WASHINGTON ― The Internal Revenue Service today issued the 2018 optional standard mileage rates used to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business, charitable, medical or moving purposes.

Beginning on Jan. 1, 2018, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car (also vans, pickups or panel trucks) will be:

  • 54.5 cents for every mile of business travel driven, up 1 cent from the rate for 2017.
  • 18 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes, up 1 cent from the rate for 2017.
  • 14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations.

The business mileage rate and the medical and moving expense rates each increased 1 cent per mile from the rates for 2017. The charitable rate is set by statute and remains unchanged.

The standard mileage rate for business is based on an annual study of the fixed and variable costs of operating an automobile. The rate for medical and moving purposes is based on the variable costs.

Taxpayers always have the option of calculating the actual costs of using their vehicle rather than using the standard mileage rates.

A taxpayer may not use the business standard mileage rate for a vehicle after using any depreciation method under the Modified Accelerated Cost Recovery System (MACRS) or after claiming a Section 179 deduction for that vehicle. In addition, the business standard mileage rate cannot be used for more than four vehicles used simultaneously.  These and other requirements are described in Rev. Proc. 2010-51.

Notice 2018-03, posted today on IRS.gov, contains the standard mileage rates, the amount a taxpayer must use in calculating reductions to basis for depreciation taken under the business standard mileage rate, and the maximum standard automobile cost that a taxpayer may use in computing the allowance under a fixed and variable rate plan.

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    Which is better - deducting the standard mileage rate or actual expenses?

    With the fluctuating cost of gas, it might be a good idea to revisit which tax deduction is the most beneficial - claiming 54.5 cents per mile (2018) or your actual vehicle expenses. Claiming the standard mileage rate is easier. All you have to do is keep track of your business miles and multiply them by the current rate. In addition to the standard mileage rate, you may also deduct the costs for parking and tolls. Plus, if you are self-employed, you can deduct the interest paid on your car loan.

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    If you are a self-employed taxpayer, you may deduct 100 percent of your health insurance premiums from your income. The deduction for health insurance premiums does not reduce your self-employment tax, however.
Thursday, 18th January 2018
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