How to Itemize Mileage on Your Tax Return

By Heather Leigh Landon
Mileage for business-related travel is deducted from your tax return.

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Year in and year out part of working in the U.S. includes having to file income taxes. You are allowed to claim certain itemized deductions, including mileage on a car. Whether it is for work or personal use, in order to claim your mileage you must keep an accurate record of it. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requires you to keep records, even if you plan to take the standard business mileage rate.

Organization

Know allowable mileage. The IRS will allow you to claim mileage on your taxes for reasons such as charitable, medical, education, job hunting, moving and business. If more than seven percent of your income has been used for medical expenses, the mileage for doctor visits can be claimed. Mileage for charitable contributions include dropping off donations and going to volunteer. Miles driven to classes for your work, relocation or business use of your car are tax deductions.

Keep good records. Keep a notebook in your car to write down starting mileage, destination, purpose and ending mileage. Do not forget dates, times and receipts for your tax records.

Organize mileage. Use catalog size envelopes to create a monthly log of each type of mileage -- business, charitable, education and moving. You can keep proof of your mileage organized in the envelopes and update them regularly, such as once a week or at least every other week.

Business Mileage

Know mileage rates. To make calculating mileage deductions easier, know the current year's rates. As of January 2011 the amount for business mileage was 50 cents per mile.

Calculate reimbursements. Gather your envelopes with receipts and documentation of any reimbursements together in one place. Make sure you have this when filing your tax return.

Fill out proper forms. If you filing Form 1040, and your employer has reimbursed you for expenses, you need to fill out Form 2106. In Part II: Vehicle Expenses fill in all details about the car you use for work-related travel. Add mileage deduction with other business expenses together and follow instructions on the form to the bottom where you deduct the amount you were reimbursed. The deduction is then entered on line 40 of your tax return. If self-employed, you will need to use form 1040, Schedule C, to claim mileage in Section 4. Other forms are available if using a 1040-EZ for your taxes.

Other Mileage

Calculate moving mileage. If you have moved for work-related purposes, you are able to claim the mileage for moving on IRS Form 3909. As of January 2011, the amount you can claim for moving is 19 cents per mile. Calculate and enter on line 2 and then add in all other moving expenses. Enter total amount on line 40, with other itemized deductions on Form 1040.

Itemize charity miles. Fill out Form 8283, including details about the charity, donation and value of donation. As of January 2011, you can claim 14 cents per mile for charitable contributions and enter the expense as the value of the donation. The total amount is then added in with other itemized deductions on line 40 of your Form 1040 tax return.

Calculate other mileage. As of January 2011, job hunting mileage is valued at 51 cents per mile and medical mileage is 19 cents per mile. Both of these mileage deductions are added to other allowable itemized deductions on line 40 of your Form 1040 tax return.

Submit with tax return. Include all additional forms for mileage deductions with your tax return. Make a copy of all forms to keep with receipts and documentation of mileage used for business and miscellaneous purposes.

About the Author

Heather Leigh Landon has been a writer since 1988 when she started her career as a stringer for "The McHenry Star News." Since then she has worked for newspapers such as "The Woodstock Independent," "The Northwest Herald" and "Press Journal." Landon graduated from William Rainey Harper College with an Associate of Applied Science in journalism.