2011 Standard Mileage Rates Announced

Tax Tips

Whenever you drive for business, medical reasons, or in support of a charitable organization, you can probably deduct the mileage from your taxes if you itemize your deductions on your tax return. Last month, the IRS released updates to the “standard mileage rates” when you use your vehicle to drive for business, medical or moving purposes, or in service of a charitable organization:

  • Business miles: 51 cents per mile
  • Medical or moving purposes: 19 cents per mile
  • Charitable organization: 14 cents per mile

In general, you can only claim the deduction if you use your personal vehicle. For example, a vehicle that was purchased by a business cannot claim business mileage (specifically, it is excluded if the vehicle is being depreciated under MACRS or if it was claimed as a Section 179 deduction).

For example, if you are a salesperson and your employer provides a company car, you will not be able to claim business miles. If you deliver pizzas with your personal vehicle and your employer doesn’t compensate you for your car, then you can claim the miles driven.

Keeping Records

Advice on keeping records has always been pretty spotty but it’s everyone agrees that it’s important that you keep a log of your driving. Some experts recommend keeping a journal in your car to record the date, distance, odometer readings, and purpose of the trip. If you are able to show good records of your deduction, you can only hope for the best in case the IRS audits you. The IRS audits only approximately 1% of all tax returns every year.

Business mileage

With business mileage, your commute to work cannot be deducted. Any driving you may do that isn’t part of the “leg” home can be included. Let’s say you’re a construction foreman and you have a desk in a corporate office that you check into each day. After checking in, you drive to the work site in your personal car. At the end of the day, you drive directly home. You can deduct the business mileage of driving from the office to the work site (but not from the work site to your home) as long as your employer doesn’t reimburse you.

Medical mileage

You can claim medical miles for those that you drive to receive medical care, be it for you, your spouse, or your children. The amount of this deduction is added to your medical deduction, which means it will only be included if your total medical expenses exceed 7.5% of your adjusted gross income.

Moving mileage

You can claim moving mileage if you move to take a new job, your new job is at least 50 miles away from your home, and you start working within the first year you live in your new place for at least 39 weeks (these are referred to as the “time and distance” requirements for claiming a deduction for moving expenses).

Charitable mileage

You can claim charitable mileage for any driving you do in service of a charity or volunteer project.

Finally, there’s also another change for 2011. You will now be cable to claim the standard mileage rate for cars used for hire like taxicabs.

Comments (25) Leave your comment

  1. I work construction. My vehicle carries my tools from home to work everyday since I could go to a new location at a moments notice. I change work locations frequently as jobs finish. I also usually drive over 35 miles one way. Currently 65. Can I claim all of my mileage to work and back?

  2. even though the IRS recommends 51 cents per mile, my employer pays a great deal less than that. Can I get a tax credit for the difference?

  3. I work as a home health nurse, I commute to my work area daily one way of 44 miles call patients to let them know I’m visiting the company reimburse $.49 per mile from there office location what can I use as taxable milage?

  4. If I work as a pizza delivery driver and only use my car for my job(as I use another car for normal errands) can I deduct the milage on my taxes (9500 miles)?

    1. Hi Charlie – The general rule is that routine commuting costs to and from your primary workplace are not deductible. The miles that you drive from your job to customers, however, is typically deductible. –Christopher

  5. as a musician, I was under the impression i can deduct mileage to gigs. but i can’t find a place to do it. turbo tax seems to want me to depreciate my vehicle, which i don’t want to do. can i just claim the mileage?

  6. I live in VT. but drive 131 miles one way to work in MA. then drive home the same day. Why can’t I claim this mileage. I can not afford to live in the Boston area.

  7. TurboTaxLisa,
    I work for an employer who has a main office. We have satellite clinics we work out of as well. We work in those on monday, tuesday and wednesday. On Thursday and Friday we are at our main clinic. So my question is can i claim the mileage from my home to the satellite clinics since its not our main location? Or can i only claim the mileage when im coming from the satellite clinic to the main office. And also what kind of log do i need to be keeping in case the IRS does do an audit? Sorry ive never had to do this before.Thanks alot!

    1. Hi John,
      Yes you can claim the mileage related to your travel to locations that are not your normal place of business or home office.
      Thank you,
      Lisa Greene-Lewis

  8. doesn’t the IRS cap how much you can get back? My boyfriend works as a messenger and drove 25k miles. So at 51 cents a mile that is $12,750. The Govt. isn’t going to give him that much back, right? What is the cap?

    1. Hi Jennifer,
      Yes. First you are limited to employee business expenses that are 2% over your adjusted gross income so if his adjusted gross income was $50,000, he would be limited to the amount over $1,000 ($50,000 x 2%), in addition it is based on percentage of business use of the vehicle. Also if his employer pays for any of his mileage he would have to deduct that as well.
      TurboTax will guide him through the entries and make the correct calculations.
      Thank you,
      Lisa Greene-Lewis

  9. Can you deduct the mileage to drive from your home to the site of your charitable work? If you are an officer for a non-profit organization can you deduct the mileage to drive to the meetings?

    1. Hi Shari!
      Yes, you can deduct the mileage for both. For 2010 & 2011 the mileage rate is 14 cents per mile.

      Thank you!
      Lisa Lewis

    2. Hi Shari,
      Yes, you can deduct 14 cents per mile to drive from your home to the site of your charitable work and to the meetings.

      Thank you!
      Lisa Lewis

  10. Absolutely. You can enter your charitable mileage on the federal taxes tax under deductions and credits. You will see a section that says “Charitable Donations” and click start “Donations to Charity in 2010” this will walk you through the process of entering items, money, stock or mileage related to charity.

    Before you enter the mileage you will need to enter the name of the charity you were donating your time at.

    Let me know if you still have questions.


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