Most taxpayers understand that personal expenses largely aren't deductible and business ones, for the most part, are. However, there are some gray areas. For example, is the mileage you put in when you commute to work every day a business expense, because it's related to your job, or a personal expense?
Because where you choose to live in relation to your workplace is a decision influenced solely by personal factors, the mileage and other expenses associated with a commute to and from work is not a tax-deductible expense. Mileage, parking and tolls associated with your everyday drive to and from work cannot be claimed as a deduction.
If your business location temporarily moves to a different location, you may deduct the transportation costs between your home and the temporary workplace. Any work location that's reasonably expected to be used for less than a year qualifies as a temporary location, regardless of the distance – even if it's closer to your home than your regular location. Meetings at locations other than your normal place of business also qualify for this deduction.
Commuting to a Second Job
In some instances, workers who work two jobs may claim the commute between the first job and the second job as a deduction. For this commute to qualify, the drive must be direct between the two places of employment, with no side trips for errands or stops at home between the two shifts. The drive to the first workplace and the drive home from the second workplace are still non-deductible expenses.
Travel Between Job Sites
Workers who must use their personal vehicle to travel between job sites may claim all mileage incurred during the course of the business-related trips. If the final trip of the day is from a site that's not the taxpayer's regular place of business, those miles are deductible as well. Parking costs a driver incurs when parking his car at off-site job locations is also a deductible expense.
No Fixed Place of Business and Home Offices
Workers who have no fixed place of business, such as traveling sales representatives, may deduct trips to meet clients, but only after the first trip, which qualifies as the worker's commute to a regular place of business. If a worker maintains a home office as his regular place of business and works in that office before heading out on calls, all his mileage is deductible.
For the 2013 tax year, the IRS allows taxpayers to deduct 56.5 cents per mile driven for qualifying business related purposes, although this rate is recalculated on a yearly basis. The date, description and mileage of each trip must be recorded in a log to claim this deduction.
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