question about mileage and write-offs


TPF Noob!
May 6, 2007
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In the South
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I was just curious what the proper way to write off mileage and meals for tax purposes. I realize the advice I get here is just that, advice.

Since we drive to a portrait session on occasion, whats the best way to record the mileage? Just the starting odometer number and ending? Or do you need to record each stage of the trip? Like from house to client, from client to resteraunt, from resteraunt to client 2, then home again?

And a 2nd question.

Last saturday we had time to kill between portraits, so we went to a chinease buffet. Am I able to write this off? It was just myself and assistant. We talked about work somewhat but just general stuff.
Well, you have to use your judgment to decide how much you want to write off. Spending gas while "killing time" with the client might not be worthy of a write off in my opinion, but that's up to the tax auditors to decide, I suppose!

I'm doing it how you are. I'm recording the mileage before and after a trip and writing it in a journal. As for meals, I can't tell you much, because I haven't been trying to write those off that at all. Maybe I should start.
My tax preparer tells me that whatever mileage I write is what I get a deduction for. It's my responsibility to be able to prove the mileage if the IRS ever gets a bug in their butt to do an audit. I just keep a journal of start/stop/total miles with the date and a brief description of what/where the shoot was located.
I am going to talk to an accountant eventually, I was just wondering what I should do in the mean time.

thanks for the replies. :)

As for killing time, the resteraunt was near the first shoot and on the way to the 2nd, just had to backtrack a couple minutes when we realized we could fill in the time by going there. :)

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