The IRS has issued the 2015 optional standard mileage rates used to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business, charitable, medical or moving purposes.

Beginning on January 1, 2015, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car (also vans, pickups or panel trucks) will be:

  • 57.5 cents per mile for business miles driven. For 2014, the rate is 56 cents a mile.
  • 23 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes. down from 22.5 cents.
  • 14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations. (This amount remains unchanged from 2014.)

The standard mileage rate for business is based on an annual study of the fixed and variable costs of operating an automobile. The rate for medical and moving purposes is based on the variable costs as determined by the same study, which was conducted by Runzheimer International.

Taxpayers always have the option of calculating the actual costs of using their vehicle rather than using the standard mileage rates.

A taxpayer may not use the business standard mileage rate for a vehicle after using any depreciation method under the Modified Accelerated Cost Recovery System (MACRS) or after claiming a Section 179 deduction for that vehicle. In addition, the business standard mileage rate cannot be used for more than four vehicles used simultaneously.

Background: If you use a vehicle for business driving, you can generally deduct the actual expenses attributable to your business use. This includes expenses such as gas, oil, tires, insurance, repairs, licenses and vehicle registration fees. In addition, you may claim a depreciation allowance for the vehicle, based on the percentage of business use. However, annual write-offs are subject to so-called “luxury car” limits, indexed annually.

But some taxpayers don’t want to keep track of every last vehicle-related expense. Another option: Instead of deducting your actual expenses, you may be able to use the IRS’ standard mileage rate. With this approach, you don’t have to account for all your actual expenses, although you still must record the mileage for each business trip, the date, the destinations, the names and relationships of the business parties and the business purpose of the travel. The rate is adjusted annually by the IRS.

The national average price of a gallon of regular unleaded gas was $2.62 on December 11, 2014. This is down from the average price of $3.25 per gallon a year earlier. There are variations in fuel prices from one state to another so the price per gallon in your state could be higher or lower. For example, on December 11, the average price per gallon of regular unleaded gas in Missouri was $2.33 while in California, it was $2.93 and in Hawaii, it was $3.75. — Source: AAA Daily Fuel Gauge Report

You may have questions about deducting mileage expenses in your unique situation. The tax specialists at Payroll Management are here to answer your questions. Please contact us today and we’ll help you maximize your expenses.

© 2014 Thomson Reuters/Tax & Accounting

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