How to Expense Gas Costs for Taxes

by Mark Kennan

For most people, the cost of gasoline is not tax deductible. However, you may be able to write off certain gas expenses used for allowable business purposes, moving miles, medical trips or charity work. To claim the deductions, you need to have accurate mileage records for your vehicle for the year.

Total how many business miles you drove and multiply the total by the annual mileage rate the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) publishes each year. Business miles include trips taken on behalf of your employer while at work, such as driving from your office to a client, driving from your job to another job or driving from your job to a continuing education class, according to the IRS.

Report your deduction on Schedule C if you are self-employed or Schedule A if you are an employee. On Schedule C, list the amount of the gas expense in part two as a "Car and Truck Expense" and complete part four, giving information about your vehicle. On Schedule A, the deduction is taken in the "Job Expenses and Certain Miscellaneous Deductions" section on the "Unreimbursed Employee Expenses."

Total how many charity miles you drove and multiply the total by the annual mileage rate, which the IRS also makes known each year. Charity miles include driving to attend a community service project, such as driving to help build a Habitat for Humanity home, or miles driven as part of community service, such as taking meals to the elderly.

Add the value of your charity miles to the value of any other tax-deductible monetary donations you have made during the year and report the total as a charitable deduction in the "Gifts to Charity" section of Schedule A.

Total how many medical miles you drove and multiply the total by that annual mileage rate. Medical miles include trips taken for medical purposes.

Add the value of your medical miles to the value of any other tax-deductible medical expenses you have incurred during the year and report the total in the "Medical and Dental Expenses" section of Schedule A.

Total how many moving miles you drove and multiply the total by that annual mileage rate. You must have moved for job purposes; your new workplace must be at least 50 miles farther from your old home than your old workplace; and you must have worked full-time for at least 39 weeks out of the first 12 months you lived in your new location.

Report your moving expenses, including your moving miles, on IRS Form 3903.

Tip

  • You must keep written records to support your mileage claims in case the IRS audits your tax return.

Warning

  • Only the self-employed business miles and the moving miles can be taken without giving up the standard deduction. If you claim medical expenses or charity gifts, make sure your itemized deductions exceed the standard deduction you would have otherwise been eligible to claim.

Items you will need

  • Mileage log

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