When talking to our accountant he asked if I print off our logs each month and I told him no, I save them to a file and back them up on a thumb drive. He replied, “as long as you can print them if needed” all will be easy. Next I asked about drivers that are using calendars or nothing at all. His reply, “they could be in a world of hurt if audited and they can't reproduce the specified logs”.
When talking with another driver who uses a calendar to track days on the road I told him what my accountant had to say on this subject. First, his response was my accountant says the calendar will work. My reply was the IRS are like accountants, while one might say you must have the logs the other says no need. What happens if you get the IRS agent that says to produce the logs?
Their next reply was, I will get a bunch of log books and reproduce the logs needed. That might have worked in the past but I do not think that will work now. He asked why I thought that? I reminded him that the IRS is going to want to see the print out from the electronic logs, not a paper log. This comment was followed by silence and then more silence. The next words were, “I had better figure out how to save my electronic logs”.
Is the accountant right or wrong? I do not know but I do know that if audited this is the easy way to prove per diem. If you have the time or relish a good fight in court then go for the calendar or nothing at all or hope for the IRS agent that does not want to see actual logs. It is your choice or your accountants choice on which way to go.
Start the year off right by saving your logs or printing them out. Whatever ELD you are using, they are only required to keep your logs for six months and after that, they are gone. If you do not download your logs to your device then they are gone and if leased to a company they still cannot be reproduced. It is up to us to produce those logs for the IRS and if we cannot produce them we will lose our per diem for those days.
Talk to the company you are leased to on how to download logs or find out from the ELD company you are using how to save the logs. If still in doubt give ATBS a call at 888 640 4829. Whichever way, it is up to you to be proactive.