Keep Track of Each Visit
You really really really need to keep track of your patient visits. This is important both for declaring earned income (how much money did you make) as well as being able to deduct miles driven to and from visits. I keep track of everything!
I personally use the app Milebug to keep track of my miles. I add clients addresses into the app using their INITIALS only, which helps me stay HIPAA compliant.
So... What Miles Can I Count?
In order to calculate miles to and from your patients house/treatment location, I recommend using either Milebug OR Google Maps. Either will allow you to calculate the mileage quickly and accurately.
So, what counts? I think of it this way:
For me, this usually works out to be one of two scenarios:
My home address, the patients location and then my home address again OR my work address, the patients address and then my home address.
You’re not allowed to tack on extra things (like the grocery store) but if it’s business related, you can add it! (such as trips to Staples for business supplies)
***For example, in 2014, I drove 1,417.51 miles x .50 for a total deduction of $793.80 Impressed? I am. I just got myself an $793.80.75 deduction just by keeping track of how many miles I spent running around treating private patients.
The way to stop being nervous about taxes is EDUCATE YOURSELF and get an accountant. Chapter 7 of The Independent Clinician Guide to Private Patients all about taxes and tax deductions. This chapter assumes you know NOTHING about taxes and shows you step-by-step how get organized and feel more confident about taxes.
I also HIGHLY recommend getting an accountant.
As you well know, I’m an SLP and not an accountant. I have never had a greater piece of mind than the day I hired my accountant and now I feel completely confident that I know what I’m doing. She appreciates my organization and I go into our meetings assured that I have the necessary information to let her prepare my taxes properly.
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Jena H. Casbon, MS CCC-SLP is a private practice consultant who helps SLPs, OTs and PTs start their own private practices. She is the author of two books: The Guide to Private Patients and The Guide to Creating a Web Presence For Your Private Practice and an online course, Grow Your Private Practice.