The Internal Revenue Service allows you to deduct business travel from your tax return. If you are facing a high tax burden, this deduction may be tempting; however, you cannot deduct business miles if you commuted from home to work and back. However, you can deduct commuting miles if you travel to a different office, including from a home office to a business office.
You cannot deduct your mileage for traveling between your home and your employer's office. The IRS considers this mileage regular commuting mileage and does not count it as a business expense. If you travel to an unusual location -- for example, if you attend training at a different office -- you can deduct this mileage from your taxes, as it is not a regular commuting expense. You can also deduct your mileage if you travel from the office to another business during the course of the day.
If you work from a home office, you can deduct your miles if you must travel from your home office to your employer's regular office. For example, if you do tech support for the office from home and must go to the office to resolve a problem, you can deduct your miles from the trip between your home office and your employer's office. You must have a bona fide home office to take advantage of this deduction; you cannot use it if you do not have a dedicated office in your home.
If you would otherwise qualify for a mileage deduction but used public transportation instead of your vehicle, keep your receipts. You can deduct the cost of public transportation, such as cab or train fare, from your taxes as a business expense if you used it for business travel. You cannot deduct public transportation costs of commuting to work each day because work commutes are not deductible regardless of the mode of transportation.
The IRS may look more closely at your tax return if you claim mileage deductions, especially if you claim mileage in conjunction with a home office. Taxpayers often abuse business deductions, especially home office deductions, so the IRS audits returns that contain these deductions more frequently to ensure taxpayers are claiming the deduction appropriately rather than attempting to take more money off their taxes than they are entitled to.
Jack Ori has been a writer since 2009. He has worked with clients in the legal, financial and nonprofit industries, as well as contributed self-help articles to various publications.