The Internal Revenue Service spares taxpayers the time and effort of calculating all their car expenses for the year and then prorating them among the different reasons they used the car by allowing a standard mileage rate. As part of the medical and dental expenses deduction, the IRS lets you include the cost of the miles you drive during the year for medical purposes. Like all tax laws, the medical mileage deduction is subject to change, so check with a tax professional.
Qualifying Medical Mileage
Medical care includes driving you do for your own health care as well as health care for your children. For example, if you claim your daughter as a dependent and drive her to the hospital for a checkup, those miles count toward your deduction. You can also include trips you take to see a mentally ill dependent as part of his treatment. You can't include any miles you drive to go to work, even if you have a medical condition that requires special transportation, or miles traveled to a different city to receive medical care for personal reasons. For example, if you have family in a city three hours away that could help you recover after surgery and opt to have the procedure done there, you can't write off the mileage of driving to that city.
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Calculating Medical Mileage Deduction
Each year, the IRS sets the amount that you can write off for each mile you drive for medical care. As of 2015, you can write off 23 cents for every mile. For example, if you drive 1,000 miles for medical care during the year, you can add $230 to your medical expenses deduction. You're also permitted to add parking fees and tolls.
Medical Expenses Deduction
If you itemize your deductions, you can write off the amount of your medical expenses, including mileage, that exceeds 10 percent of your adjusted gross income (7.5 percent if you or your spouse is over 65 years old). Itemizing requires you to forgo taking the standard deduction. For example, say you're under 65 and your adjusted gross income is $60,000. If you have $7,000 of medical expenses, including your mileage, you can claim a $1,000 deduction.
Records to Keep
You must keep a log book that shows all of the trips you've taken for medical purposes, and the entries must be made as you make the trips. Each entry should include the date, where you traveled, the distance traveled and the reason for your trip. For example, an entry might read: "May 1, 2015: Travel from home to St. Joe's Hospital and back for annual physical, 16 miles." You hang onto the log book in case you are audited.