Are you in the market for a smartphone-based car logbook app? Proper record-keeping, as required by the Australian Tax Office, can be tedious. No one understands that more than an accountant at tax time. That’s why we’ve scoured the internet to bring you a list of logbook apps endorsed by accountants. But accurate logging shouldn’t be the only criteria you use to identify the best logbook app. To get the most value for your money, you need to consider these must-have features of a decent logbook app: ATO compliance: An invalid logbook will keep you from making a successful vehicle expense claim. You need a logbook app that seamlessly logs your car business use and provides the evidence to support your tax deduction claim. GPS tracking: A logbook app with GPS functionality records live location and provides detailed trip descriptions. You’ll never have to remember where you were on a specific day. Mileage reports: A logbook app must give exact details of each trip including the trip dates and times, odometer readings and the reason for your trip. It must record this information in an easy to access and read format to make your accountant’s work easier. Unfortunately, approximately 70% of logbooks submitted to the ATO have technical errors. These logbook apps can help put you among the 30% who are maximising their tax deductions with a well-kept logbook. GOFAR The GOFAR logbook app turns your tax deduction claim into a one-swipe exercise. It does all the heavy lifting of keeping a valid logbook by automatically tracking your mileage and work-related car expenses. The ATO requires you to keep your logbook for 12 continuous weeks and this is where the GOFAR logbook app comes in extremely handy. It identifies the 12-week window with the most distance travelled so you can maximise your tax deduction. Why Accountants Recommend It GOFAR comes with a set-and-forget leave-in adapter that tracks every trip and car expense so nothing is left to chance. You can even set up location tags to ensure that your trips are automatically classified according to destination. Your reports indicating time and date stamps, odometer readings and other ATO-required data are stored securely in the cloud – even when you forget your phone. You can also export your reports and email them to your accountant at any time. GOFAR is compatible with both the ATO Standard Rate and the IRS Standard Mileage Rate. Cost: Buy from $79 per car (connect 3 cars); $89 (connect 2 cars); $99 (connect 1 car). Download: App Store and Google Play Store LogbookMe LogbookMe works with a GPS device installed in your vehicle to automatically record each business trip. At the end of each journey, a notification pops up on your phone prompting you to fill in the details. You can either select ‘personal’ or ‘business’ then add the trip description. If typing out descriptions is a chore for you, you can integrate your phone’s calendar with the app. LogbookMe will prefill the descriptions from matching calendar events at the tap of a button. Image from Logbook Me LogbookMe stores all your data in the cloud so you can access it online at your convenience. If you use multiple vehicles for your business, LogbookMe can be customised for fleet management. It locates fleet assets, tracks driver behaviour and delivers real-time odometer readings. This allows you to proactively manage your fleet and increase its efficiency. Why Accountants Recommend It LogbookMe records your current business use percentage, your target business use percentage as well as logbook start and end dates. These ATO-compliant logbook records can be exported in both PDF and Excel format and sent to your financial advisor. Thanks to the calendar integration, your accountant won’t have to wonder if your descriptions have been filled correctly. Image from Logbook Me Cost: Annual – $375 per vehicle excluding GST Download: App Store and Google Play Store Driversnote Whether you’re a salaried employee or self-employed, Driversnote keeps your logbook up to date by documenting all your personal and work trips. It automatically calculates your reimbursements from the get-go, based on the corporate rates you set before the trip. It auto starts when you turn on the ignition and stops when you step out of the vehicle. It then sends you a notification to inform you that the trip has been tracked. It checks your driving history and work hours to intelligently classify your trips as business or personal. Image from Driversnote If you report mileage to different employers, you can segment your trips so you can get fair company reimbursements. The downside of Driversnote is that it doesn’t include tolls in your trips. It also decreases battery life since it uses GPS in the background when the app is on. Why Accountants Recommend It Driversnote automatically updates the tax rates annually so that every trip is accurately tracked. It creates customised mileage reports which can be easily downloaded and sent to your employer or accountant for reimbursement or tax deduction. Image from Driversnote Cost: Free (Lite Version) or paid (Basic & Enterprise Versions) Download: App Store and Google Play Store Driverdirect Driverdirect is the brainchild of Toyota Fleet Management and you don’t have to own a Toyota to enjoy its benefits. This logbook app locates the nearest Toyota dealer and fuel station which is helpful if you’re a fuel cardmember. It logs your drives both manually and by GPS then customises and stores your favourite trips. Your trips are automatically classified as either private or business use. Image from DriverDirect Driverdirect allows for multiple vehicle tracking and gives you helpful instructions if your car is managed by Toyota Fleet Management. You’ll save a lot of time with this logbook app since it photo-stocks your receipts and stores your favourite trip descriptions for future use. Why Accountants Recommend It The fuel locator that filters results for a specific brand and the Toyota dealer finder save you money and time. Driverdirect captures your car expenses and generates downloadable reports for your accountant at your convenience. Image from DriverDirect Cost: Free Download: Apple Store and Google Play Store Vehicle Logger Vehicle Logger is compatible with imperial and metric systems to log your trips. All your drives are tracked by GPS but you may do it manually if you don’t want to lower your battery life. Image from Vehicle Logger Unfortunately, you can’t use this app if there’s another GPS app running as you drive. And there’s no iOS (iPhone) version as yet, so Android users only for now!. Why Accountants Recommend It Vehicle Logger not only captures fuel expenses, but it also logs your registration, parking and maintenance costs. It’s cloud-based so you can export your reports to Google Drive or Dropbox and share them with your tax accountant. Image from Vehicle Logger Cost: Free (with in-app purchases) Download: Google Play How to Choose the Right Logbook App For You A logbook app that helps you get all your ducks in a row before you contact your accountant is going to save you headaches at tax time. If you want a fail-safe, fool-proof option that won’t cost you an arm and a leg, GOFAR is your best bet. GOFAR is a set-and-forget, leave-in device that syncs with a free logbook app on your smartphone for accurate, year-round records that you flick to your accountant with the tap of a finger. You don’t even have to remember your phone or worry about it running out of battery because the adapter does all the work and syncs with your phone the next time it’s in the car.