Hello - I am a part time Lyft driver and have been since 2015. I am trying to enter my mileage as a business expense, however, after going through the various screens/questions related to mileage, I am told that I am not eligible.
On the General Info page, under Expenses, I select edit for my vehicle. I enter in my car information, ownership info, personal use info, checked the box that I tracked my work miles, entered in my total miles for 2020 and my Lyft miles for 2020 (this screen shows the mileage that Lyft calculated), checked that I don't have a fleet of vehicles, and then entered 0 for other expenses. The next screen says:
If you are leasing your Nissan Sentra and entered 0 for your actual expenses, then that could be a reason why you are not getting a deduction. When leasing a vehicle used for business, you can only use the actual cost method (not the standard mileage rate). You would then deduct a portion of your driving deductions and cost of lease payment.
For the actual cost method, you enter total expenses for categories, such as: gas, oil, tires, repairs, maintenance, insurance, lease expenses, and fees.
I completed a mock-up return to see where your error could be and based on your description, this was the only way I did not get a deduction using mileage.
If this is not the case and you are still having issues, please comment back and we can assist you further.
Hi Lena -
Thank you for your help with this. I own the vehicle and selected that option when prompted.
For what it's worth, the Lyft platform fees were counted as Commissions in 2019, and were counted as "other miscellaneous expenses" this year when I imported my Lyft info. Not sure if that would matter. Just trying to think of any reason why I'm getting the error for entering mileage.
Since you own the vehicle, you should be allowed to take the standard mileage deduction in 2020. Lyft platform fees are a different type of expense and should not have any effect on this.
Please follow my input and see if yours differs in any way:
- Make and model: Nissan Sentra
- Type of vehicle: Auto under 6,000
- Start date: I used 1/1/15 as an estimate (based on your question description)
- There is no check in the box for the statement: I stopped using this vehicle in 2020
- Selected I own this vehicle
- Selected yes, it was available for personal use and yes, I had another vehicle available for personal use. You did not specify, but this is what I am assuming.
- Please note that you can answer yes to this question if this car belongs to a spouse, parent, sibling, roommate, or another person and would be willing to lend you their vehicle if you needed to run a personal errand.
- Selected yes I tracked my work miles.
- I entered the total miles driven in 2020 as 25,000 total miles and 10,000 business miles in 2020. This was an estimate.
- Double check that your total miles in the first box are greater than your business miles in the second box.
- Answered no, four or more vehicles were not used for work at the same time.
- Answered yes, I've taken the standard deduction for this vehicle.
- Answered yes, I'll take the standard mileage deduction.
- Did not enter any expenses.
After this point, I got a vehicle deduction on the next screen of my mock-up return.
Please comment back if you could not find any difference in input.
Hi Lena -
After the fleet vehicle question, the next screen is for additional expenses. I'm not seeing the standard deduction questions you mentioned below. This must be why I am not getting the mileage deduction. Any reason why this question is getting skipped?
Hi Lena and anyone else following along -
Any idea why I'm not prompted to select the standard mileage deduction when trying to deduct mileage from Lyft driving?
It could happen because you used the actual expenses method in prior years. If you want to use the standard mileage rate to calculate vehicle expenses, you must choose it in the first year you use the car for business. Once you use actual expenses for the vehicle (even if it's the first year you used it for business), you can't switch to standard mileage rate.
You can find more information about vehicle expenses here:
Thanks. I've used the standard mileage rate in previous years. Oddly, I went back through the mileage component and I was prompted to use the standard mileage rate. So, problem fixed. Thanks!