For anyone expecting to claim mileage on their taxes in 2021, it’s an exciting time. The IRS has released the new mileage rate.
Let’s discuss what you need to know about what the IRS mileage rate is and what you can expect from the IRS this year.
Table of Contents
- 1 What is the Mileage Rate?
- 2 Other Names for the IRS Mileage Rate
- 3 The TCJA has Changed the Way You Claim
- 4 Factors Impacting the IRS Mileage Rate
- 5 What’s the Likely Mileage Rate for 2020?
- 6 What Should Employers Do to Prepare for the New Mileage Rate?
- 7 How to Claim a Mileage Tax Deduction
- 8 How to File Taxes Online in 3 Simple Steps With TurboTax
What is the Mileage Rate?
The standard mileage rate for vehicles used for work, medical, and charitable purposes are as follows:
- 57.5 cents per business mile.
- 17 cents per mile for medical purposes.
- 14 cents per mile for people working on behalf of charities.
The mileage rate released by the IRS also offers guidance on reimbursement for mobile workers. The reimbursement received isn’t taxable as long as the cents per mile reimbursed isn’t above the recommended IRS rates.
Most companies will, therefore, choose to reimburse workers at the stated IRS mileage rate for that year.
Other Names for the IRS Mileage Rate
The IRS mileage rate goes under many names, including the standard mileage rate, the Safe Harbor rate, the business mileage rate, and the IRS mileage reimbursement rate. If you’ve seen any of these names anywhere, they’re all the same thing.
No matter what it’s called the stated IRS mileage rate is a guideline for reimbursement.
The TCJA has Changed the Way You Claim
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) changed everything for employees. Un-reimbursed mileage was able to be claimed as a deduction. Unfortunately, this is no longer possible. This leaves employees in difficult situations because now it’s up to their employers to take steps to make up for it.
If they don’t, you could be missing out.
Factors Impacting the IRS Mileage Rate
Contrary to popular belief, there are a lot of factors that go into the IRS determining their mileage rate for the year. Yes, fuel prices are still a big factor, but it’s far from the only influence.
Fuel prices remain a major factor. The problem is it’s hard to predict what the mileage rate will be due to conflict in the Middle East and falling demand. It’s unclear how these prices will impact the mileage rate.
The IRS also takes into account maintenance costs on vehicles. Even brand-new cars still need to have the oil changed every few months. If you drive your vehicle more, the maintenance costs will rise.
Vehicle repair costs are increasing every year, so this is an increasingly important factor in determining the IRS mileage rate.
Vehicle Insurance Costs
Another cost that’s increasing is auto insurance. There are a number of reasons for this, such as the number of accidents on the roads and the number of minor accidents caused by distracted driving.
You’re paying for this cost whenever you get behind the wheel. That’s why the IRS also factors in insurance costs.
Vehicle costs have increased as well, with Americans spending more than ever before on cars. Cars are changing, and the demands of cars are changing. With so many new, advanced features on newer vehicles, Americans are continuing to spend more.
Vehicle upgrades are expensive, and so the IRS is taking it into account.
What’s the Likely Mileage Rate for 2020?
It’s a strange year because with everything going on domestically and internationally, it’s nearly impossible to spot the trends. Without any consistent numbers within any of these factors, it’s hard to say whether there’s going to be another increase.
2019 saw an increase in the mileage rate from 0.53 to 0.58, but if we look at previous years, this isn’t an indicator that the rate will either rise or fall. So the new mileage rate will be a surprise to everyone when it’s finally announced.
What Should Employers Do to Prepare for the New Mileage Rate?
In the event you’re paying your employees the current IRS mileage rate of 0.58, it may be worth searching for an alternative.
There are a few reasons for this:
- With more mobile workers, some could be being over reimbursed. On the other hand, others could be under reimbursed. That isn’t a fair system.
- Fuel prices and vehicle costs are different depending on where you live. You should base the rate of reimbursement on the costs of your local area.
Understand that the mileage rate is not a recommendation for what companies should pay. It’s merely the limit at which companies can’t reimburse more without incurring taxes on those reimbursements.
You may want to look into other options, such as the Fixed and Variable Rate (FAVR) reimbursement. This is the only program recommended by the IRS as it takes into account both the variable and fixed costs of using a vehicle for business use.
How to Claim a Mileage Tax Deduction
Don’t worry about knowing the mileage tax deductions and how to claim them, online tax filing asks you simple questions about your vehicle use and helps you claim the mileage tax deduction.
Online tax filing finds all the deductions and credits you are entitled to for the largest possible refund.