With a new year comes a new tax season, and the headaches that accompany it. In the aftermath of the United States’ Great Recession, many people this year will be looking at their own expenses, in regard to United States spending habits, and figuring out how much they saved, get back, or owe to the Internal Revenue Service. Doing one’s taxes as a home officer worker can be especially ‘taxing’, as an individual needs to figure several financial deductions that would ordinarily be a part of an employee’s W-2 form.
One thing that home office employees can deduct is that of their mileage. While most individuals will truly work from home, the commute between the home office and that of say, the coffee shop or the library in which to do work, does count as a tax deductible item. What is tax deductible when it comes to mileage, and how you calculate those expenses?
Giving it Back
For the new year of 2011, the IRS has begun to post its standard gas mileage, that can be deducted for the 2010 tax return. So what mileage is eligible? Below are the listings for the amount that can be deducted and for what reason -
- 51 cents a mile for miles accrued for business
- 19 cents a mile for miles accrued for either medical or moving
- 14 cents a mile for miles accrued for charitable work or drives to a chartable organization
- 22 cents a mile for miles accrued for vehicles that are depreciated
These mileage numbers can be applied to any vehicle, including cars, vans, pickups, or panel trucks; this does not include the use of hired vehicles - those that are hired for your business or personal reasons, as well as being used on more than four vehicles at the same time.
As a home office employee, the mileage that you do for your business should go on your taxes. These include mileage if you are going to and from an office, business trips, and business travels. The IRS defines a ‘tax home’ as a place where you conduct business on a regular basis; this can include any location in which you spend a regular amount of time working.
In order to calculate your business mileage, you need to know how much time you spend at a place doing business, how much work you do, and whether the income is significant. The IRS determines a home business as a tax home by looking at three factors -
- A part of your home is used for business and you use that home for lodging while doing business in your area.
- Living expenses are duplicated from the home when away for business.
- You or a relative live in the home and that of the area and you use that home as a place of lodging.
In order to claim this type of mileage, you need to satisfy either two, or all of the above conditions, to state that your personal home is that of a tax home (business place). In regards to travel expenses, they of course need to be about business; this would include being away from your tax home in which you may work, longer than the normal hours and you sleep/rest while being away from home. So that trip to Disneyland doesn’t count unless you were there working, while your family enjoyed the Teacups.
As a home office worker, it is important to look into different avenues in which you can deduct or itemize for your 2011 tax returns, to ensure that you are receiving (or paying) the correct amount for taxes. Learning which mileage deductions save you money, and knowing what mileage is tax deductible, will help you keep that trip as part of your business work.