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IRS issues 2013 mileage deduction rates

How was your Thanksgiving travel?

Most treks these past few days were personal. But when we hit the road for business, medical or charitable reasons or we move in connection with our jobs, we might be able to deduct the mileage.

The Internal Revenue Service gives us the option of calculating the actual costs of using a vehicle for these purposes -- such as gas, oil, tolls, registration fees, repairs, tires, parking fees, insurance and the like -- or by claiming the standard mileage rates.

Most of us use the standard rates. The IRS evaluates the business, medical and moving rates each fall and adjusts them if inflation warrants.

1 cent increase for business medical and moving standard mileage in 2013That time has arrived for 2013. In the coming year, the IRS has bumped up the per-mile deductible allowance for those three travel categories by 1 cent each.

That lone penny also is this week's By the Numbers figure.

The table below shows the 2012 rates and the ones that will take effect on Jan. 1, 2013.

2012 & 2013 standard mileage deduction rates
allowed on cents per mile basis
Tax Year
Business Medical Moving Charity
2012 55.5    23 23 14
2013 56.5 24 24 14

The rate calculations are based on a study conducted by the IRS contractor Runzheimer International. The Waterford, Wisc., company's analysts look at both fixed and variable automotive operating costs, including car insurance, expenses associated with wear and tear, gasoline costs and vehicle characteristics such as miles per gallon or fuel economy.

Charity miles unchanged: OK, you've noticed that I mentioned the charity-related miles earlier but not in connection with the annual inflation adjustment.

And the table shows that miles driven for charitable purposes are 14 cents for both 2012 and 2013.

Why is it so much lower than the other standard mileage rates and why didn't it change?

The answer to both questions is because that's the law.

No, I'm not being a smart-ass. It is the law. The amount allowed as a deduction for charitable driving is set by statute and as such is not adjusted each year.

Yes, it's incredibly unfair.

So I'll say again today the same thing I've said for the seven years I've written this blog and for the many more I've covered taxes:

Let your Representative and Senators know that you think the deductible mileage rate for charitable driving should be on par with the business, medical and moving amounts and adjusted each year based on inflation.

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