Use the 520 Bridge Toll to MAKE money

If you are self-employed or travel for business (not commuting) the IRS will allow you to deduct 55.5 cents a mile. The only trick is you need to track the business miles you drive and be able to produce a detailed log for your return. I have a whacky product idea that will make it brain-dead-simple for people to generate a mileage log at tax time. If I see enough interest it may push me to actually finish building it.  Western High-Rise, Evergreen Point Floating Bridge

Before his morning when I read GeekWire’s Todd Bishop exclaim that he’s happy about the tolls I hadn’t considered how SR520 users might be customers of my product idea.  If the SR520 tolls could really be $1600/year that might incent people to start tracking their miles…and I might have a bunch of customers here in my own back yard.

Let’s say your home office is in Ravena and you regularly drive to Microsoft’s main campus.  You drive about 14 miles each way, for 28 a day.  The IRS will provide you a $15.54 deduction for that.  If you travel the 520 at the peak times the Good To Go! fees will be $5.60 (assuming you have a Good To Go pass). 

Thus my idea will actually MAKE commuters money!

Of course if this actually works then I will make money too.  Hence the title of this post is actually a double entendre.

I’m not yet disclosing how my idea will work, but the goal is for it to work without requiring users to enter any new data or use a special device. I’ve got most of the proof of concept running and simply (ha!) need to get it to MVP stage to really prove it out.  I’m looking for a developer to help me out (for non-cash compensation) so if you are an ASP.NET & jQuery/CSS developer and want to get in on this let me know (charlie (at)

Go to to register your interest.  In addition provide a comment below with your thoughts on whether this interests you or not.

(Note, before anyone goes crazy with rumors, this is not my ‘real’ startup. This is just one of many side projects that my leaving Microsoft has enabled me to actually pursue.)

EDIT: As commenters pointed out, the IRS will not allow you to deduct miles travelled while commuting to a regular job. I’ve updated the post to more accurately reflect that.


  1. Fheald says:

    I don’t believe you can get IRS reimbursement for commuting.

    1. Jasond says:

      You can deduct any not-reimbursed biz travel to IRS, but per earlier messages, it can not include to/from home miles.  For example, a trip from your office to Seattle and back can be logged.  

      1. I tweaked my wording (again) to address this. 

  2. Jim says:

    Fheald is right.  Regular commuting from home to work is not deductible.

    It’s still useful for business travel during the day, though. For example, if I have to go from downtown to Redmond for a meeting, that would be deductible.

    1. I updated the post to reflect this. Thanks.

  3. Ryan Hurst says:

    Love the idea Charlie – Ryan

  4. C Junglov says:

    If you can figure out a way for us realtors to track their mileage using an app, that would be fantastic!  We do so many quick drives in the course of our business that most of us lose thousands of miles a year because it is such a pain to track them.  🙂

    1. C Junglov says:

      I mean “our mileage” . . .

  5. 3RB says:

    unless i’m reading it wrong, it’s a deduction off of your taxable income and not a dollar for dollar tax credit, so therefore not seeing how one could MAKE money. 

  6. Andrew says:

    Sounds kind of like Run Tracker for a car ride – an app on the phone sounds perfect for this sort of thing… awesome.

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