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2010 deductible mileage rates released

Do you use your vehicle for business? Then you'll want to jot down this number: 50.

Odometer That's how many pennies each mile of business-related travel is worth on your 2010 taxes.

Every fall, the IRS takes a look at inflation, crunches some numbers and issues the coming year's standard mileage rates.

In addition to telling us how much we can claim per mile for business travel, the IRS also sets the annual rates for medical and moving miles.

For the upcoming 2010 tax year they are:

  • 50 cents per mile for business,
  • 16.5 cents per mile for moving, and
  • 16.5 cents per mile for medical trips.

All of these rates are slightly lower than the 2009 figures, which you'll claim on the 1040 you file between Jan. 1 and April 15, 2010. Those amounts are:

  • 55 cents per mile for business,
  • 24 cents per mile for moving, and
  • 24 cents per mile for medical trips.

The reason for the decrease? Transportation costs were slightly lower when the calculations for next year numbers were made as compared to the prior year's data.

More than miles: When it comes to business travel, remember that you also can deduct parking fees and tolls attributable to the business use of your vehicle.

The same also is true for IRS-allowable medical and moving travel. 

If you think that even with the added parking fees and such that these lower mileage rates will cheat you out of some tax savings, then you do have the option of calculating the actual costs of using your auto.

Details on that method, as well as on claiming the standard rates, can be found in IRS Tax Topic 510 and Publication 463.

What about charity? By now, careful tax watchers have already shot me off an e-mail about a missing mileage rate.

Yes, there is one other deductible driving rate the IRS always tells us about this time of year, the allowance for charity-related miles.

That's 14 cents per mile. The same as last year. And the year before. And the year before the year before. And ... 

The reason for this continual 14 cent mileage loop? No amount of inflation or transportion costs, high or low, is going to affect the charitable miles deduction figure.

The paltry amount you can claim (as part of Schedule A itemized charity contributions) for each mile driven in service of charitable organizations is statutorily set.

That means that Congress has to change it.

Again, keep track not only of your good-deed driving distances, but also the parking and toll charges, too. As with the other standard mileage circumstances, you can use these amounts to increase your tax write-offs.

But still, 14 cents a mile is nothing. And it's just not fair that this instance of deductible driving is locked in while the others are reviewed and adjusted each year.

Try, try again: Speaking of an annual event, every session a Representative or Senator introduces a bill to make the charitable mileage rate adjustable, too. In January 2009, four such proposals were dropped in the hopper.

Every year, including this one, nothing happens with these measures.

If you agree with me that folks who use their cars to deliver meals to shut-ins or take folks to job interviews via a nonprofit's worker training program deserve a little more mileage deduction consideration, let your members of Congress know.

Maybe they'll eventually listen to us on this issue.

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