Each year the Internal Revenue Service determines how much drivers can write off for various types of travel. Any changes are based on an annual study of the fixed and variable costs of operating a vehicle.

In 2008, rising fuel costs prompted the IRS to issue new rates in the middle of the year. In calculating your deductions on your 2008 return, you’ll need to be careful to use the figures applicable to the date on which you drove.

Gasoline prices abated a bit toward the end of the year, so in 2009 the standard mileage rates are reduced from the amounts allowable during the last half of 2008.

While the reimbursement rate for business mileage, as well as qualified moving and medical travel, is adjusted annually for inflation, the rate allowed for miles driven in aid of a charity is set by statute at 14 cents per mile. In times of extraordinary disaster, Congress has increased the standard mileage rate for miles driven in connection with a specific charitable cause, such as was the case following Hurricane Katrina. However, such changes are temporary.

Below are the per-mile amounts you can claim for different types of tax-deductible travel in 2008, as well as 2009 rates for your planning purposes.

Mileage rate deductions
Business Moving Medical Charitable
2008 per-mile rates Jan. 1 through June 30 50.5 cents 19 cents 19 cents 14 cents
2008 per-mile rates July 1 through Dec. 31 58 cents 27 cents 27 cents 14 cents
2009 per-mile rates 55 cents 24 cents 24 cents 14 cents

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