Deducting Business Mileage: The Standard Rate vs. The Actual Expense Method  

Deducting Business Mileage

Deducting the miles you drive for business purposes is a great way to lower your taxable income. But if you’re like most people, you use the same vehicle for business and personal travel. This can make the deduction process a little more complicated.   

First, you need to figure out how many miles you traveled for business and how many you drove for personal travel. Then you will need to choose a method to calculate your deduction. You will either use the standard mileage rate method or the actual expense method to find your deduction amount.  

Quick tip: Most newer vehicles’ odometers come with settings to add multiple “Trips,” and since each trip starts at 0 miles to begin with, you can use the “Trip A” setting for personal miles and the “Trip B” setting for business miles. 

How the Standard Rate Method for Mileage Works   

The standard mileage rate method is very straightforward. Simply multiply the total business miles you drove all year by the rate for the year. For the first six months of 2022, the standard rate for mileage was 58.5 cents per mile.  

Here’s an example of how the standard rate works. Let’s say you drove 5,000 miles for Uber this year. According to the standard method, you would be able to deduct 5,000 x $0.585 from your taxable income, totaling $2,925.   

Due to rising gas prices, the standard mileage rate has temporarily increased to 62.5 cents per mile for the rest of 2022. For more information on this tax law change, visit the IRS website

How the Actual Expense Method for Mileage Works  

Using the actual expense method is more in-depth than the standard method. First, you will need to determine how many of the miles you traveled were for your business. Then you’ll need to find what percent of your total miles that represents.  

For example, if you drove 10,000 miles in a year but only 5,000 were for business, then 50% of your miles were business miles. Next, you will add up all your vehicle-related expenses. These include gas, oil, maintenance, car washes, repairs, insurance, etc.  

To make sure you aren’t missing out on deducting any business expenses, it is very important to keep your receipts. Once you have a total dollar amount, you will need to multiply this by the percent you calculated. In the example above, it was 50%.      

How many miles can you write off as a deduction?   

There is no limit to the number of miles you can deduct, but they must be business-only miles. These can include:   

  • Driving from home to a client appointment or open house   
  • Driving from home to a business conference   
  • Driving from home to business out of town   
  • Driving from home to a temporary work location    
  • Driving from your office to a client appointment or open house   
  • Driving from your office to a business conference   
  • Driving from your office to business out of town   
  • Driving from your office to a temporary work location   

Note: You cannot deduct miles if you drive from home to your regular office.    

Are you a rideshare driver? You might be missing out on deducting some important miles. Learn more from this article: Rideshare Drivers: 5 Tax Mistakes You Must Avoid  

The standard mileage rate method may be right for you if:  

  • You don’t diligently keep track of records and receipts for vehicle expenses throughout the year. Using the standard method, the only record you will need is your mileage.   
  • Your vehicle gets good gas mileage and did not require any major repairs in 2022. 

The actual expense method may be right for you if:  

  • You used the actual expense method the first year you claimed the mileage deduction. This is because you cannot switch from the actual expense method to the standard method if you used the actual expense method the first year you used your vehicle for business.  
  • Your vehicle is not fuel efficient, so you spend a lot on gas.  
  • Your vehicle needed expensive repairs during the year.  

One more thing: 

When you’re self-employed, you’ve got a lot on your plate already. TaxSlayer helps make it easier and gets you all the tax breaks you deserve – like the mileage deduction. Get started today with TaxSlayer Self-Employed.  

This article was last updated on 6/10/2022. 

This article is intended to provide general information to the public and does not provide personalized tax, investment, legal, or business advice. You should seek the assistance of a professional for advice on taxes, investments, and any other financial, legal, or business matter pertinent to your individual situation.

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