When you’re driving for a rideshare app, every mile counts. Your mileage directly impacts your earnings, your expenses, and even when you’re due for a car maintenance appointment. During tax season, every mile is also a potential deduction — which makes tracking them with an app like MileIQ even more important.
Committing to mileage logging is one of the best ways to save hundreds or even thousands of dollars per year as an independent contractor. But in the digital age, it can be inconvenient to manually calculate your business mileage every time you end a trip. When your entire line of work revolves around a smartphone, it simply makes sense to bring mileage tracking to your mobile device, too.
In this complete guide to MileIQ, we’ll cover this digital mileage tracker, how it works, and how you can get started on the platform before your next trip.
- What Is MileIQ?
- How To Use the MileIQ App
- 3 Benefits of Using MileIQ
- Getting Started on the MileIQ App
- Frequently Asked Questions
What Is MileIQ?
MileIQ is a mileage tracking app that helps you automatically record your business drives. Owned by Microsoft since 2015, MileIQ is one of the most popular and robust apps of its kind. It’s known for its accuracy, so you can trust that you’ll get a clear picture of your rideshare driving — even as it automatically works in the background to track your drives.
Through this platform, you can keep a complete record of the miles you drive as part of your rideshare career, which you can then use to claim deductions and budget for expenses.
How to Use the MileIQ App
The MileIQ app is filled with rich features that make it a top choice for many who drive to earn.
To start, you’ll need to know how to keep your mileage record as accurate as possible. MileIQ makes this easy.
MileIQ’s unique technology ensures that every drive you take is recorded as long as you have your smartphone with you — no need to hit record or even touch the app.
Once you’ve recorded one, a few, or even a few day’s worth of drives (as long as you can still remember which trip was which), you can open your app and swipe right for business drives or swipe left for personal trips from your home screen. Your app will remind you which side is which.
When you do a long swipe instead — swiping a record halfway and pausing — this will allow you to input a secondary purpose before you save the record. MileIQ already has a list of secondary purposes you can select from (like “Errand/Supplies” for business drives or “Medical” for personal drives), but you can also add custom purposes like “Ridesharing” and “Food Delivery” if you have multiple driving gigs.
You can even tap on trip records (known as “Drive Cards”) to name your locations for better accuracy. This is helpful if you frequent certain locations, like the airport or an event venue.
Pulling Your Records
When you want to review your business mileage to file self-employment taxes or figure out when you need to change oil, simply tap the graph icon on the top right corner of your mobile app and select the month or year you’d like a report for.
Once you submit your records request, you’ll receive download links for PDF and CSV files at the email linked to your account.
You can also pull records from your web dashboard — accessible from dashboard.mileIQ.com — which allows you to select specific date ranges, vehicles (if you drive multiple), and types of drives that you want a report for. The web dashboard also enables you to send your mileage records to other people, such as your CPA.
3 Benefits of Using MileIQ
Using MileIQ is a smart choice for any self-employed rideshare driver (or delivery driver, for that matter). Here are three ways the mileage tracking app can benefit you.
1. No Missed Deductions
MileIQ’s smart drive-detection technology ensures that you’ll never miss an entry in your mileage log. With every drive automatically recorded, you won’t have to worry about manual entries later. All you need to do on your part is categorize your drives, and MileIQ will do the rest.
Thanks to the automatic mileage detection, you’ll be able to deduct every possible cent from your taxable income, based on the Internal Revenue Service’s current standard mileage rate (57.5 cents per mile for 2021).
2. Better Record-Keeping
By offering detailed, accurate mileage reports, MileIQ ensures that you fulfill the IRS’s record-keeping requirements with minimal work on your part. Even if you’re selected for an IRS audit, you’ll have peace of mind knowing that you have digital documentation to back up your mileage deductions.
Plus, since you’re able to quickly and easily categorize your miles driven, you’ll never accidentally include personal mileage with your business mileage.
3. Minimal Battery Usage
One of the features that differentiates MileIQ from other mileage trackers is that it doesn’t purely use your iPhone or Android’s GPS to track where you’re at or when you’re in transit — it uses its own technology, too. This means the app will use close to zero power until you’re on a drive, while others need to constantly run in the background to figure out when you’re stationary or not.
Once you’re on the road, the platform still won’t drain your phone battery quickly. This means you won’t have to constantly charge your smartphone during your trips, which may in turn help you extend your car battery’s life.
Getting Started on the MileIQ App
If MileIQ sounds like a great fit for your mileage tracking needs, you can download the app and select your subscription plan. Here’s what you need to know before signing up.
How to Download the App
Downloading the MileIQ app is a simple process, but you need to make sure your smartphone is compatible with the platform first. To use MileIQ, you need a mobile device that runs on iOS 10.0 or Android 5.0 or later. (Hint: If you’re already using the Uber Driver or Lyft Driver app, MileIQ is certain to work on your phone.)
As long as your smartphone has a compatible operating system, you can simply download the platform by tapping “Install” on the Google Play listing (for Android users) or tapping “Get” on the App Store listing (for iPhone users)
MileIQ can also be used on other devices, including your tablet and laptop, if you want to pull up reports on a larger screen, but you’ll still need the smartphone app to actually track your miles.
When you open the MileIQ platform, it will prompt you to begin a signup process.
This process should be straightforward, but the most complex part of signing up may be selecting the right plan for your needs. Here’s a quick breakdown of your options:
- Basic: Every MileIQ user can track mileage for up to 40 trips each month. This can work for rideshare drivers who only drive for extra cash in their free time.
- Unlimited: For $5.99 per month or for $59.99 per year (about $4.99 per month), you can select a premium subscription that can track every single trip you take. The annual plan is ideal for rideshare drivers who drive full-time or frequently. The monthly plan is still the better deal for anyone who doesn’t plan to stay in their driving gig for more than 10 months.
- Teams: Microsoft can help you set up a Team plan on MileIQ. This isn’t necessary for rideshare drivers, but it can be helpful for companies that own Uber Fleets.
Choosing the ideal plan for your level of activity on your rideshare platform will help you maximize the app and your budget.
Frequently Asked Questions
With one MileIQ subscription, you can save a lot of money during your ridesharing career. Here are some FAQs to help you better understand your opportunities with the app:
1. Can I get a discount on MileIQ’s Unlimited plan if I’m a current Microsoft 365 subscriber?
While a standard Microsoft 365 subscription won’t get you any discounts on the app, you can actually use MileIQ’s unlimited plan for free if you have an Office 365 Business Premium or Business Standard plan. You’ll still need to create a new MileIQ account before you can use the platform.
2. Are MileIQ subscriptions tax deductible?
Yes. Since MileIQ is a business tool that’s directly related to your line of work (ridesharing), you should be able to claim your monthly or annual payments as deductions. However, we still recommend that you confirm this with a tax professional before you deduct the expense from your taxable income.
3. Does MileIQ allow me to maintain expense reports?
MileIQ is purely used to track your mileage. If you want to track and maximize deductions for non-gas purchases (like oil change services, car accessories, and more), you’ll need to use a different app that supports these expense reports, like Stride Tax.
Maximize Your Earnings
Your days of manual logging are over as soon as you create your account on the MileIQ app. This platform is a great option for any rideshare driver who wants to maximize their tax deductions and get the most out of their earnings.
Beyond keeping an accurate log of your business miles, you’ll also want to understand all of your self-employment tax obligations when you’re driving to earn. Learn more about Uber tax filings to know the steps you need to take and common mistakes you need to avoid.