…
A sedan, SUV, or even one-ton pickup truck is not a qualified non-personal use vehicle.
These vehicles have very specific requirements. Read straight from the horse’s mouth: IRS’s information on qualified nonpersonal use vehicles.