Generally, whether you drive, fly or take the bus, you can’t deduct the cost of getting to work. Commuting expenses are “personal” and as such are not deductible. However, if you drive your car, truck or van, there are five exceptions to the no deduction rule that you might fit into:
- Temporary workplace. Driving to a temporary work site are deductible as long as you have a permanent regular workplace elsewhere. The deduction is 56 cents per mile (2021)
- Home office. If your business is home-based, driving from home to a job, visit a client, bank or buy supplies is fully deductible. The deduction is worth 56 cents per mile (2021)
- Going to the doctor or pharmacy. Keep track of your mileage from home and back. In 2021 each mile is worth a 16 cent per mile deduction
- The tax code allows a rather ungenerous deduction of 14 cents per mile for charitable service driving—Meals on Wheels, your church and any legit charity will qualify.
- Moving.If you change jobs or move your business, you may get a mileage deduction of 16 cents per mile (2021). The rules are a little tricky, but check out IRS Publication 521 “Moving Expenses” to see if you
Sneaky Tip: If you don’t fit into any of the five exceptions above, make a business stop on your way to or from work. Drop into Staples to pick up a printer cartridge or touch bases with a customer or client. Just make a note of the business purpose of your trip, and take a tax deduction!
For more information, see my book, Tax Savvy for Small Business (Nolo) at Amazon.com and visit my website, taxattorneydaily.com.
Frederick W. Daily, J.D, LL. M (tax)
April 30, 2016
Please note: The information contained in this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal, tax, or accounting advice. If you have any specific questions you should consult with a legal, tax, or accounting professional.