Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Claiming Pizza Delivery Mileage On Your 2008 Taxes

Each year I post about how to claim your pizza delivery mileage on your taxes. Last year's post is very detailed and even includes a scanned image of the 1040.

What you need to know:

  1. There are 2 methods: Actual expenses or mileage. Unless you are driving a newer car that you are still making high payments on, it is usually better (and almost always simpler) to use the mileage method.
  2. If you claim expenses, you must also claim your reimbursements.
  3. To claim your expenses, you must itemize your deductions on Schedule A. Unless you have a mortgage and pay a bunch of interest, or make large charitable donations, you are better off claiming the standard deduction.
  4. Even if you itemize, your unreimbursed expenses must be at least 2% of your total income.
Well this year I did not claim my mileage. Due to my hernia surgery in June, my suspension in December for not using a car-topper, and generally working fewer shifts, I drove fewer miles.

My total delivery miles for the year were 3774 (compared to 7629 in 2007). This got me $976 in "unreimbursed employee expenses" on Schedule A, Line 24. However, this is less than 2% of my Adjusted Gross Income, so I did not get to claim this deduction for 2008.

I expect this is a common situation for most pizza delivery drivers, either the mileage was not over 2% of the AGI or, even more commonly, the pizza driver will not itemize deductions on Schedule A and instead will use the Standard Deduction.

Monday, March 30, 2009

On Time Pizza Surprise

On my first delivery tonight, the woman answered the door saying, "This is the first time ever the pizza has been on time."

To which I replied, "It must be the first time you've had me deliver it."

She paid and tipped $1. Then she said, "Seriously, it's been late like 4 times in a row." And I replied, "Well I'm glad we got it right this time."

But seriously, lady, $1? If I get the chance to take somebody else their food before hers next time, I won't hesitate.

My night started out pretty awful, at 5 deliveries I had only collected about $3.50 in tips. We have a new policy that drivers are supposed to declare $1.50 in tips per hour. Well the law says that I have to report all of my tips (if I collect at least $20 in tips in a month).

I have always reported all of my tips, which is generally way over $1.50 per hour. But every so often I have a crummy night and we are really slow. Like tonight, at the 3 hour mark I only had the $3.50. And I refuse to lie and inflate my tips above what they actually are.

Luckily for me, my last 2 deliveries of the night each tipped $5 and put me well over the $1.50 per hour rate.

My totals for the night were 5 hours of driving, 9 deliveries, 37 miles, and $18 in tips.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

NCAA MSU-Louisville Update

It was bound to happen, I got a cocky and now I have to be a Michigan State fan. Louisville looked awful today, the zone defense wasn't working and they stayed in it until the last 2 minutes when they were already down by 17.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

NCAA Elite Eight (halfway) Update


I got 7 of 8 correct in the round of 16, and I'm 2-2 so far in the Elite Eight. If North Carolina and Louisville, both #1 seeds, win on Sunday I will have all 4 final 4 teams correct.

My sister-in-law Dawn, who picked the better seed in every game, is in 2nd place.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Wrong Side Of Town (Ain't So Bad)

I worked 5 hours driving (plus another cleaning up) and took 10 deliveries tonight (including 3 doubles). Nine of the 10 deliveries were in historically "low-tipping" areas. For those that know the neighborhoods, 6 were in the Lake / Furnace area and 3 were in the East/Middle/West area.

Thanks mainly to a $5 tip on Lake and several $3 tips (including one Codi told her friend on Foster that he had to give) I ended up with $22, not a bad Wednesday shift. I drove 39 miles (thanks to the doubles).

Cleanup took a while as Chris was gone from about 10:15 - 11 on just one delivery, to a customer who unfortunately still doesn't know their own address, and thus is still hungry.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Short Monday

I worked tonight, but not for long. The most interesting thing was getting sent home at 8 PM. I drove 13 miles, worked 2 hours, took 4 deliveries, and made $5 in tips.

I'm glad all nights aren't like this.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

NCAA Day 4 Update

What a great job the seeding committee did this year! Of the 16 1-4 seeds in each bracket, 14 of them have made the Sweet Sixteen! Only #4 Wake Forest (beaten by #13 Cleveland State who then lost to #12 Arizona) and #4 Washington (beaten by #5 Purdue) are eliminated. All the 1's, 2's, and 3's advanced.

This is great news for my sister-in-law Dawn, who picked the favored seed in every game of the tournament! She currently sits in 3rd place!

The top 10 are all really close, separated by just 3 points from 1 to 10. And bottom-dwellers George and Dave aren't out of it, as they each were the only team to choose Kansas and Duke (respectively) to win it all.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

NCAA Day 2 Update

Yesterday we had 6 teams with only 2 wrong. Today there were many more upsets and there are now just 2 teams tied for first in the standings, at 25 out of 32 correct. Almost everybody is still alive, 13 of us have 21 or more correct.

My father-in-law is trailing with just 17 but he does have his whole final 4 still alive including Gonzaga.

My son Luke is tied for 1st with JW, but JW has lost pretty much his entire Midwest bracket, as he had Wake Forest and West Virginia in the elite eight and both are out.

It was a frustrating night for me. I did get to watch the late games but our Cleveland TV station showed Ohio State vs Sienna. Now this was a great game, down to the wire, but I'd have rather watched Cleveland State knock off Wake Forset.

Friday, March 20, 2009

NCAA Day 1 Update

Today was a day for the chalk, as 6 of our 16 entrants got 14 of 16 correct. I say 16 entrants but there are really just 14 1/4 brackets filled out. Yes, 14 1/4. My nephew Zorlod only picked games in the Midwest Region.

I was at a soccer coaching meeting tonight and then when I got home I watched the Cavs win in OT so I didn't really get to watch any basketball tonight. I did watch Illinois almost catch Western Kentucky.

I've got plans to go out to Red Robin tomorrow night so I won't watch much then either, I will set the DVR to record the Cleveland State timeslot at least.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


I got called off on Monday because business has been very slow this week. I was kind of hoping to get called off again tonight but I did not, so in to work I went.

The night started off not so good, with just 4.50 in tips in my first 4 deliveries, but then things picked up and I ended up with 9 deliveries and $17 in tips. Not what I would hope for in 5 hours of driving but I guess it could be worse.

I can't think of a single funny thing that happened tonight, except that Nick noticed I'm putting on weight.

Monday, March 16, 2009

NCAA Basketball Tournament Pick'em Contest

It's March and that means college basketball. And what goes better with college basketball than pizza? Free pizza!

My blog is once again sponsoring a contest, run on the Yahoo! website, where you can win a $15 gift certificate to the pizza parlor of your choice.

Just follow this link and enter group 138770 and password pepper. I picked a green topping this year to celebrate St. Patrick's Day, and also to honor my hometown Cleveland State Vikings, making their first appearance since 1986!

Good luck to everyone!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Slow Monday

I worked tonight from 6-11:30 (including 1/2 hour of cleaning after we closed. In 5 hours on the road I took just 7 deliveries. This is a very low number.

Luckily I got $5 and $3.75 on my first 2 tips and ended up with $18. I drove 33 miles.

I got stiffed by a little kid for the 2nd night in a row. It's a shame that people send their kids to do what they are ashamed to do themselves.

I had a delivery to a bar. While I was inside, a guy came in from outside and said "Hey my friends just stole your car." Was that supposed to be funny or what?

There's a new Little Ceasars about to open a few blocks from our shop. I wonder if it will affect business.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

A Penny Foy My Thoughts?

How about a penny for 3 hours work?

I was scheduled to work 6-close but I went in at 10PM tonight because of a family situation ... I figured I would get a few deliveries and help close up.

Well I did dishes for most of the time, and I ended up only taking 1 delivery. The ticket was for $16.99. The customer sent their pre-teen boy to the door so they didn't have to be embarassed by stiffing me.

I worked 3 hours, took 1 delivery, drove 5 miles, and made 1 cent.

Monday, March 2, 2009


After over a month off due to my broken arm and then my car repairs (clutch), I finally returned to work tonight.

The first thing that happened was that since I was gone so long, the computer made me change my password.

After doing a few loads of dishes, I was on the road with a delivery for $19.99. The cost would have been $18.49 but the customer had added 2 garlic sauces at $0.75 each. I was afraid that this was intended to bring the price right up to $20 even, and indeed, my profit on that run was one Lincoln coin. I drove back feeling slightly depressed.

I shouldn't have, as my night improved tremendously. My next trip, a double, earned me $10.54 in tips, followed by $4.04 from a customer who had remarked on the phone that the price was too high.

Next after that was $2.82 ($2 in cash and $0.82 added on the credit card total). After that came another double, $1.54 and $4.03.

Finally one more double ($2.54 and $5.10) to a historically low-tipping area. In fact, 7 of my 9 runs on the night were to areas where I'd usually feel lucky just to get $2!

I worked 4 hours (4:45 pm - 8:45 pm), drove 42 miles (I think), took 9 deliveries, and made $29 in tips.

My arm felt a twinge of weakness once when I was reaching out to set some clean plates on the drying shelves, but it wasn't because they were heavy. Other than that I felt no effects of my broken arm.

I was scheduled to drive again Friday night but I've got calling hours to attend so I'm gonna miss the best part of the night, and just show up from 10-1, but at least I'm back in the swing. And good timing too, as the worst of the winter weather should be passed.