Mileage Reimbursement Explained | How To Set Up a Mileage Reimbursement Policy for Your Business

company mileage reimbursement plan setup

If you have mobile employees, setting up a company mileage reimbursement policy is a must. With that said, not every company has a policy in place, and if they do, their policies are often inefficient.

Outdated pen-and-paper mileage tracking methods cost companies thousands of dollars and countless labor hours every year. It doesn’t have to be that way. Today, we’re going to discuss why automated mileage reimbursement policies are important, and how you can easily set one up.

What Does Mileage Reimbursement Cover?

“Mileage” refers to any expenses incurred when an employee uses their personal vehicle for work. Think of tasks like meeting with clients or going out for office supplies.

If they’re using their personal vehicle to conduct business for your company, they’re subject to getting reimbursed. Some potential expenses that can be covered by mileage reimbursement may include:

  • Fuel
  • Oil changes
  • Insurance costs
  • General maintenance
  • Car depreciation

Keep in mind that certain things are not covered by mileage reimbursements. For example, employee commutes are typically not reimbursed.

How Much Should You Reimburse For Your Employee’s Mileage?

Determining what rate to reimburse your team can seem tricky, but it doesn’t have to be. It all comes down to what’s fair.

In the United States, the IRS tries to make it easier by offering a mileage rate that is based on “an annual study of the fixed and variable costs of operating an automobile” (IRS.gov). The standard mileage rate for 2023 is 65.5 cents for business mileage.

Related: IRS Mileage Rate Explained | How Is The Standard Mileage Rate Determined?

In most states, this rate is optional, however. If you as an employer can prove that the expenses your employees incur are less than the recommended IRS rate, you are able to pay them the rate that you think is fair.

If you choose to do this, tread carefully, as this method can leave you liable if you’re under-reimbursing. Your employee’s net pay can fall below the minimum wage.

Other Mileage Reimbursement Methods

With that said, what’s fair for one state may not be fair in another. A reimbursement rate used by a tech company in San Francisco may not make as much sense for a small business in rural Oklahoma.

If, for example, you feel as though the IRS rate won’t be fair for your region, your business can implement a fixed and variable rate (FAVR) program. If your rate is higher than the one set by the IRS, your employee will have to pay taxes on the additional income.

Are Companies Required to Reimburse Mileage?

In most states, mileage reimbursement is not a requirement. The IRS does not have any federal regulations that force companies to offer reimbursement programs.

With that said, most companies choose to use the standard IRS mileage reimbursement rate. In addition, some states have their own laws and regulations regarding mileage reimbursement.

Consult your local jurisdiction’s laws to ensure you’re following the correct guidelines. For readers and company owners not living in the United States, be sure to check your government’s requirements on expense reimbursements as some of this information may not apply.

driving car for work needs mileage reimbursement

Why Your Company Should Develop a Mileage Reimbursement Policy

There are two major reasons why you should develop a mileage reimbursement policy. First, it helps in attracting top talent by ensuring the company will make good on any company-related expenses that are incurred by the employee. Second, it allows the company to reduce its tax exposure by identifying valid business expenses that it can write off.

Employee Mileage Reimbursement: The Data

Without a modern mileage tracker app, employees generally use paper mileage logs. This requires the driver to pull out their mileage logbook, grab a pen, and manually enter the necessary information.

Drivers spend around 2 minutes per mileage entry using pen-and-paper logs. An automatic mileage tracker like TripLog cuts out that time almost entirely.

If drivers make multiple trips throughout the day, these minutes add up, with a typical driver spending an average of 58 hours a year filling out manual mileage logs.

Related: IRS Mileage Commuting Rule: What Businesses Need To Know

In addition, TripLog found that, within a three-year period, 28% of all manual mileage claims are overreported, costing companies an average of over $1,800 per driver. TripLog’s app cross-references manual reports with Google Maps, ensuring accurate mileage reporting.

How To Implement a Mileage Reimbursement Policy

To take advantage of the benefits of implementing a mileage reimbursement policy, a company must ensure certain things are in place to meet all IRS requirements. An accountable plan is one such necessity.

If you choose to use the standard mileage rate, you will need to set up an accountable plan. An accountable plan outlines reimbursement and expense allowances for employees. This will ensure that your reimbursement is tax-free.

When setting up an accountable plan, companies must ensure they meet three specific criteria:

  1. Your employee’s expenses must be business-related.
  2. The employee must provide a timely and detailed expense report.
  3. The employee must return any payments that were more than the reimbursement within a reasonable timeframe.

To Ensure Accurate Reimbursements, Employees Must Track Their Mileage.

As stated above, employees need to provide timely and detailed expense reports. These reports should differentiate business mileage from personal mileage.

The Problems With Manual Mileage Reimbursement Methods

For decades, companies have had their employees fill out manual mileage logs. This requires them to pull out a paper mileage log and a pen and manually jot down information like odometer readings.

Oftentimes, the employee will have to present a stack of receipts, forcing your company to invest more time in sorting and organizing expenses. In an internal study, TripLog found that drivers spend about 2 minutes per stop filling out mileage logs.

One TripLog client found that their drivers were spending eight hours per month just on manually entering their travel.

Approximately 19% of all expense reports have errors, and companies lose around 5% of their revenue to fraud. Manual expense reports leave companies significantly more prone to errors and fraud.

Related: Manual Expense Reports: The Hidden Costs

Automatic Mileage Tracker Apps Make Mileage Reimbursement A Breeze

By switching from pen-and-paper to an automatic mileage tracker app like TripLog, companies can save untold amounts of money and time. Drivers get a sleek, modern, and fast way to track their mileage and expenses, and business owners and admins get access to our comprehensive web dashboard.

mobile employee using car for work will need mileage reimbursement

TripLog automatically starts tracking your team’s trips the moment they start driving and stops when they stop. With one easy swipe, they can classify the trip as business or personal.

Then, right from the app, employees can submit their reports directly to your admin team for reimbursement. You can even deduct your team’s first and last trips (i.e., their commutes) from their mileage reports.

TripLog’s web dashboard holds all of your team’s mileage reimbursement information in one convenient place. With detailed analytics and reporting capabilities, you can see where your money is going, as well as approve or reject expense reports.

Mileage Reimbursement vs. Mileage Allowance

As we know, every business is different and one size may not fit all. It’s worth pointing out the major differences in reimbursing employees for their mileage & expenses vs. providing an allowance.

When companies provide an allowance, employees receive their funds beforehand and can use them for travel without having to wait. With that said, this method can result in fraud and unintentional inaccuracies.

Requiring employees to submit mileage expense reports can reduce the instances of fraud and inaccuracy, but it increases the paperwork. For many companies trying to reduce fraud and keep a tighter rein on their expenses, it can be a more attractive option.

Choosing mileage reimbursement has its disadvantages, but companies can leverage technology that automates the entire process.

How TripLog Can Help With Mileage Reimbursement

Effective mileage tracking and reimbursement solutions such as TripLog can cut the time and effort needed to put in place a mileage reimbursement policy. TripLog is by far the market’s best mileage reimbursement solution.

TripLog provides a smart mileage reimbursement solution not only to small and midsized companies but also to larger enterprise-scale organizations.

Related: Is Mileage Reimbursement Considered Taxable Income?

Our intuitive web dashboard allows administrators to manage approvals, supervisors, mileage, and more. The dashboard allows companies to easily set up their accountable plan and mileage reimbursement policy.

TripLog’s Mileage Reimbursement Features

TripLog’s easy-to-use app allows for many set-and-forget auto-start options. In addition, TripLog’s web dashboard gives business owners and administrators access to insightful data, such as month-by-month mileage, fuel use, busiest hours, and more. 

Complete and total control via the comprehensive dashboard allows company administrators to tailor mileage reimbursement details whenever IRS requirements or company policies change.

TripLog provides companies with a competitive advantage by helping them to make mileage tracking a more efficient, manageable, and transparent process.

Download TripLog for free on iOS or Android, or schedule a complimentary web demo today.

Google Maps Mileage Tracking | How to Track Your Mileage With Google Maps

google maps mileage tracking explained blog

If you use your personal car to conduct business, you should be using some method to track your mileage. In addition, if you’re a company with mobile employees who use their personal vehicles, they should be tracking their mileage as well so that you can easily provide them with mileage reimbursement

There are many different ways to track mileage and expenses. Many still continue to use outdated pen-and-paper mileage tracking methods. These can be extremely inaccurate, however, and can take a lot of time to fill out as well.

The more standard method today is to use an automatic mileage tracker app like TripLog. With that said, some people might wonder if using Google Maps is a viable method to track their mileage. 

Related: Rideshare Tax Guide: What You Need To Know For 2023

Today, we’re going to look at various ways that Google Maps can assist workers who need to track their mileage for work.

Does Google Maps Have a Built-in Mileage Tracker?

As of 2023, Google Maps does not have an integrated mileage tracker in its app. With that said, Google Maps is by far the most used navigation app in the United States.

According to some recent studies conducted on the topic, Google Maps controls somewhere between 70% and 80% of the phone navigation app market share. However, if you’re going to track your mileage, it will not do it for you automatically.

Can You Track Your Mileage Using Google Maps?

While Google Maps doesn’t have a built-in mileage tracker app, you can still use Google Maps as a method of tracking your mileage. This can be accomplished in a few ways.

Google Maps Mileage Tracking Method #1: Use An Automatic Mileage Tracker App That Integrates With Google Maps

Even though Google Maps doesn’t natively track your mileage like an automatic mileage tracker app can, some mileage tracker apps have integrations with Google Maps. For instance, TripLog has certain Google Maps integrations that can make things easier for businesses.

Businesses with mobile team members that are under the TripLog Enterprise plan are able to compare their team’s drives to Google Maps. If a driver reports that a trip took 20 miles, but Google Maps says the trip actually took 15 miles, this trip will be flagged or auto-adjusted.

In the TripLog web dashboard, admins can see and manage overreported trips, as well as adjust settings related to the feature. In addition to this feature, TripLog allows Android users to import their saved locations from Google Maps

To learn more about how TripLog can help your business save time and money, schedule a complimentary demo request today!

Google Maps Mileage Tracking Method #2: Use Google Maps Timeline

For Android users, a potential method to track your mileage with Google Maps is to use Google Maps Timeline. According to Google’s help center, “Google Maps Timeline shows an estimate of places that you may have been and routes that you may have taken based on your Location History”.

Related: DoorDash Top Dasher Requirements: Everything You Need To Know

Note: Google Maps Timeline is only available to Android users who have the feature enabled. To check your Google Maps Timeline, open the Google Maps app, tap your profile picture, and select “Your Timeline”.

mobile employee using a mileage tracker and maybe google maps for work

Downloading Your Google Maps Timeline Data

You can download your Google Maps Timeline by using Google Takeout. Here are the steps to download your data:

  1. Sign into Google Takeout.
  2. Locate the “Location History” option and make sure it’s selected.
  3. Unselect any other options that you do not want to download (select “Deselect all” at the top to do this quickly).
  4. At the bottom, hit the “Next step”.
  5. Select “Export once” and then choose the file type and size. We recommend downloading it as a .zip file.
  6. Click “Create export”. 

Depending on how much data you’re downloading, this process can take a minute or two, a few hours, or even a few days. Thus, if you need this information to do your taxes, you should export sooner rather than later.

Should You Use Google Maps Timeline to Track Your Mileage?

With all of that said, the general consensus is that there are far more efficient and easier methods for mileage tracking than Google Maps Timeline. Reddit user /u/HarpyFarts said this about using Google Maps Timeline to track their mileage

“Soooo, this was my MO when delivering, and tbh it’s a ***** to track. I spent a good several hours compiling my last quarter (3 months) mileage. Better that you use an app that’s made for it…”

Related: The 6 Best Food Delivery Tips For 2023

We would recommend using an automatic mileage tracker app as your method. It’s by far the most efficient method, and their unmatched accuracy and ease of use will save you a great deal of time and money.

You can download TripLog, the market’s best mileage tracker app, on iOS or Android for free today!

Google Maps Mileage Tracking Method #3: Use Google Maps as a Reference

If you’re dead-set manual mileage tracking, you can definitely use Google Maps to supplement whatever method you’re currently using. As you probably know, when you plug an address into Google Maps, you can see how many miles it will take to arrive there. 

You can use this information as a general reference when you’re conducting business. In addition, Google Maps is a highly accurate navigation tool, so you can trust that you will get to your location in the fastest time possible when using it.

Transform Your Mileage Tracking With TripLog

As we’ve learned today, Google Maps is a useful tool, but it’s not a great way to track your mileage. You definitely can’t use it to track any other business-related expenses, either.

Get started with TripLog today and never miss a reimbursable or tax-deductible mile. Thanks for reading!

Mileage Reimbursement Requirements By State | Which States Require Mileage Reimbursement?

irs mileage requirements by state

Mileage reimbursement requirements can be an intimidating topic for many companies, whether at the small business or enterprise scale. It’s important to know when you are required to reimburse as regulations can vary from state to state.

In this article, we will discuss what the United States requires at the federal level in regard to mileage reimbursement, and what some states are doing at the local level. With that said, always consult your state’s local laws when making decisions that could affect your business.

Federal Mileage Reimbursement Requirements

In the United States, there is no federal mandate requiring companies to reimburse their employees for mileage and travel expenses. With that said, there are some states that have their own specific regulations (more on that later).

In most states, if an employer requires workers to use their personal vehicles for business purposes, they technically can do so without any promise of reimbursement.

The exception to this rule is if the expenses will cause an employee to earn less than minimum wage. Let’s say that you had an employee go pick up some paper from a nearby office supply store.

Related: What To Do If You Forget To Track Your Mileage

If that employee is paid minimum wage, their driving-related expenses may result in them pocketing less than minimum wage. Should that be the case, you are required by federal law to reimburse them for those expenses that would cause their net pay to dip below minimum wage.

Note: These reimbursement requirements don’t count for expenses such as commuting to and from work.

Thus, using a robust mileage and expense tracker in this type of scenario is paramount. That’s why we designed TripLog from the ground up to be the last app your company will need when reimbursing mileage.

irs mileage rate requirements in the usa

You Could Avoid Reimbursing… But You Probably Shouldn’t.

Most companies in the US will reimburse their employees to some extent, even those earning well above minimum wage. This is a decision one must make as a business owner or manager, taking into account certain somewhat intangible factors such as employee happiness and what the company is able to afford.

For instance, having an IRS-compliant expense reimbursement plan might help your company attract better, more highly-qualified employees. This may save your company additional money in the long run, despite costing you more in the short term.

If you feel as though you need a detailed and easy-to-understand mileage and expense reimbursement manager, TripLog will be your best friend.

Does My State Require Mileage Reimbursement?

As of 2023, only three states require by law that companies reimburse mileage for their employees – California, Illinois, and Massachusetts. Other states and jurisdictions like Iowa, Montana, New York, Pennsylvania, and Washington, D.C. may require companies to reimburse for certain other expenses, but not necessarily mileage.

Related: Fixed and Variable Rate (FAVR) Reimbursement Explained

Another potential complication is the fact that some of those other states may offer mileage reimbursement for state-level government employees. As always, if you’re unsure of what your state or jurisdiction requires to reimburse you, look into your local laws. You could also ask a tax professional or your HR representative for additional assistance.

What Does This Mean for CA, IL, and MA?

If you own a business in any of those three states (California, Illinois, and Massachusetts), you are obligated to reimburse your employees for many expenses that they incur on behalf of your company. One of these expenses is mileage.

Most companies choose to use the standard IRS mileage rate, though there are other methods as well. It’s important for you and your business to keep accurate records of the expenses that your employees accrue.

Track Your Mileage and Expenses With Ease

Understanding which states or jurisdictions require mileage reimbursement is important. Even if you don’t live in a state that requires it, companies should still track their employee’s mileage. It can be a solid method of hiring high-quality employees and keeping them happy.

Fortunately, there are many great tools at your disposal, and an indispensable member of your financial arsenal should be TripLog. Our mileage and expense tracker is as robust and powerful as it is easy to use.

If you want to easily see how much you can save, check out our mileage reimbursement calculator. To learn more, schedule a complimentary live web demo, or visit our pricing page to get started today.

IRS Mileage Commuting Rule: What Businesses Need To Know

irs commuting from home to work rules

A common question many workers and business owners have is whether their commute to their place of work is tax-deductable or reimbursable. As a general rule, the IRS doesn’t allow trips from your house to your place of work to be deductible.

In addition, businesses typically don’t reimburse their employees for their commute from home to the office or vice versa. For the majority of businesses and drivers, that’s just about all you need to know. With that said, there are certain minor exceptions and instances that go against that grain.

Today, we’re going to discuss what the IRS considers a commute, what those aforementioned exceptions can be, and how TripLog can help companies manage their mobile team members’ commutes.

Defining the IRS Mileage Commuting Rule

The IRS defines commuting as “the cost of transportation between your home and your main or regular place of work” and states that these expenses cannot be deducted from your taxes. Such a trip would be defined as a personal trip, and personal trips are not eligible for deductions under the IRS’ rules, and businesses generally do not reimburse personal trips (although they could if they chose to).

Should Businesses Provide Mileage Reimbursement For Commutes?

Generally speaking, there is no federal mandate requiring businesses to reimburse their employees for anything related to the business or personal uses of their vehicles. Outside of a few specific states, businesses usually offer company mileage and expense reimbursement as a perk to help hire and retain strong candidates.

Related: IRS Mileage Rate Explained | How Is The Standard Mileage Rate Determined?

Even with businesses that choose to offer a mileage reimbursement plan, most will not offer any sort of reimbursement for personal trips, commute to and from their place of work included. This is a standard practice and will generally not have any effect on businesses’ abilities to hire or retain quality employees.

With TripLog, it’s never been easier to set custom daily commute mileage exemption rules. In the TripLog administrator dashboard, business owners and managers are able to deduct certain portions of their mobile team member’s trips from their mileage reports.

TripLog Unique Feature: Commute Mileage Exemption

One of TripLog’s many unique features that sets it apart from other mileage and expense trackers is our commute mileage exemption feature. Companies on the TripLog enterprise plan are able to set rules exempting certain trips from their employees’ mileage logs.

Companies are able to exempt the following trips from their employees’ mileage logs:

  • The total trip mileage of the day
  • Both the first and last trip of the day
  • Only the first trip of the day
  • Only the last trip of the day

For example, if they were to choose the “Both the first and last trip of the day” option, then their employees that use TripLog would have their first and last trips (i.e. their commute to and from their place of work) exempt from the companies’ mileage reports. This is just one of many unique features and capabilities that set TripLog apart from other mileage and expense trackers.

Related: 2023 Standard IRS Mileage Rate Explained

businesses filing taxes using triplog

IRS Mileage Commuting Rule Edge Cases 

As stated above, there are certain specific instances where you can deduct your “commute”, which include the following:

  • If you’re traveling between your residence and a temporary work location or job that you expect to work at for less than a year
  • If you’re traveling from one job to a secondary or temporary job or job site 
    • Keep in mind that your commute from home and your second job on, for example, a day off from your main job is not deductible
  • If you’re traveling between a temporary work location and your secondary job
  • If you are traveling from your tax-deductible home office to your main job

Home Office Rules

If you have established a home office, you are able to deduct certain trips from your taxes, assuming you are driving from your home office to another established place of work. For example, if you are a carpenter and have a workshop or studio downtown but you do all of your administrative work at your qualifying home office, you are able to deduct the trip from your home office to your workshop.

Related: How Employees Working From Home Deduct Their Mileage

Keep in mind, the IRS has very specific rules and regulations regarding what is or isn’t a home office, so be sure to review these requirements and keep them in mind when you do your taxes.

  • If you are required for work to travel to another location, which isn’t your regular workplace or home.
  • If you travel between your home and a temporary job, which you expect to work at for less than one year.
  • If you travel between your main job and a second job.
  • If you travel between your home and a temporary work location if your main job is at another site.
  • If you travel from your regular workplace to a temporary job site.
  • If you travel between a temporary work location and your second job.
  • If you have a deductible home office, and you travel to your main job, this is considered as driving between workplaces.

Talk to the Mileage Experts Here at TripLog

The team here at TripLog pride ourselves on our knowledge and understanding of all things mileage and expense reimbursement. TripLog’s mileage tracker app gives drivers an accurate and efficient way to track their mileage, and our comprehensive web dashboard gives administrators full access to their team’s reports.

To learn more about how TripLog can help save your company time and money, business owners can schedule a complimentary live web demo for your company. Feel free to ask for more information on how TripLog can help manage your team’s commutes!

7 Ways Uber & DoorDash Drivers Can Save on Gas in 2023

woman filling up gas tips for saving money on gas and fuel

This shouldn’t come as a shocker to most of us who haven’t yet switched to electric cars: gas prices are expensive right now. In fact, they’re the most expensive they ever have been in the United States.

The majority of us still drive frequently, which means we need to purchase copious amounts of gas. With that said, are there things we can do to save money on gas? 

There’s no singular thing we could be doing to save lots of money, but by doing a lot of smaller and manageable things, the savings can quickly add up. Let’s get into our top 7 best tips on how Uber and DoorDash drivers (and anyone else who uses their car for work!) can save money on gas in 2023.

Uber & DoorDash Gas Saving Tip #1: Adjust Your Driving Behavior

Not all driving styles are equal when it comes to saving on gas (and other forms of car depreciation). Harsh accelerations, for instance, are known to decrease gas mileage. 

Related: Why You Should Use A Mileage Tracker With Your Fuel Card

Driving more slowly, easing into accelerations, using less AC, breaking slowly, and reducing idling can save you more than you might expect. For instance, AAA states that gradual accelerations can increase your fuel efficiency by 10-40%.

To save even more, you can decrease the weight of your car. Remove that old equipment and that case of water bottles from your trunk and you’ll see an immediate increase in fuel efficiency. 

Uber & DoorDash Gas Saving Tip #2: Choose the Right Car

If you already own a car, getting rid of it and purchasing a new one might not be particularly accessible. Still, if you’re in the market for a new car, there are some things to consider in regard to saving on gas.

Obviously, purchasing an all-electric or hybrid car will net you the best “gas” mileage. If you do go with an electric vehicle, you should remember that, while cheaper, “filling up” your car is going to take more time than a more traditional vehicle.

Electric or Hybrids Not Quite Your Speed?

If you do go with a non-electric or hybrid car, there are still things you can consider if you want to pinch every gas-spending penny. For example, cars with automatic transmissions are known to sometimes use more gasoline than cars with manual transmissions.

In addition, you could consider the size and weight of your car. A model with a smaller cab or truck bed might be lighter and thus more fuel-efficient. 

If you don’t need a four-wheel-drive car in your area, you should avoid it since they usually use more fuel than non-four-wheel-drive vehicles. Even something as small as choosing lighter colors can have an effect on reducing heat buildup, which can result in less air-conditioning usage.

You could also consider looking into which cars are more aerodynamic than others. 

Uber & DoorDash Gas Saving Tip #3: Treat Your Car Right

Oftentimes, we don’t give our cars quite the treatment they deserve. Putting off that oil change by another few thousand miles, ignoring that tire pressure gauge for a few days – we’re all a little guilty. 

When it comes to saving on gas, staying on top of these things can save you money in the long run. Keeping your tires inflated, oil filled, spark plugs in good condition, and clearing your air filter twice a year can help you save on gas.

Related: Top 5 Tax Tips For Gig Economy Workers In 2023

You could also take into consideration the type of tires you use. Make sure they’re the best fit for your type of car. Heavier tires, for instance, will drag your car down more, which will lower your fuel efficiency. 

gas prices tips to save money on fuel

Uber & DoorDash Gas Saving Tip #4: Use Apps & Tools

There are many apps that you can use to help you save money on your gas. Apps like GasBuddy and Upside are very popular and are easy to set up. 

GasBuddy is designed to help you find the cheapest gas stations in your area. It even offers a gas card that you can use that provides you with rewards, including free gas. 

As long as you’re diligent about paying off your card, GasBuddy can help you save at the pump. Many grocery store rewards programs offer similar benefits. 

Route planning apps and GPS apps like Google Maps can be extremely helpful as well. You may know your area like the back of your hand, but predicting traffic can be very difficult. 

Related: Google Maps Mileage Tracking Explained

By using a GPS app, you’re able to find the quickest – and cheapest – route possible. Google Maps even offers routes based entirely on gas mileage savings!

Uber & DoorDash Gas Saving Tip #5: Keep Track of your Gas Mileage

A great way to make sure you’re budgeting your gas money well is to track your gas mileage and purchases. There are many ways to do this, whether you’re using pen-and-paper or a dedicated app.

If you use your car for work, you should probably be using an automatic mileage tracker app like TripLog. Compared to other company mileage trackers and mileage reimbursement solutions, TripLog actually can natively track your fuel purchases and calculate your miles-per-gallon.

TripLog can even help with route planning, as discussed in the previous tip!

Uber & DoorDash Gas Saving Tip #6: Make Good Decisions At the Pump

Even when you’re filling up gas and spending your precious money, there are things you can do to save. For instance, don’t use mid-grade or premium gas pumps. Just stick with regular (unless your car actually needs higher-grade gas).

You can also avoid topping off your gas tank. Fill it up until the nozzle stops, and then go again until the nozzle stops a second time, then stop. 

Related: DoorDash Top Dasher Requirements: Everything You Need To Know

Over fueling can cause issues such as flooding which can impair certain emissions control functions.

Uber & DoorDash Gas Saving Tip #7: Don’t Drive!

This may seem counterintuitive, but if you’re feeling the impact of these high gas prices, you can consider leaving your car at home and trying other forms of transportation. If possible, see if public transportation is an option for your commute, or consider riding a bike or walking if you’re only going a short distance. 

Conclusion

We hope you find these tips useful during these high gas price times. To learn more about how TripLog can help you save money, schedule a complimentary live web demo or visit our pricing page to learn more.

How Employees Working From Home Deduct Their Mileage

triplog commute to work from home deduct mileage

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, only 1/5 of adults in the United States worked from home. That number has since jumped to nearly 3/4, with over 1/2 of them stating they would prefer to continue working from home after the pandemic ends (Pew Research Center). 

With major companies like Google, Facebook, and Amazon permanently overhauling their work-from-home policies, it’s likely that workplace culture is going to take a dramatic shift, one that will last well beyond this current coronavirus outbreak. But if those employees working from home need to travel to a client from their house, how will mileage reimbursement work for them?

Mileage Reimbursement Rules

When an employee drives from their (non-home) office to conduct business, the rules are clear – this is considered deductible mileage according to the IRS. Personal commuting expenses, on the other hand, cannot be deducted, period.

Related: IRS Mileage Commuting Rule: What Businesses Need To Know

For instance, if you are driving from your house to work in the morning (or vice versa in the evening), you can’t deduct that mileage. Personal commuting expenses also refer to taxis, Ubers, buses, subways, etc.

Pre-COVID, even if employees traveled directly from their personal residence to a work-related appointment (a client meeting, plumbing work, etc.), this would be considered a commute, and thus not be reimbursable.

Mileage Reimbursement Working From Home

With that said, the line gets fuzzy when your house is now the location of your office. Let’s say your team has all started working from home with no intention of returning to the old ways of office work and you are told to meet a client on the other side of town.

Would the drive you took to get there count as a commute, as you’re driving from your house to where you are going to work? Or would it count as business, since you’re going from your place of work to go conduct business?

triplog deduct drive from home office to client work meeting

You Can Deduct a Drive From Your House, If…

All that needs to be made clear – and well-documented – is the fact that the employee’s home office counts as an official office location for the company. When that is established, the drive between the home office and, say, a client can thus be deductible.

Related: Mileage Reimbursement Requirements By State

It would be good to review your state or municipality’s local regulations as well. For example, the State of Washington has very specific requirements on how mileage reimbursement works when employees travel from their home office to conduct business.

At-home Expense Reimbursement

What about expenses other than mileage? Say an employee needs two monitors and was provided such at the office, but their home isn’t as well-equipped for office work. While companies aren’t technically required to reimburse employees for purchases made that will affect their business, there are certain restrictions.

According to the Fair Labor Standards Act, if accrued expenses related to business would cause an employee to earn a net less than minimum wage, the business will need to reimburse them, at least to the point where their net earnings would be at or above minimum wage.

If your at-home employees earn or are close to the minimum wage, it is your company’s responsibility to reimburse them. That includes when they use their personal assets.

If they needed to purchase a more expensive Wi-Fi plan or a more ergonomic chair and those purchases could bring your team member down below minimum wage, your company is obligated to reimburse them.

How TripLog Can Help

TripLog’s suite of tools are a powerful way for companies to track their team’s company mileage and expense reimbursements. With accurate GPS-based tracking methods and six different autostart options, businesses have been able to streamline their approval process and cut down manual reporting time 10x.

Related: What To Do If You Forget To Track Your Mileage

To learn more, schedule a free web demo today, or check out our pricing page to get started. You can also use our mileage reimbursement calculator, and drivers can download TripLog on iOS or Android.

California Mileage Reimbursement Explained (2023)

california mileage reimbursement explained blog header photo

California is one of three states in the US that requires companies to reimburse their employee’s mileage. Companies that don’t do so can incur fines and may be subject to other forms of legal action.

California Mileage Reimbursement: What the Law Says

California labor code 2802 states:

“An employer shall indemnify his or her employee for all necessary expenditures or losses incurred by the employee in direct consequence of the discharge of his or her duties, or of his or her obedience to the directions of the employer, even though unlawful, unless the employee, at the time of obeying the directions, believed them to be unlawful.”

Related: Why Companies Need A Mileage Reimbursement Solution

Put simply, if your employee is forced to make a personal expenditure on behalf of your company, you are required to reimburse them. One of the places where it’s necessary to reimburse is their mileage.

California Mileage Reimbursement: What Does Mileage Refer To?

Mileage refers to the costs of owning and operating an automobile. When an employee drives their car, they need to purchase gas, they’ll burn through their oil, and their vehicle’s value will generally depreciate.

Mileage reimbursement takes those factors into account and gives employees money back for those (and potentially other) expenditures. 

Mileage Reimbursement Methods

There are a number of ways California companies can reimburse their employee’s mileage. Here are a few notable methods:

  • Cents-per-mile reimbursement (often using the IRS mileage rate)
  • Actual costs/expenses reimbursement
  • Monthly mileage allowance
  • FAVR

Which Mileage Reimbursement Method Should California Companies Use?

At TripLog, we would recommend using the standard IRS mileage rate for reimbursement. This is a cents-per-mile method that uses the IRS’ yearly rate recommendation.

Related: Car Allowance vs. Mileage Reimbursement Explained

For most companies, the cents-per-mile method is the right combination of ease of use and accuracy. Some methods might be simpler and others might be a little more accurate, but generally, this is the most popular method.

How Much Should California Companies Reimburse?

There is no set minimum reimbursement that California companies are required to offer. As long as your employers are being reimbursed for all of the expenses they incur while on the job, you will be above the board.

Since mileage can be a little more ambiguous, many companies use the IRS standard mileage rate.

IRS Standard Mileage Rate Explained For California Businesses

Every year, the IRS conducts an independent study into the fixed-and-variable costs of owning and operating a motor vehicle. Things like fuel prices, costs of maintenance, oil changes, insurance, tires, and general depreciation all factor in.

Related: IRS Mileage Rate Explained

Since January 1st, 2023, the IRS standard mileage rate has been .655 cents per mile. So if one of your employees drives for 10 miles, you would reimburse them $6.55.

california skyline with cars driving by

Do California Companies Have to Use the IRS Mileage Rate?

While companies are not technically required to use the IRS mileage rate from a federal level, California companies are in a unique situation. The IRS standard mileage rate should be enough to cover the requirements set forth in California labor code 2802.

If you choose a cents-per-mile rate lower than the IRS mileage rate, you will still have to ensure that your employees are being fully reimbursed for the costs that they incur from using their vehicle on behalf of your company.

It’s also worth noting that if you choose to reimburse for more than the IRS mileage rate, those funds may be taxed as income for your employees.

How California Employees Should Track Their Mileage

There are a number of ways your drivers can track their mileage. The two main ways are either through manual pen-and-paper methods or using an automatic mileage tracker app.

Related: Mileage Guide For Employees

Manual mileage tracking, while seemingly simple and convenient, actually leaves companies open to significant amounts of fraud and inefficiency. Drivers over-report their mileage by around 28%, and, at roughly 2 minutes per manual entry, could be wasting dozens of labor hours every year.

The Benefits of using an Automatic Mileage Tracker App

The best way to ensure that all of your team’s mileage is tracked (and, most importantly, accurate) is to use a dedicated mileage tracking solution. When your team starts driving, the app will automatically start tracking their mileage, and stops when they stop.

Using pin-point accurate GPS technology, you and your team can rest easy knowing your mileage reimbursements are accurate. Plus, they get back all of the time they would have lost out on with manual methods.

Related: Mileage Guide For Employers

With TripLog, your admin team gets access to our comprehensive web dashboard, where they’re allowed to customize their own and their drivers’ experience, see detailed analytics, and set up a comprehensive approval process.

California Mileage Reimbursement: In Conclusion

The law is clear: California businesses need to reimburse their team’s mileage. One way or another, you will need to set up a system that will work for your company’s individual needs.

The easiest way to get started is to schedule a complimentary live demo with a TripLog mileage expert. We’ll walk you through everything your company will need to know in order to stay compliant.

You can also try our mileage reimbursement calculator or check out our feature comparison table. If you’re reading to get started, visit our pricing page!

4 Best Tips For Road Warriors

tips for road warriors traveling employees

Working on the road can be as thrilling and invigorating as it can be stressful and exhausting. The unique challenges that road warriors face mean every minute spent on the road needs to be deliberate and well-planned.

Here are some tips for road warriors to maximize their efficiency, as well as their sanity.

Tips For Road Warriors #1: Invest in Good Equipment

This first tip can be a tricky one to navigate. While the up-front cost of things like secure luggage, good headphones, and high-quality, comfortable clothing can seem daunting, these types of purchases are generally worth it in the long run.

For example, if you’re deciding between a more affordable $400 laptop and a more future-proof $750 laptop, it’s worth considering how long you might keep each respective product. If the $400 laptop is going to be obsolete or running slowly in two years, requiring you to upgrade, and the $750 purchase might last you five years or more, it can be better to invest early and save money in the long run.

The same goes with any sort of equipment road warriors might be using – your cell phone, backpack/bag, and even things like a pair of sunglasses or water bottle, all benefit from being high quality.

If you’re a sole proprietor, you may even be able to write off many of these purchases on your taxes. Don’t cheap out!

Tips For Road Warriors #2: Make the Most of Where You’re Going

No matter where your next job or sale is taking you, there’s a big chance that there will be something you haven’t seen or haven’t tried, especially in regard to major cities. Whether it’s your first time or fiftieth time visiting cities like New York City and Los Angeles, there’s always going to be something new to enjoy.

Even smaller metropolitan areas, like Seattle or Minneapolis, have cultures and experiences worth exploring. If your typical sales routine keeps you closer to home, try and look off the beaten path.

You’re bound to find something in your free time, whether it’s a new museum or a unique bookstore. If your schedule is tight, even going to a highly-rated restaurant that you’ve never been to can elevate any business trip.

If your company offers a per diem or mileage reimbursement option, make sure you are tracking your expenses well.

4 best tips for road warriors and traveling workers

Tips For Road Warriors #3: Use Modern Tools and Apps

The smartphone might go down as the early 21st century’s most important development. The amount of resources and tools that exist today are staggering – and yet, there are many places where people are slow to adopt change.

For instance, mileage tracking has been done on pen-and-paper for decades, with Excel sheets coming more recently. With the advent of modern mileage tracking apps, those old methods are becoming obsolete.

Manual mileage tracking can be tedious, wildly inaccurate, and cost drivers dozens of hours of their time each year. If you use your personal vehicle when conducting business on the road, tracking your mileage and expenses with an app like TripLog is essential to ensuring you never miss a reimbursable mile or deductible expense.

In addition, accountants and payroll specialists can access detailed reports, and quickly process expense reimbursements, saving time and cutting down on operational costs. To learn more about what TripLog can do for you and your company, schedule a complimentary demo today!

Tips For Road Warriors #4: Take Care of Yourself

Traveling for work, whether it’s taking a day to conduct sales meetings or flying out to another town, can be grueling. Early mornings, late nights, and hectic, non-stop days make even the most rewarding work feel like a chore – but it doesn’t have to be that way. 

For instance, if you feel bad after long flights or car rides, doing some mild exercise (like walking or stretching) before your trip can help with blood circulation, which can, in turn, help you feel better after your trip. In addition to your physical health, it’s important to manage your mental health.

If you often tend to drive several hours between cities or hop on planes every week, bring some entertainment. Streaming sites like Netflix and Amazon let you download episodes and movies now, making in-flight entertainment a breeze.

If you do a lot of driving, do some research on interesting podcasts or audiobooks and download a few of those.

In Conclusion

Undeniably, conducting business on the road can be hard, but there are many things that road warriors can do to help lighten the load. For instance, switching from manual mileage and expense logs to a modern solution can help save companies and individuals significant amounts of time and money.

If you use your personal vehicle for business travel, or manage teams of people who do so, TripLog’s company mileage app will prove to be an invaluable tool. To learn more, schedule a free demo, or visit our pricing page to get started.

You can also try our mileage reimbursement calculator or simply download the app on iOS or Android.

Fixed and Variable Rate (FAVR) Reimbursement Programs Explained | How To Implement a FAVR Program

company favr program mileage reimbursement

When it comes to mileage reimbursement, most companies use the standard IRS mileage rate. However, many industry leaders choose instead to implement fixed and variable rate (FAVR) reimbursement programs.

FAVR programs can be one of the most cost-effective and accurate methods to deliver employee reimbursements. Today, we will discuss what FAVR plans are and the best ways to implement one for your company.

FAVR Reimbursement Plans Explained

FAVR is a type of payment allowance. It’s designed to reimburse employees who drive their own cars to conduct business for the company they work for. The reimbursements are a combination of monthly allowance and mileage reimbursement payments.

Related: Top 5 Company Mileage Tracker Misconceptions

The allowance is in place to cover the fixed costs of owning a vehicle. The mileage reimbursement is there to cover the variable costs of operating said vehicle.

What Are These “Fixed and Variable Costs”?

Fixed Costs

“Fixed costs” generally refer to things like the car’s depreciation value, car insurance, taxes, and license and registration charges. The total amount undergoes adjustments according to the amount of time the employee uses the vehicle for business purposes.

Variable Costs

“Variable costs” refer to expenses that can change over time. This can include fuel, maintenance, and oil changes or tire changes. 

mobile employee driving car under company favr program

How Does a FAVR Plan Work?

A FAVR program follows a very precise procedure to reimburse different types of costs. Each individual employee’s reimbursement is associated with their vehicle type and location.

The driver’s zip code determines the reimbursement. This means the driver receives payments based on their mileage and the region they live in.

Regardless of the miles they travel, each employee gets a fixed amount to cover ownership expenses. They also receive a variable amount according to mileage. Each month, the cents-per-mile rate shifts as per the local fuel prices.

FAVR Plan vs. A Standard Mileage Reimbursement Plan

When an employer uses a standard mileage reimbursement program, their mobile employees must track the mileage they incurred when conducting business. They then need to submit that information to their employer.

Related: Mileage Tracking Apps Vs. Paper Mileage Logging

The employer determines the payment by multiplying their employee’s mileage by the cent-per-mile rate the business sets. On the other hand, a FAVR reimbursement program pays not only the mileage rate but also a monthly stipend. Local vehicle expense data helps in determining both amounts.

Many companies prefer this method as it ensures accurate payments when employees live in different regions. The plan comes with location-specific rates and reimburses accordingly.

If you drive your car in NYC, your reimbursement rate will differ from a driver working in North Dakota. That’s because fuel and other related costs are relatively higher in NYC.

Comparing FAVR to Standard Reimbursement Plans

Compared to a standard mileage reimbursement plan, FAVR programs are often more accurate as they take into account actual vehicle expense data available locally. This is why FAVR programs tend to avoid both overpayments and underpayments.

To put things in perspective, employees might be spending more than they receive as reimbursement. On the other hand, their employers might be overpaying them if, for example, fuel prices have decreased.

A standard mileage plan can not only put the employee at a disadvantage. The employer might also suffer in the form of overpayments in some states. Still, some employers prefer a simpler mileage-based system instead of a highly flexible FAVR plan.

It’s worth mentioning this kind of system does not consider the varying costs, such as fuel prices. In addition to this, they may not align with the region’s prices, resulting in either underpayments or overpayments.

In a nutshell, cents-per-mile reimbursement plans are a simpler (if less accurate) mileage reimbursement method. FAVR, however, is a more customized approach that considers the individual costs of each employee and is location-specific.

cars driving in road favr mileage reimbursement program

FAVR Program Requirements – Can Your Company Run a FAVR Program?

When it comes to implementing FAVR, a company must meet its requirements. This is a reimbursement plan meant for companies with their workforce spread across different regions.

Your company must employ, at minimum, five drivers, and they must drive over 5000 miles for business purposes annually.

It’s also worth noting that only US-based companies are eligible for the FAVR plan. Considering that laws in Canada, as well as in Mexico, work differently, FAVR cannot provide for employees working there.

What Types of Industries Use FAVR?

Industries that will find FAVR plans as the most favorable method of reimbursement include sales executives. Their jobs often require them to frequently travel to meet with their clients.

Related: Manual Expense Reports: The Hidden Costs

Other industries can benefit as well. Healthcare professionals who often have to visit their patients’ homes will find FAVR to be very beneficial.

In addition, in the post-COVID era, restaurants worldwide have begun to thrive on delivery services. This makes FAVR a very favorable plan for them!

How Do I Implement a FAVR Program?

Developing a FAVR program can be a months-long process. The IRS provides guidelines, but, as you might expect, they’re not exactly user-friendly. Most companies looking to implement FAVR or other mileage reimbursement methods turn to professionals for support.

Our team of experts can help you choose the right type of mileage plan that will fit your business needs. Our comprehensive web dashboard and sleek mileage tracker app make reimbursements a breeze!

To learn more about how TripLog’s company mileage features can save your business countless hours of labor and thousands of dollars every year, schedule a complimentary demo. You can also visit our pricing page to get started today, or try our mileage reimbursement savings calculator.

DoorDash Top Dasher Requirements: What You Need To Know

doordash driver top dasher program guide

DoorDash offers a program designed to reward and incentivize high-performing veteran delivery drivers. Today, we’re going to discuss the requirements to become a Top Dasher and whether it’s worth it to try and become one.

How Do I Become a Top Dasher?

DoorDash has a few specific requirements for becoming a Top Dasher. The requirements, according to the DoorDash website, are as follows: 

  • Customer rating of at least 4.7
  • An acceptance rate of at least 70%
  • Completion rate of at least 95%
  • 100 completed deliveries during the last month
  • At least 200 lifetime deliveries completed

Related: Top 5 Must-Know Tips For Independent Contractors

How to Achieve These Requirements

Most of the above-listed requirements are fairly straightforward, like achieving 200 lifetime deliveries and 100 completed deliveries in the past month. As for getting a high customer rating, this comes down to getting your goods to your customer as quickly as possible, as well as ensuring to closely follow their instructions and respect their unique needs. 

Your acceptance rate is the rate at which you accept deliveries (or dashes). The app will offer you a delivery, and whether or not you accept to deliver it will determine your delivery rate. Completion rate works similarly; this metric monitors how often your accepted deliveries get delivered. 

On the second day of each month, if these requirements are met, you will qualify to be a Top Dasher.

Top Dasher Benefits

There are three major benefits to becoming a Top Dasher. They are as follows:

“Dash Now” Anytime: As a Top Dasher, you can now dash anywhere, on your own schedule. Regular DoorDash drivers are still required to schedule their hours, or use the “Dash Now” feature during busy times. 

Delivery Priority: If two DoorDash drivers are able to accept the same order, the driver with Top Dasher status will be given priority.

High-value Order Priority: Top Dashers will also get priority over orders with a total value of $30 or more. 

Is Being a Top Dasher Worth It?

At face value, it might seem as though striving to become a Top Dasher is a no-brainer. However, some drivers have found that the benefits don’t outweigh certain issues.

Related: 2023 IRS Mileage Rate Explained

For example, achieving the 70% order acceptance rate can cause drivers to take extremely low-paying orders. If the DoorDash app offers you a $3 order and you reject it, that will count against your order acceptance rate. 

In addition, the perk of being able to drive (or “Dash Now”) at any time may not be the most useful for a lot of drivers, either. Since all drivers can Dash when a given zone is busy, the tangible benefits of delivering when a zone isn’t busy, as possible by being a Top Dasher, may not be high.

Save Money – And Time – In the Gig Economy

The benefits and downsides of being a Top Dasher come down to your style of delivering and the unique challenges your area of delivery forces you to deal with. No matter what, though, gig economy workers like DoorDash drivers only benefit from learning about and taking advantage of as many tools and resources as possible.

One of the most effective ways for drivers to save money and earn more is to use powerful mileage tracker apps like TripLog to track their mileage and business expenses. With six different automatic mileage tracking options, drivers can be confident that they’ll never miss a tax-deductible mile.

Download TripLog on iOS or Android today, or, if you have a team of drivers, schedule a complimentary live web demo to see how TripLog can help your company manage its employee mileage reimbursements. You can also explore our pricing page or try out our mileage reimbursement savings calculator.

Thanks for reading!