In order to reflect the costs associated with using an automobile, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) allows individuals to deduct vehicle expenses from their taxes depending on the purpose for which the car was being driven. The mileage, tolls and parking fees that you pay may be deductible if you use your car for business, medical, moving or charitable purposes throughout the year.
Standard Mileage Deductions
When using your car for any tax deductible purpose, you can either deduct the actual costs of operating the vehicle or take the standard mileage deduction rates. Costs of operating the vehicle can include gas, depreciation, fees, tolls, repairs, insurance and gas. However, you can only count the percentage of those costs that the car is used for deductible purposes and you must provide documentation to prove your estimate of car usage. To make it record keeping easier, the IRS provides standard deductions per mile.
In order to qualify as mileage driven for business use, the car must be drive at the request of an employer, between jobs, or between a job and school. You cannot deduct miles drive commuting to and from your job. The rate for 2013 was 56.5 cents per mile, so if you drove 1,500 miles during the year for business purposes, you could deduct $847.50 on your taxes.
Medical and Moving Mileage
If you must drive to get to medical car for yourself, your spouse or a dependent you can deduct the tolls and parking you paid as well as 24 cents per mile driven. If you move and meet certain requirements, moving miles are deducted at the same rate. In order to deduct moving mileage you must have moved at least 50 miles and you must work full-time for a minimum of 39 weeks in the year after you move.
You are not allowed to deduct any amount of money for services that you provide to charities. However, if you drive your vehicle to and from a charitable activity, you can deduct tolls, parking and mileage. Mileage driven for charities was deducted at a rate of 14 cents per mile for 2013.
In order to claim the mileage deductions, you must have kept sufficient records to prove that you drove the number of miles for the purposes that you said you did. You need to keep a record of the dates and times that you drove, where you drove to and what the purpose of each trip was. If you do not have these records, it will be very difficult to prove your mileage deductions, should your taxes be audited.
Based in the Kansas City area, Mike specializes in personal finance and business topics. He has been writing since 2009 and has been published by "Quicken," "TurboTax," and "The Motley Fool."