You normally don't get a federal tax break for something you do every day. However, some lucky road warriors get a deduction for business mileage. If you don't drive for your job, you can still get a mileage deduction if you're driving for certain purposes approved by the Internal Revenue Service. You also get a break if you move for a new job. The rate you get depends on your reason for driving.
At the time of publication, the IRS standard mileage rate for business driving was 55.5 cents per mile. The mileage rates change from time to time with economic conditions. In general, you use this rate even if your employer reimburses you for expenses. If your employer doesn't reimburse you, you still use the same rate.
Mileage for Business
If you want to use the standard mileage rate for your own car, you must use it the first year you claim business expenses for that car. From that year on, you can claim mileage or deduct your actual expenses by the due date of your tax return, including any extensions. However, you can't change from the standard mileage rate in the middle of a lease on a leased car. You must wait until the lease runs out.
You can't use the standard mileage method for five or more cars you're using in your business at the same time. This is true whether you own or lease them. However, you may be able to deduct actual expenses on these cars. In any year when you use the mileage deduction, you can't double-dip and deduct actual expenses, such as gas and repairs. You must pick one method or the other.
Other Mileage Rates
The IRS allows mileage deductions at different rates for other driving purposes. As of 2012, you could claim 23 cents for every mile you had to drive to find or move to a new job. That only applies if you had to go more than 50 miles for the job. The 23-cent rate also applied to travel solely for medical visits or treatments. You can't deduct mileage for personal travel just because you also saw a doctor. You can't deduct your vacation just because rest is good for your health. The IRS is in a charitable mood when it comes to charities. In 2012, you could claim 14 cents for every mile you drive to perform a service for charity without pay.
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