For many artists and creative freelancers, a vehicle can become much more than just a useful mode of transportation. It can be a dressing room, a portable rehearsal hall, a meeting room, or a second (or first) office.
A vehicle’s uses can vary, from jetting across town to auditions or client meetings, to traveling to a secluded shoot or performance venue, or even transporting a whole booth’s worth of merchandise to an event.
If this sounds like you, then you are likely eligible to claim travel-related business expenses as a creative freelancer.
That’s right – by simply tracking your business-related mileage, you can claim deductions for motor vehicle expenses! This includes fuel, maintenance, insurance, and more. However, to benefit from these deductions, you need to provide evidence in the form of a mileage log.
What’s a mileage log anyway? 🤔
A mileage log (also referred to as a “logbook”) is a detailed record of the trips you take with your vehicle. It serves as evidence to support your claims for business-related travel. The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) uses your logbook to prove that you use your vehicle for business purposes.
Your mileage log should contain information about the trips you take in your vehicle, including:
- Date of the trip
- Purpose of the trip
- Starting location
- Total number of kilometers driven
Apart from the trip information, your log should also have space to record your vehicle’s odometer readings at the start and end of the year.
Do I really need to keep one?
Maintaining a mileage log is required when submitting deductions for vehicle expenses.
In the event of a CRA audit, a mileage log acts as proof of your business-related travel. Without a logbook, your claims can be rejected.
Keeping a logbook ensures you have the necessary documentation to support your deductions 👍🏼
So how should I track my mileage? 🧐
Tracking your mileage doesn’t have to be the worst!
Here are some solutions you can try:
- 📲 Mileage Tracking Apps
You can download mileage tracking apps such as Driversnote*, Everlance*, or TripLog*, which will automatically log your trips in a format that aligns with the CRA’s requirements. These apps can simplify the process by recording essential trip details and storing them securely in the cloud. *Note: Sai is not affiliated with these apps; they should be used at your own discretion.
- 📈 Digital Spreadsheet
If you prefer a more hands-on approach, you can use a digital spreadsheet using software like Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets. Click here to download a template we made which you can update regularly with your trip details.
- 🗒️ Physical Logbook
For those who prefer a traditional approach, maintaining a physical logbook is still an option. Use a dedicated notebook or a pre-designed logbook specifically tailored for mileage tracking. Make sure that you keep it organized and up to date!
A final tip 🚘
Try to make it a habit to review and update your mileage log frequently.
Ideally, check daily or at least weekly to ensure all trips are properly recorded.
Accuracy and consistency are key when maintaining a mileage log, so be diligent 🤓