In the increasingly digital world in which we live, software is king. Tracking your business expenses with a multitude of different apps has never been easier, and the same is true for the various mileage tracker apps available on the market. Today we’re going to delve into three of the best apps available; all of which are ready to be downloaded along with their add-ons via Google Play and App Store. We’ll be putting three particular providers in the spotlight today – MileageWise, ExpressMileage and MileIQ.
What Features are The Most Essential?
Before we cover each of the spotlighted providers individually, let’s address the most essential features needed by those looking to maximize tax deductions on their business mileage.
It’s difficult to overstate the importance of having a variety of auto-tracking modes. The vast majority of modern mileage logging software offers something; usually vehicle movement monitoring. This type of tracking is initiated by the push of a button while you are in your car, at which point the app will automatically stop recording once you get out of your car and start walking.
Unfortunately, with a simple mileage tracker, the process can sometimes prove frustrating, as depending on the reliability of each app, sometimes certain apps do not recognize that you have reached your destination and are now walking on foot. One of the providers we’re showcasing today – MileageWise – offers three modes of auto-tracking: Bluetooth, vehicle movement monitoring and finally a Plug‘N’Go system whereby you simply need to plug in your phone to a USB port while you drive.
Manual Tracking and Editing
Certainly among the most crucial features is the simple but extremely useful ability to record one’s trips manually. Strangely, among those we will be showcasing today is MileIQ, which doesn’t offer it. Perhaps they feel that it is redundant when put up against reliable auto-tracking methods, but the reality is that you may need to add or edit trips in your mileage log – whether those trips are personal or work related. Doing so can absolutely be a way to ensure your logs are in order should the IRS ever wish to audit you – more on that later.
Sampling / Recurring Daily Trips
If you often make the same trips on a daily basis, as most business owners and independent contractors do, for example, because of your commute – this feature can be very helpful indeed. Both MileageWise and ExpressMileage offer this feature, while MileIQ does not.
To get into a bit more detail, ExpressMileage does offer the feature, but because they do not have an app that actually goes with their PC-based web dashboard, you cannot get the best of both worlds with auto-tracking and recurring daily trips like you can with MileageWise. What’s more – the relative newcomer to the market is a smart piece of software which won’t allow you to double up on your trips, for example if you turn on auto-tracking but you still have a recurring trip set up.
Pricing Structures and Plans
When it comes to software and apps, most people know the score: free options are nice, but if you really want to get the most out of the wealth of accounting software out there, you’re going to need to pay for a plan of some kind eventually. That means using your credit card or accessing your bank account in some way, and the way the market is currently, most providers prefer if their customers sign up for a full year, which is usually shown as a monthly amount.
Without further delay, let’s look at each of the mileage tracker apps we’re showcasing today, focusing on their plans and free offers.
Mile IQ Pricing and Plans
By far the most well-known provider in the industry, MileIQ’s software once came as part of Microsoft’s 365 business package, though they now operate independently once more. They only really offer one plan for individual users – and that is for $5.99 per month paid yearly. Outside of that, one can simply sign up for free, using a trial that allows no more than 40 drives total.
In terms of unique features, MileIQ doesn’t offer anything non-standard. They do have a team’s version in both a ‘lite’ and ‘pro’ format, which costs $5 per month and $10 respectively.
ExpressMileage Pricing and Plans
Another good provider on the market, ExpressMileage does not offer a free version, nor do they have an app. Regardless of this, the software does provide recurring trips and manual recording, something which, as we mentioned, is essential for small business owners or self-employed persons. Additionally, ExpressMileage apparently offers the ability for users to create retrospective mileage logs, something which could prove useful if the IRS wants to conduct an audit on you.
In terms of pricing, you can obtain a full version of their app starting as a “standard” plan for $9.99 per month, though they are clear about the fact that that pricing plan does not contain any support. Moving upward, they offer a “pro” version for $12.99, and finally an “elite” one for $15.99. If you want to use multiple vehicles or log more than 20,000 miles you will need at least their Pro plan, though when you consider the fact that other providers offer unlimited mileage logging with a cheaper plan, things seem a little dire.
MileageWise Pricing and Plans
The last provider we’re showcasing today easily has the most features of any software available, and in our opinion, this makes them demonstrably the best mileage tracker app. Since their features are extensive, let’s break them down a little more concisely:
- An In-built IRS auditor: This AI-based technology checks and alters (if necessary) 70 logical conflicts, making sure that your logs are good to go when you need them.
- Retrospective Mileage Logging: Similar to ExpressMileage, MileageWise offers the ability to reconstruct your logs and will make suggestions for missing mileage based on your clients and habits.
- Mass Distance Calculation: The app calculates door-to-door distances based on different destinations, which also means that you do not have to worry about constantly being monitored through GPS.
- Mileage Log Preparation Service: Preparing a mileage log for the IRS can be a daunting prospect – why not leave it to those who have an expert opinion? MileageWise offers to do it for you, for a price of course. This may be worth it if you run a personal business and your time is scarce.
Moving now to look at their pricing, we would simply say that there are many, many options. The most basic of these is the “S monthly”, which at $5.99 offers everything but the retrospective mileage recovery aspect that the company gives you with anything from their “gold” plan upwards. The gold plan requires you to pay monthly an amount of $9.99.
Finally, MileageWise offers a 14-day trial with every feature available from their full version. This is a slightly different approach than most other providers when it comes to free software, though because you don’t have to use a watered-down version of the software, giving it a try is hassle-free.
Potential Pitfalls and Disadvantages
While there are certainly some pitfalls to navigate, most disadvantages related to mileage tracker apps come from a lack of features. While certainly the most popular app out there, MileIQ illustrates this problem to some extent with a lack of manual recording. Other potential issues include:
- Apps that drain your battery quickly
- Apps that do not reliably track your mileage automatically
- The software does not contain either an app for your phone or a web dashboard where you can manage your mileage logs.
At the end of the day, this market is about features; not popularity. Learning the best way how to keep track of mileage for taxes isn’t a simple process, but it does require an app. Do the research yourself or enjoy the free versions many providers have on offer before you finally make a decision on which app is best for you – you are guaranteed to find out a lot about maximizing your tax deductions in the process.