Small Business Tips

The Best Apps for Tracking Mileage

Nigel Graber

If you’re a regular road warrior, with your jacket hanging on that peg in the back of your BMW or Mondeo, you’ll need to keep an accurate log of your business trips.

Why do I need a mileage tracker app?

You need to keep tabs on your mileage if you’re self-employed because you must itemise your business trips for HMRC come self assessment time.As a car or van driver in 2019, you’re entitled to 45p per mile for the first 10,000 miles and 25p a mile thereafter. You can add another 5p per mile if you’re carrying a business passenger.

These Approved Mileage Allowance Payments (AMAP) rates apply whether you’re employed or self-employed. They apply for any business journeys you make between 6 April 2018 and 5 April 2019. In fact, they haven’t changed since 2012.

As a self-employed person, you can write off your business mileage against tax. It can add up to a tidy sum, too. Imagine you do 12,000 business miles in one year. You’d be entitled to 10,000 x 45p plus 2000 x 25p. That’s £5000.But of course, that’s how it should be. Every mile you put on your car’s odometer adds to wear and tear and ultimately increases your running costs.If you’re self-employed, the information you log must include things like the date of each journey and the reason you made it.Of course, you could keep a log in a notebook, on a spreadsheet, or on the back of an envelope. But that’s not going to impress HMRC. If you want to take a professional approach, you need a business-mileage and expense tracker app.

What features should I look for in a mileage tracker app?

You’ve got a number of mileage tracker apps to pick from, but the one you go for should be simple to use, affordable (maybe even free) and compatible with both iPhone and Android. Let’s take a look at the best mileage tracker apps for business in 2019.

What are the best apps for tracking mileage and business expenses?

1. MileIQ

Look, we ARE MileIQ, so we’re not going to put ourselves fifth, are we? But we’re reasonable people. We like you to choose for yourself. So we’ll be reviewing a few other contenders as well.But first, here’s what MileIQ has to offer.

‍Automatic Tracking MileIQ catches your drives automatically. While you get on with the driving, our app runs in the background. It tracks your miles and creates a comprehensive record of your drives.

‍Easy Classification Simply swipe right for business drives and left for personal drives. You can easily add parking, tolls or other factors.

‍Produces Accurate Reports You’ll get an accurate record of your mileage and weekly reports. They get stored in the cloud, so you’ll never lose them. You can also generate highly customisable reports on the web dashboard.

‍A Tailor-Made DashboardYou can put the MileIQ Dashboard on your laptop, desktop or tablet. You’ll get a bespoke service with advanced features such as bulk classify and adding locations.

‍Some other features you’ll love:

  • Use MileIQ FREE for up to 40 drives a month
  • Track miles on multiple vehicles
  • Recognise certain journeys.

MileIQ has already logged close to 30 billion miles. So we must be doing something right.Now let’s see what else is on the market.

Business people logging their business miles in car

2. MyFirmsApp Mileage Tracker

The Mileage Tracker from MyFirmsApp claims best-in-class accuracy. It also acted on feedback that users forgot to start the mileage tracker at the beginning of a journey. Which meant they weren’t capturing all their trips. So MyFirmsApp introduced an auto-detect feature that tracks in the background.

The new feature should increase the number of journeys users record, although they still have the option of a manual start.

The Mileage Tracker is easy to operate. You simply tap Start to make sure the app catches your journey and Stop at the end.You’ll be automatically prompted to name the journey and state whether it’s a business or personal trip. You can even send trip details to your accountant at the click of a button or as an email attachment.Other recent improvements include:

  • Streamlining the list screen and manual trip entry interfaces to remove distractions
  • Syncing across multiple devices, with trips recorded when the app is offline sent to the cloud
  • Synchronising trips logged while the app is online in real time
  • Constant updates to include the latest technology, saving time and money.

3. Quickbooks

If you’re self-employed, you probably heard of Quickbooks. It’s one of the market’s leading accountancy software programs. But did you know it also features a mileage-tracking app?

The advantage of Quickbooks is likely to be for the recently self-employed. That’s because you’ll be getting software that does the lot — bookkeeping, invoicing and more. If you already have basic accounting software, it might not make sense to invest in Quickbooks solely for mileage tracking.Quickbooks comes with automatic GPS detection. As you start your trip, it’ll use your phone’s location to detect when you’re driving. There’s no need to remember to turn it on.Quickbooks’ USP is to automatically compare a standard mileage allowance deduction with an actual-expenses deduction. This comparison allows you to choose which method will get you the largest tax deduction.

Download MileIQ to start tracking your drives

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That’s not to say you can alternate between the standard mileage allowance and actual-expenses claims when you self-assess. You must choose a method and stick with it.The software comes with patented technology that uses your phone’s GPS only when you’re moving. So you get the data you need with no drain on your battery.

4. Everlance

Everlance is a mileage-tracking app that’s very popular in the US, but which can be used in the UK if you don’t mind making a few minor changes.

The company says you simply need to treat the dollars as pounds. The app also doesn’t cover the UK’s big five banks, although it does include some of the smaller ones. You can, however, use the manual expense tracking feature, by taking pictures of receipts and creating entries yourself.

If you can hack the dollars thing, you’ll discover an app that’s very slick to use. Although, a little more expensive than its rivals in the premium version.Unique features with Everlance include a real-time map of your route, your miles tally and the particular reimbursement you’re eligible for.

With the free version, you get automatic tracking on start-up, but you’ll need to stop it manually. To get automatic stopping, you’ll need Everlance’s premium version.After your trip, simply swipe left to classify as personal and right for business. The app will keep a running total of your year-to-date earnings at the top of the screen.With the Premium version, you get:

  • Unlimited tracking (the free version gives you 30 trips)
  • Detailed PDF reports of your mileage and expense spending
  • Certain journeys automatically logged as a business trip when you tell the app your work hours.

5. TripLog

With TripLog, you get a slightly cheaper mileage tracker in its paid form that also has some impressive features.The app also offers around half a dozen ways to track mileage. On either Android and iPhone, you can create an intuitive Daily Trip Journey view to put you in control.

Take the set-and-forget option of MagicTrip, or track with TripLog Beacon, which claims to track mileage with the best accuracy, reliability and battery-saving technology in the industry.

With the Daily Trip Journey, you can see trips for each day together, easily classify daily trips and name common locations with just the touch of a button.And, with the Daily Map View, you can look at your driving route for the entire day and review your trips by swiping through trip cards to review them. Put your trips together on a map, and you’ll see the big picture of your travel journal.

TripLog can not only track mileage but also track business income and expenses. Take photos of your receipts, and you’ll be able to present them to the taxman. With TripLog’s expenses tracking, you can categorise your transactions to get a complete expenses overview.

How do you fill in a mileage expense log?

Sadly, HMRC doesn’t allow you to take a wild guess at your business mileage. And you can’t fill it in retrospectively on your mileage-expenses log just because you’re staring down the barrel of an audit. It makes the most sense to track and record your drives as soon as possible. We recommend doing this every week or every day.

What business mileage data should your mileage log include?

HMRC will want a record of the:

  • Journey's date
  • The purpose (business or personal)
  • The start point and destination
  • The total miles travelled.

If you’re a self-employed worker using the simplified expenses method, you need to keep a record only of your business mileage. Track your total miles, including personal miles, just in case. For the actual-expenses method, you must keep a record of both business and personal journeys.

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