Tracking mileage with non-working odometer

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corysold
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Tracking mileage with non-working odometer

Post by corysold » Tue Jan 03, 2017 9:07 am

The odometer only works sporadically on my Prius. As I'm gathering some tax info, I'm realizing the actual odometer reading is well short of the amount of miles I actually drove for the year. My odometer only shows about half of the miles I drove on the year.

How should I handle this on my taxes for business expenses? One question is if I have documentation. What counts as documentation other than the odometer? I know how long my paper route is and I drive the same distance every day. Will that suffice as documentation?

I suspect marking "No", as in no documentation would increase my audit chances, though still likely small.

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KlingKlang
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Re: Tracking mileage with non-working odometer

Post by KlingKlang » Tue Jan 03, 2017 9:15 am

I had a crazy mental image of you throwing out a weight at the end of a mile long line and then stopping to reel it in every mile.

Have you gotten an estimate of how much it would cost to get your odometer fixed?

I think that the documentation that the IRS is looking for is a daily mileage log. I can't conceive of them requiring to have the odometer on your car certified.

Added: You can go to almost any mapping website such as Google Maps and click through your route to get an accurate mileage number.
Last edited by KlingKlang on Tue Jan 03, 2017 9:26 am, edited 1 time in total.

marstaton4
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Re: Tracking mileage with non-working odometer

Post by marstaton4 » Tue Jan 03, 2017 9:19 am

If you're concerned about it and drive the same route everyday, or don't drive the same route everyday, you can use any number of apps on a smart phone to log your mileage.

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Toons
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Re: Tracking mileage with non-working odometer

Post by Toons » Tue Jan 03, 2017 9:19 am

Get it fixed.
Alleviate the "fret".
:happy
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corysold
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Re: Tracking mileage with non-working odometer

Post by corysold » Tue Jan 03, 2017 9:19 am

The quote for fixing the issue, which involves the entire electronic display and only occurs below 50 degrees, was around $1500. The car has 200.000+ miles and is a 2005, so it is hardly even worth $1,500.

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corysold
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Re: Tracking mileage with non-working odometer

Post by corysold » Tue Jan 03, 2017 9:20 am

marstaton4 wrote:If you're concerned about it and drive the same route everyday, or don't drive the same route everyday, you can use any number of apps on a smart phone to log your mileage.
That was my thinking. I just wasn't certain what counted as IRS official documentation if the need arose.

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cheese_breath
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Re: Tracking mileage with non-working odometer

Post by cheese_breath » Tue Jan 03, 2017 9:22 am

Maybe you could pay someone with a working odometer to follow you around on your route? :P

Seriously though... If you drive the same route every day and measure it once to get an accurate reading I would think you could make a 'retroactive' daily mileage log if the IRS requires one.
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Re: Tracking mileage with non-working odometer

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Tue Jan 03, 2017 9:39 am

I have a number of customers who I visit on a fairly regular basis. In my mileage log, I only need to document the mileage once. After that, even in a paper notebook, I can simply go back and see what the distance from Westborough, MA to North Kingstown, RI is and write it down. If you're doing a paper route, you only need to know what the mileage is.
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Kenkat
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Re: Tracking mileage with non-working odometer

Post by Kenkat » Tue Jan 03, 2017 10:39 am

One other thing to consider is if you ever want to sell this car, you won't be able to sign the mileage statement / affidavit (depends on state) on the title transfer. Although with 200k+, maybe this won't be a major deal.

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Doom&Gloom
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Re: Tracking mileage with non-working odometer

Post by Doom&Gloom » Tue Jan 03, 2017 11:40 am

I think some GPSs will track your mileage. Not sure about that, but maybe worth investigating as a less expensive option to odometer repair.

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corysold
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Re: Tracking mileage with non-working odometer

Post by corysold » Tue Jan 03, 2017 11:44 am

kenschmidt wrote:One other thing to consider is if you ever want to sell this car, you won't be able to sign the mileage statement / affidavit (depends on state) on the title transfer. Although with 200k+, maybe this won't be a major deal.
The odometer is just the start of the reasons this car won't ever sell, so I'm not too worried about that.

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Epsilon Delta
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Re: Tracking mileage with non-working odometer

Post by Epsilon Delta » Tue Jan 03, 2017 1:50 pm

Two things:
1) A working odometer is a legal requirement in some states and provinces.
B) AIUI the Prius odometer uses the ABS sensors, the internal data bus and software in the instrument cluster. Two out of three of these are rather important. I'd get it diagnosed, if not fixed.

JGoneRiding
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Re: Tracking mileage with non-working odometer

Post by JGoneRiding » Tue Jan 03, 2017 2:05 pm

corysold wrote:
marstaton4 wrote:If you're concerned about it and drive the same route everyday, or don't drive the same route everyday, you can use any number of apps on a smart phone to log your mileage.
That was my thinking. I just wasn't certain what counted as IRS official documentation if the need arose.
Its what i have used. I had a little book and i only recorded miles not odometer readings. I think you have something like that and or a mapquest log and number of days you did it you would be fine. Itd not like they ask for odometer pics which would really be the only "proof"

MikeZ
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Re: Tracking mileage with non-working odometer

Post by MikeZ » Tue Jan 03, 2017 2:06 pm

I would look into a $10 bluetooth ODBII. They may pull the needed info.

livesoft
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Re: Tracking mileage with non-working odometer

Post by livesoft » Tue Jan 03, 2017 2:13 pm

When I turn in expense reports, the clients won't take odometer readings. They want a print-out from google maps with the route and mileage.
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corysold
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Re: Tracking mileage with non-working odometer

Post by corysold » Tue Jan 03, 2017 3:03 pm

Epsilon Delta wrote:Two things:
1) A working odometer is a legal requirement in some states and provinces.
B) AIUI the Prius odometer uses the ABS sensors, the internal data bus and software in the instrument cluster. Two out of three of these are rather important. I'd get it diagnosed, if not fixed.
Thanks for this. Perhaps I should look deeper.

The instrument panel does not work when the issue arises. No speedometer, gas gauge or odometer. Not a huge issue, but not having ABS would be something concerning.

Though I think I'd sell the car before I'd spend the money to fix this issue.

Dottie57
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Re: Tracking mileage with non-working odometer

Post by Dottie57 » Tue Jan 03, 2017 6:41 pm

corysold wrote:The odometer only works sporadically on my Prius. As I'm gathering some tax info, I'm realizing the actual odometer reading is well short of the amount of miles I actually drove for the year. My odometer only shows about half of the miles I drove on the year.

How should I handle this on my taxes for business expenses? One question is if I have documentation. What counts as documentation other than the odometer? I know how long my paper route is and I drive the same distance every day. Will that suffice as documentation?

I suspect marking "No", as in no documentation would increase my audit chances, though still likely small.

Doesn't mapquest. Give you a route and total miles traveled? Pretty good documentation if printed.

Rodc
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Re: Tracking mileage with non-working odometer

Post by Rodc » Tue Jan 03, 2017 7:00 pm

Toons wrote:Get it fixed.
Alleviate the "fret".
:happy
+1 At least work to solve the problem going forward. But not in reverse. :)
We live a world with knowledge of the future markets has less than one significant figure. And people will still and always demand answers to three significant digits.

Dontridetheindexdown
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Download DigiHUD to an old cellphone

Post by Dontridetheindexdown » Tue Jan 03, 2017 7:48 pm

Download DigiHUD to an old cellphone, now you have odometer, trip odometer, speedometer, maximum speed, average speed, etc.

Free, easy, and excellent documentation

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ClevrChico
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Re: Tracking mileage with non-working odometer

Post by ClevrChico » Tue Jan 03, 2017 7:54 pm

I have Google Location Services enabled on my cell phone. I've used it to reconstruct tax deductible trips.

https://www.google.com/maps/timeline

For detailed record keeping, I'd want a spreadsheet updated regularly, though.

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