What Are the Best Car Logbook Apps in Australia?

Photo: Rocha

Using your car for business travel and looking for a review of the best car logbook apps for Aussie drivers?

If yes, tracking your mileage and deducting your Australian Tax Office (ATO) car expenses is bound to be on your priority list.

Also, you’re most probably not looking forward to the grunt work of keeping your car log book updated for tax time. Using the pen and paper method can be inaccurate and incredibly tedious. Which is precisely why some people don’t even bother doing it. And it leaves you missing out on eligible tax deductions.

Our Aussie experts have written a super-useful guide to make your research and decision easier. We compare so you can save time and money.

What is the Best ATO Logbook App?

The best five car logbook apps, designed for Aussies, and compliant with ATO requirements are:

  1. GOFAR ATO-compliant Logbook App
  2. Vehicle Logger
  3. Driversnote App
  4. ATO Logbook
  5. Driver Direct Logbook

Features – At A Glance

Top five vehicle log book apps, hand-selected by our expert team, so you can compare logbook features at a glance.

FeatureGOFARVehicle LoggerDriversnoteATO LogbookDriverDirect
ATO Compliant YesYesYes: Paid onlyYes: GPS tracking or manuallyYes: GPS tracking or manually
Logbook Mileage TrackerYesYesYes: Paid onlyYesYes
Monitor Car HealthYes: Car Fault AlertsNoNoNoNo
Fuel SavingYes: 10-30%NoNoNoNo
Reduce CO2 EmissionsYes: Driver Behaviour FeedbackNoNoNoNo
PricePaid: GOFAR
FREE: iTunes
FREE: Android
FREE: AndroidFREE: iTunes
FREE: Android
FREE: iTunes
FREE: Android
FREE: iTunes
FREE: Android
Ongoing CostsNoYesYesNo No
Lifetime UpdatesYesNoNoYes Yes
CompatibilityApple iOS
Google Android
Android onlyApple iOS
Android
Apple iOS
Android
Apple iOS
Android
Now we’ll get into the detailed specs and features for each of the vehicle log book apps. Our goal is to help you choose an app that ultimately helps you track your ATO work-related expenses.

ATO Compliant Logbook App by GOFAR

App #1: GOFAR

GOFAR is an advanced, affordable logbook app and mileage tracker that automates your work-related car expenses, giving you a complete record of mileage at tax time.

Plus, it’s fully tax-deductible!

Let’s break it down to the main features that Australian drivers need:

ATO cents per km or logbook method? It’s your choice.

When using the ATO cents per km method you can record your work mileage with just one swipe.

This is a major advantage for people, like me, who are short on time and patience with this type of business administration.

The GOFAR car logbook app will do the rest for you in terms of collating the data into a report compliant with your July tax return.

GOFAR collates the driving data (locations and kilometres driven) into an easy-export CSV file.

Simply email the file to your accountant before tax time in July each year: all ATO compliant data is included. The file can be emailed directly out of the app to your accountant or your own email address. Your choice.

In the below screenshot you can see the settings in the GOFAR app. We’ve chosen to automatically tag business trips and to use the ATO Standard Rate as a preset.

Screenshot with ATO Standard Rate selection

Automated trip data collection

A feature that sets GOFAR apart from other mileage tracking apps is that it automatically starts and stops tracking your trips, as you drive.

A small, matte black OBD2-compatible adapter is inserted into the port underneath your car dashboard (usually on the right hand side, under the steering column). (Check if your car is compatible here.)

The adapter is about the size of a match-box and glides in easily. Take note that there is a ‘top’ and ‘bottom’ so you get a good fit with the diagnostics port.

The OBD2 adapter is a leave-in device.

This means that it can record and save data for up to a week of trips without being connected to your smartphone app.

This is in contrast to other logbook apps which are contained within your smartphone. Forget your phone and your trip will not be recorded.

Being a leave-in device means you don’t have to manually update your app with trip data. GOFAR is essentially a set-and-forget logbook app. Super convenient!

And GOFAR automatically updates your business claim dollars so you can see exactly how much money you’re claiming each week.

This is my favourite featured because I’m currently recording data for my ATO 12 week timeframe. It takes a few seconds each week to record my trip data correctly. And I won’t have to worry for another 5 years. Woohoo!

Records all work-related expenses, not just kilometres

GOFAR also records your fuel expenses.

Every time you fill up at the bowser you can input your fuel costs. This, in turn, enables GOFAR to give you a fuel efficiency report. (In recent tests, GOFAR recorded fuel savings of between 9.8% and 30% per driver).

You can toggle between monthly and yearly data in the fuel efficiency report.

GOFAR comes with the “bad traffic” tag pre-loaded. It’s interesting to see how my business trips are usually bad traffic! Aaaargh.

If you’re tagging business vs personal trips it will give you a comparison for those as well.

If you only want to record mileage for tax expense claims then you don’t necessarily need the Ray. But, if you’d like to save on fuel then simply get the Ray too.

Ultimately, this means that with a GOFAR you’ll be around 10 cents in the pocket better off for every litre you buy at the petrol bowser.

Why buy a GOFAR?

GOFAR won a prestigious Good Design Award. People like it! And as opposed to other mobile apps, it can calculate ATO business percentage for you, let learn how many litres of fuel you used, and accurately predict the cost of each trip.

Plus you can keep track of your CO2 emissions to contribute towards a healthier planet.

Unlike the bulk of other car log book apps, GOFAR is not subscription-based. Your one-off purchase includes free lifelong updates and no recurring fees. Plus a lifetime of savings on your ongoing car costs.

GOFAR also works in any petrol, diesel or hybrid vehicle since 2007 (and many older). Check your car’s compatibility here.

Price: Free App (included)
Cost: Adapter & Ray (buy it here)
Created by: GOFAR
Available at: iTunes Store / Google Play


Does a Basic Log Book Generator Meet Your Needs?

App #2: Vehicle Logger

GOFAR logbook app animated screenshotsWith Vehicle Logger you no longer have to concern yourself with minute details when logging your business miles and other ATO car expenses you want to write off.

It’s a mileage tracker that’s going to make much of that hard work automated for you.

The app supports:

  • both kilometre and mile metric systems, and
  • uses automatic GPS tracking to record your trips, but
  • also allows for a manual entry.

Creating expense reports has never been this easy. And we mean not only logging your fuel expenses but also your parking, maintenance and registration costs.

This car log book app relies on cloud-based technology, meaning you can export the reports directly to Google Drive, Dropbox, Box, OneDrive and more. In either PDF or CSV format.

This app is free with in-app purchases. Not bad if you just want a car logbook app and don’t care about tracking fuel usage, emissions and other diagnostics.

Price: Free (with in-app purchases)
Created by: Michaelsoft
Available at: Google Play


Is a Subscription-Based Logbook App Better for You?

App #3: Driversnote

drives note app

Driversnote is a free or subscription-based app that can track your ATO work-related expenses.

With the free version, you have to push start and stop buttons on your phone that will make sure trips are automatically registered via your phone’s GPS tracking (up to 20 trips per month).

The paid subscription includes a device for automatic tracking on unlimited trips (only compatible with Apple iPhone for now – they are working on Android compatibility as at July 2018).

It generates comprehensive mileage documentation, can track private or work-related trips and calculates reimbursement, distances and odometer readings.

You can add or edit trips in the logbook at any time if you forgot to use the mileage tracker and there is the possibility to track miles and keep a mileage log for multiple cars and workplaces.

There’s an option to attach a comment on the trip recorded and to add odometer readings if you need them.

In a nutshell, this app allows you to:

  • document and categorise your personal and business trips based on ATO requirements using your phone’s GPS,
  • record and segment your trips so that you keep your mileage log for multiple vehicles or different employers,
  • download your mileage report as a PDF or Excel file containing all the necessary details for tax deductions and reimbursement claims,
  • automatically calculate reimbursements based on the current mileage rates from ATO.

The app itself is compatible with iOS and Android and has an automatic backup feature for your peace of mind in case you lose your phone.

Pricing ranges from 9 Euros per month for the Basic plan to 20 Euros per month for an Enterprise subscription (AUD pricing not available on website).

Price: Free (Lite Version) / Paid (Basic & Enterprise Versions)
Created by: Driversnote
Available at: iTunes Store / Google Play


Is this Basic ATO Logbook App Good Enough for You?

App #4: ATO Vehicle Logbook

ato app

The ATO’s free app lets you record and manage expenses and trips, relating to your work as an employee, your business as a sole trader or other general expenses.

You can switch between GPS and manual mode in logging your journeys and recording your work kilometres.

It’s a pretty basic free app but has more than 500,000 installs as of June 2018 and now allows you to upload your myDeductions records to the ATO for prefill into your tax return.

The ATO app includes access to other non-driving related tools and resources such as the Business Performance Check Tool, which gives you an insight as to where you stand compared to other businesses in your domain, using the latest small business benchmarks.

You can also use it to set important notifications and alerts when it comes to your tax obligations.

This app also allows you to enrol your voiceprint with the ATO so you can access their services via the app using voice identification to verify your identity.

Price: Free
Created by: Australian Taxation Office
Available at: iTunes Store / Google Play


Is a Fleet Management Driver App Suitable for You?

App #5: Driver Direct

driver direct app

Developed by Toyota for its fleet customers, this app includes many of the same features as the other apps reviewed in this blog, including:

  • capturing trip data via GPS,
  • downloadable logbook data,
  • multiple vehicle tracking,
  • business/private use split, and
  • expense recording and reporting.

This car logbook app also boasts time-saving functionalities such as storing descriptions for future presets and photo-stocking your receipts.

Also included are a (Toyota) dealer locator for servicing and a fuel finder that lets you filter results for a particular brand – ideal for fuel card holders.

The Android app version was not available as at May 2019.

Price: Free
Created by: Toyota Fleet Management
Available at: iTunes Store


How Do I Choose the Best Log Book App for Me?

Ultimately it comes down to your personal circumstances, business kilometres travelled and budget. Consider these points to reach your final decision:

  • Do you want everything to be as automated as possible. Your time is most important? Choose GOFAR.
  • Do you want a 100% free smartphone app that is suitable for Australians? Choose ATO Logbook.
  • Do you want an app that automates reporting to your accountant? Choose GOFAR.
  • Do you own a fleet of cars and want to track your driver’s movements? Choose Driver Direct.

GOFAR’s app is the best ATO compliant logbook app in terms of value and functionality because it:

  • has a one-off cost with no recurring fees and free updates
  • is compatible with both iOS and Android
  • installs easily via your car’s diagnostic OBD2 port
  • can store a week of detailed driving logs on the Adapter if you forget your phone
  • helps you save on fuel costs (buy the Ray too)

Either way, the bottom line is that once you try any of these smart car log book apps, you’ll be wondering how you survived without one.

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