In a BLR webinar entitled "Mileage/Commuting Expenses: How to Avoid Big Mistakes With These Employee Expenses," Mark E. Tabakman, Esq., partner in the nationwide law firm Fox Rothschild, LLP and Stacy Wade, Ph.D., CPA, assistant professor of accounting at Western Kentucky University, explained that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regularly adjusts its mileage reimbursement rate to reflect economic conditions. For example, the current 2010 rate was 50 cents per mile, down from the rate of 55 cents that was in effect during 2009.
- Employers that use the IRS rate or a lower rate may deduct the reimbursement as a business expense, and the payment need not be included in the employee's income. If the approved rate (or a lower rate) is used, the IRS considers that requirements to substantiate and adequately account for the expense are satisfied without extensive documentation of actual expenses.
- The employer may deduct reimbursements at a higher rate, but only if the reimbursements reflect the actual cost of the travel and only if the employer keeps adequate records to substantiate its outlays. Reimbursements for tolls, parking, etc., may be deducted in addition to the mileage allowance.
Mark E. Tabakman, Esq., is a partner in the nationwide law firm Fox Rothschild, LLP (www.wagehourlaw.foxrothschild.com). He advises clients throughout the country on all aspects of labor relations and employment law, as well as the development of corporate employment policies. Stacy Wade, Ph.D., CPA, is assistant professor of accounting at Western Kentucky University (www.wku.edu). She teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in financial accounting and taxation.