Obviously no one likes the tax man whether you’re making lots of money, no money, claiming everything and being honest or hiding things and being a crook. That’s just the way things go. For most of us, taxes mean piles of paperwork that is not always comprehensible.
Still, we plough on and learn what it takes to please the tax man.
In this conversation we discussed gas, travel expenses and how to claim them in a manner acceptable to the tax man. The gentleman asked me if I knew I had to keep a log of the travel miles on the vehicle used in a business. Because if there is no log, travel expenses in that vehicle can’t be claimed: No log = No claim.
In the tax man’s eyes, you could have flown with your wings to markets and other places with your product on your back. Or you could have walked with 50 pounds of soap on your shoulders. Or you might have some kind, generous person drive you everywhere for free.
To prove you used the vehicle for business-related travel, you must keep a log and record the odometer readings with each trip. The date must also be included. A brief note of destination can also be included for clarity. One of these pocket books can be picked up for a few dollars (which you can claim).
I knew this was the rule for claiming travel expenses when owning a business only because I had taken a business course. He didn’t learn this lesson until this year—during an audit—after a few years in business. This meant he had to un-claim the travel expenses for previous years.
So get a log book, keep your gas, repair and other maintenance receipts and claim the correct percentage on your taxes.
Better yet, if you are or planning to run a self-publishing business, take a course in basic business. Consider it an investment.