IRS releases 2017 standard mileage rates; business and medical/moving rates dropJanuary 11, 2017
Dina M. Ouellette, CPA
The IRS has released the 2017 optional standard mileage rates that employees, self-employed individuals, and other taxpayers can use to compute deductible costs of operating automobiles (including vans, pickups and panel trucks) for business, medical, moving and charitable purposes. The updated rates are effective for deductible transportation expenses paid or incurred on or after January 1, 2017, and for mileage allowances or reimbursements paid to, or transportation expenses paid or incurred by, an employee or a charitable volunteer on or after January 1, 2017.
Business mileage rate
Beginning on January 1, 2017, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car, van, pickup or panel truck used in a business is:
- 53.5 cents per mile for business miles driven (down from 54 cents in 2016);
- 17 cents per mile for medical and moving expenses (down from 19 cents in 2016); and
- 14 cents per mile for miles driven for charitable purposes (permanently set by statute at 14 cents).
- Comment. The business rate had increased by 1.5 cents in 2015 and then dropped 4 cents in 2016, while the medical and moving rates dropped slightly (by 0.5 cents) in 2015 and then more significantly by four cents in 2016. With gas prices dropping and vehicle prices holding steady in 2016, when statistics for the 2017 rates are gathered, the optional mileage rates for business expenses for 2017 dropped to their lowest levels over five years.
As an alternative to the optional mileage rates, taxpayers can use the actual expense method. Actual expenses include expenditures for gas, oil, repairs, tires, insurance, registration fees, licenses and other qualified costs, including depreciation. Other items, such as parking fees and tolls, may also be deductible. A taxpayer may not use the business standard mileage rate after using a depreciation method under Code Sec. 168 or after claiming the Code Sec. 179 first-year expensing deduction for that vehicle. A taxpayer also may not use the business rate for more than four vehicles at a time.
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