Many people that track their business mileage for their taxes wonder if they can include their commuting mileage. They believe that because this mileage is being used to get to work, it might be counted. This is a very common question, and the IRS does have rules that cover commute mileage.
What is commute?
Commuting is traveling from your home to your place of work on a daily basis. You can commute by car, bus, ferry, trolley, taxi, or any other form of transportation. The expenses you incur with these forms of travel are considered commuting expenses. This could be the gas or oil for the car you use or your bus fare. Even if the location of your work varies from day to day, the travel from your home to your work location is still commuting.
Is commuting considered business mileage?
Commute miles are different from business travel, which is any travel performed for a business other than commuting and may involve staying in another area overnight. For instance, travel to attend a business meeting, purchase supplies, meet a client, or conduct business at other work locations during the work day is business travel and can be counted as business mileage. However, the trip from home to your first work activity of the day and from your last work activity of the day to home is commuting, not business travel, even if they are not from your primary business location.
Is commuting claimable as a business mileage expense?
According to the IRS, commuting expenses for going to work and back home are not deductible. Therefore, commute rules generally do not allow commuting mileage to be claimed as business mileage. However, there are a few exceptions to this. Here are the exceptions.
- Your home is your normal workplace. If your home is your primary workplace, you can claim travel to other work locations as business mileage.
- Travel between work locations: If you travel to more than one job or worksite during the day, you can include the travel from one job or location to the other job or location as business mileage. You cannot include the drive to or from home as business mileage.
- Temporary Distant Worksite: If your employer requires you to travel temporarily to a worksite outside of the metropolitan area that you live in and work in on a normal basis, you can claim the mileage as business mileage.
Even if commuting is not considered deductible mileage, if you receive reimbursement from your employer for business-related driving, you might still need to keep track of your personal kilometres, and not just the business. Read through our IRS mileage guide to find out how to keep a compliant mileage log and at what mileage rate your employer can reimburse you tax-free per business mile.
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