Written Log Book Needed for Mileage Deduction

A recent case confirms the requirement to maintain a contemporaneous, written log book in order to claim a deduction for business mileage expense. (Contemporaneous means recorded at the time of the activity, not based on a later recollection.)

The taxpayer reported more than 32,000 business miles on his 2014 tax return, but did not keep a log, calendar, or any records of the various work locations.

In 2017, the court disallowed the taxpayer’s mileage deduction.

Takeaway: Records must be contemporaneous and specific. Reconstructing written records years later is not contemporaneous, and estimating various details is not specific.

(Peeples, T.C. Summary Opinion 2021-12, May 19, 2021)