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How long to keep Log Books?

Discussion in 'General Expediter Forum' started by Olko, Nov 27, 2004.

  1. Olko

    Olko Rookie Expediter

    It's been a little over three years since my wife and I had to come in off the road, and in doing some cleaning before moving we started wondering if there was any legal reason to keep our old log books. The only thing I can think of would be if we got audited after all this time, which would be just our luck :7

    I still see a few names from the past are still here, and I want to say Hi to them, and I hope everything is going well for you.

    Thanks
    Olko and WendyCal
     
  2. Glen Rice

    Glen Rice New Recruit

    My account said 7 years. Sounds nutty but better be safe than sorry. I've been audited in the past, and they went back 3 years then. Good luck with the storage problem.
     
  3. LDB

    LDB Expert Expediter

    Vehicle:
    Recliner
    Unless I'm mistaken logbooks only have to be kept 6 months. For financials those should be kept 7 years but I believe only 6 months for the DOT logbook.

    Leo
    truck 767

    Support the entire Constitution, not just the parts you like.
     
  4. raceman

    raceman New Recruit

    You can go to the DOT site and ask them and you will have the exact answer sometime Monday in your email. Usally a legal record of this sort is seven years. I really do not remember because there are so many dag on dates and things to keep up with. LDB may again be right on the nose with 6months for the driver. Check with your company and see how long they have to hang on to them. One place where this can become an issue is in some type of court appearence or investigation. The legal records (logbooks) may be needed. It is more likely that a company would have to produce records years later than you personally but to be sure, I say go to the source. With everything we have to keep when in business and extra truck in the backyard for storage will soon be needed. :)

    RaceMan

    ---Why Hug a tree when you can sit on a Diesle---
     
  5. davekc

    davekc Senior Moderator Staff Member

    I would follow IRS guidelines. Most would be taking per diem ect. As Glen mentioned, they can go back three but keep them for seven.
    Davekc
     
  6. X1_SRH

    X1_SRH New Recruit

    I agree with all the seven year people. IRS would only go back 3 years, but since it's a legal document I'd save 'em for seven. Log books don't take up much space - I'd just be safe and hang on to 'em. Take care - X
     
  7. LDB

    LDB Expert Expediter

    Vehicle:
    Recliner
    FMCSR 395.8(k)Retention of driver's record of duty status. (1)Each motor carrier shall maintain record of duty status and all supporting documents for each driver it employs for a period of six month from the date of receipt. (2)The driver shall retain a copy of each record of duty status for the previous 7 consecutive days which shall be in his/her possession and avialable for inspection while on duty.

    That's according to the FMCSR revision of 2003. One commonality of this thread seems to be trying to compare logs to financial records and IRS requirements. They are totally separate things and shouldn't be in the same thought or thread.

    Keep your logs as long as you want but in actuality you are only required to produce the prior 7 days as a driver. I used the 6 months the carrier is required simply because it works if you have your own authority etc. and 6 old books are nothing to keep. I don't really want 84 or more old books laying around though.

    Leo
    truck 767

    Support the entire Constitution, not just the parts you like.
     
  8. davekc

    davekc Senior Moderator Staff Member

    They are common in the process of an audit to determine hours and location if a per diem is being used. The alternative would be to gain them from your carrier. In the process of an audit, it would be your responsibility to provide them, not the carrier. You have a bigger problem if the carrier has lost them or went out of business.
    You are correct that FMSCA only requires what you indicated.
    It will be of little solice in the event of an audit unless you have other very specific documents indicating hours worked through a day, date and location. Logs would be your first defense if you are challenged in an audit for per diem deductions. IRS has stepped up reviews in this regard because many carriers have opted to start paying their drivers a per diem through settlements.
    Davekc
     
  9. Olko

    Olko Rookie Expediter

    Thanks for the input. Guess we will stick them in a back corner somewhere for another 4 years.

    Olko, now heading back into Lurker mode!!!!
     
  10. Weave

    Weave New Recruit

    Hi Wendy and Kevin! I hope things are picking back up for you. Keep the log books forever. You never know if or when you'll go back over the road, and they verify experience. If not that, they are fun to look back on and see where you went when you drove OTR. I even laugh to this day when I look back and see some of the places Thompson, Con-Way, FedEx, C&M and All-State have sent me. It's nothing short of amazing, yet I think nothing of it until I look at the old logs, which must be kept unlike taking pictures, which gets boring after a while. If that isn't enough, you can bore children with them!
    -Weave-
     
  11. RichM

    RichM Moderator Emeritus

    We were audited in 1996 , for our 1994 return.The log books were used to verify road expenses.One thing we did was to clean up the logs and redo them with all the i's dotted and the t's crossed. After doing 24 logbooks the IRS Agent only looked at January and said all was OK.
    To this day I think a rotten neighbor turned us in to the IRS under the so called whistle blower program. i live on a good street with decent neighbors but there is always one old sob who has nothing to do.
    At that time Roberts told me they only keep log books for 6 months.
     
  12. mhoy40

    mhoy40 New Recruit

    a driver only has to keep his log for the previous 7 or 8 day period after that month is over beyond that u dont have to keep them by law or codes but i agree with the others i always keep mine as a driver for 6 mnths if i were a owner operator i would prob. keep for the seven yr period though, just 2 be safe because u just never know what the irs might ask for, not that its a financial record but it goes a long way if they say are u sure u bought fuel here u can say well i have a receipt and my log from that date says i was in that area at that time.
     
  13. Fkatz

    Fkatz Moderator Staff Member

    HI RICH,

    IN ANSWER TO THE QUESTION ABOUT KEEPING LOG BOOKS. ALL OF YOU ARE CORRECT EXCEPT WHEN IT COMES TO THE IRS. IF YOU ARE AUDITED MOST WANT THE LOG BOOKS AND ACTUALLY GO THROUGH EACH AND EVERYONE OF THE PAGES TO SEE WHEN YOU LEFT AND RETURNED TO YOUR MAIN PLACE OF ABODE, DUE TOTHE FACT THAT DRIVERS ARE TAKING THE WHOLE DAY FOR THOSE DAYS, THEY ARE SUPPOSE TO BE BASED ON 1/4 PARTS OF THE DAY. THAT WAY THEY CAN GET YOU FOR LESS DAYS LOGGED.

    THERE IS ANOTHER REASON THAT IF YOU ARE A COMPANY DRIVER, 3 YEARS IS ALL THAT YOU HAVE TO KEEP THEM.

    IF YOU ARE AN O/O THEN ITS 7-10 YEARS,

    IF THEY THINK THAT YOU ARE DISHONEST WITH YOUR LOG BOOKS OR YOU HAVE MADE A FRAUDLENT RETURN, THEN THEY CAN GO AS FAR BACK AS THEY WANT. AND AUDIT YOU FOR EVERY YEAR.

    SO IF YOU ARE AN INDEPENDANT, OR CORPORTATION HOLD ON TO THE LOG BOOKS FOR AT LEAST 10 YEARS.


    FRANK
    FRANK'S TAX & BUSINESS SERVICE
     
  14. Larry

    Larry New Recruit

    The rules on records can be tough to get a handle on. Keep in mind that when an audit is initially done, it is to check to see if you are honest. However, if the IRS finds that you appear to have been fraudulent in your record keeping and filing, they can go back farther and deeper in order to prosecute. Personally, I have always kept my records 7 years. It is your responsibility to provide the proof of your claims, not the IRS's.
     
  15. finney

    finney New Recruit

    Seven years of log books is 84 log books. I throw 'em away on the 9th of the month (you're required to show the last eight days) and if the IRS ever wants to audit my books I don't see any point in giving them any additional ammo to use against me. You are not required to keep logs for the IRS, they are for the DOT. If you have an accountant or suchlike do your returns, they are the party that's responsible for stepping up to the plate in the case of an audit (been there done that).
    I knew a guy that kept every one for thirty years. He took 'em all outside one day and burnt 'em; said he felt odd doing it but was actually glad to see 'em go.
    You'd have been well advised to have kept the original Dan'l Boone and Mingo action figures, but keeping log books for seven years so the IRS can HAVE 'em to torture you with...?
     
  16. redytrk

    redytrk Active Expediter

    This whole thread remind me of my dear Dad.He was OTR for 20 years plus.In his retirement he would often comment,he wished he had kept his log books.What memories they would provide.But alas they were gone just like Baseball cards,uniforms,etc.
     
  17. highway star

    highway star Seasoned Expediter

    Finney, If you were audited, what would you use to prove time away from home?
     
  18. finney

    finney New Recruit

    First off, what do you need to 'prove' time away from home for? The IRS doesn't care if you spent ten dollars on lunch as a business expense 500 miles from home or across the street at the local diner; either way's the same thing; a business expense.

    Second, a log book is NOT a record of expenses, receipts are. Keeping receipts for any and every expense in a business (everything from the cost of your health insurance to an evening out with a client or another expediter) is a good idea, but when was the last time your log reflected how much you spent where? Even though you show fueling on a log, you don't show how much fuel you took on and at what price, do you?

    Thirdly, I want you to take your log books to the IRS and say "See, I really was in Omaha on the 17th of September. That proves I spent twenty dollars at the Red Lobster." See what they say.

    As a sidebar: Do you write off a trip where you met another expediter and talked shop as a business trip? It doesn't matter if you hauled something to get there, just talking to someone can be an 'educational travel' write-off. I have gone on vacation and because I visited a greenhouse and talked to the owner about various things for a couple of hours, (I own a couple of greenhouses and a nursery, but if you just have a garden you could do the same thing) the entire week in OBX (or Hilton Head or wherever) is a write off as a 'business trip'. DO NOT feel guilty in some way or like "I'm not paying my fair share." for doing this; our Congresscritters wrote laws into the most convoluted tax code in all of recorded history to benefit themselves and their donors/friends. They DIDN'T do it for you, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't take advantage of it. In fact, as an American, the concept of an elite ruling class is anathema to the very idea behind this country, and by NOT taking advantage of every tax break you can you contribute to the notion that there are those who are our 'betters' and should be accorded privileges we shouldn't be. Screw 'em and don't worry about keeping a damned log book for seven years; they're not proof of expense in and of themselves, anyway.

    PS
    I guess you've never done the "One for Monday, two for Tuesday." deal, huh? Remember to use blue ink in one and black in the other so's you don't get 'em confused when the DOT comes to the door. :)
     
  19. highway star

    highway star Seasoned Expediter

    When you are claiming meals as a driver, the IRS does care where you are because you only qualify if you are spending time away from home. Local drivers can't claim meals. I seriously doubt that backyard gardens are a write-off unless you plan to use it as a bussiness that will eventually turn a profit.
     
  20. Dreamer

    Dreamer Administrator Staff Member

    Finney,

    You do need those logs. They are the required proof if you use the per diem deduction. If you do not have a log book showing you were away from home that whole day, they will disallow the deduction. And as of this year, that is $41.00 per day... that adds up REAL quick.

    I have found the people who are so paranoid about their log books, are the ones who run illegal. And I'm sure, as a professional, you're running legal.. so you have nothing to worry about, just proving your deductions, right?


    :+


    Dreamer
     

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