1. Take a picture of your odometer – Most drivers will get a deduction based on how many business miles they drove. You’re going to want a few things at the beginning and end of the tax year and one of the most important is proof that you started the year at a certain mileage and ended it at a certain one. Two pictures will help your case. The other is…
2. Get SherpaShare. This is an invaluable mobile phone app for drivers as it tracks any time you are in a car. It tells you the time, date, route and gives you a little map. I’ve used it for two years now and it is well worth the $60 a year. It is ironclad proof of your journeys and helps you with your most important expense.
3. Give your car a great bath inside and out. You should detail your car about 2-3 times a year. They, too, are write-offs and the first of the year is a great time to start fresh with a clean moneymaker.
4. Make sure your dashcam is working. The dashcam is a great investment, less for protecting you from your passengers (which it may do), but mostly for capturing how opposing drivers interacted with you. If someone hits you, it’s great to have proof that you were not at fault.
5. Clean out your glove compartment. Totally. Take everything out of there. And clean it. You should only have three things in there, even if you’re just a part time driver: A regular envelope that contains your car registration and your proof of insurance. A large envelope marked 2018 for any receipts you might get when you buy things for your car in cash. Use the rest of the space for small water bottles for your passengers. Now if anyone ever asks for water – or God forbid you get pulled over by the police – you can get into your glove box quickly and have exactly what they need and you don’t look like a crazy hoarder.
6. Now is the time to find a great tax professional. If there’s one thing Al Capone could teach us all it’s DON’T MESS WITH THE I.R.S. Is $400 a lot to pay for a tax person? It might feel that way, but there’s a good chance a real tax pro can save you a few hundred dollars — legally — since they know all of the ever-changing code and since they do this Every Day. Ask yourself how you feel any time a passenger chimes in to tell you the best way to get to the airport? Don’t you want to say, “dude I’ve done this dozens and dozens of times. Why don’t you sit back and just enjoy the ride”? Now ask yourself, aren’t taxes a smidge more complicated than getting to the airport on a busy day?
Bonus for those in LA: My tax person is Michaelina Lee. She works for H&R Block in Mid City. I pay the regular fee plus the extra $40 “Piece of Mind”. Last year the IRS wanted to audit me. Thanks to the piece of mind, H&R Block totally took care of it and if they were off THEY pay, not me. She has done the taxes of tons of rideshare drivers and knows how to do it properly. If you are near Wilshire and Highland you should email her at email@example.com
Have a great 2018!