Students who are managing both a career and the demands of higher learning are eligible for certain tax deductions based on motor vehicle usage. These deductions take the form of either a standard mileage rate credit based on the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) mileage rate or an actual expense deduction. However, for a student to qualify for this income tax deduction, the course of study must be related to maintaining her current job, salary or company status or maintaining and improving the skills used in her position.
Maintain a mileage log through the tax year. Record an odometer reading at your home, at school and at the office. Also, keep odometer readings during any personal trips.
Record the mileage between your school and workplace as deductible. Whether your education is determined temporary or not, travel from home to school and then to work is only eligible for a tax deduction based on the distance between your school and office. Travel between home and your school is not tax deductible in this situation.
Add up your number of tax deduction eligible miles when preparing your taxes. Also add up all of your mileage for a total reading. Alternatively, subtract your first odometer reading from your last.
Multiply your deductible mileage total by the standard mileage rate. The IRS maintains a web page listing the standard mileage rate for the current year and previous years. For example, in tax year 2013, the standard mileage rate was 56.5 cents per mile.
Determine the percentage of miles driven from school to work as compared to your personal use to calculate actual expenses. For example 5,000 miles from school to work -- out of 10,000 total miles -- is 50 percent of your total mileage.
Add up all of your vehicle related deductions. These include fuel costs, tires, insurance, license plates, oil and other associated costs. Multiply these costs by your total mileage percentage.
Use the Modified Accelerated Cost Recovery System section of IRS Publication 463 to calculation the depreciation deduction for a car you own. Alternatively, use the Inclusion Amount tables to calculate your deduction for a leased vehicle.
Add your actual deduction total to the depreciation or inclusion amount to arrive at a total actual deduction.
Compare your new total to the total you arrived at when applying a standard mileage rate. If this is the first year you have claimed your vehicle, you are able to choose the best deduction. The instructions in Publication 463 outline the future ramifications of this decision should you claim the car again.
Fill out IRS tax Form 2106. It requires the entry of much of the data processed to calculate your potential mileage credits as well as a few additional details about potential reimbursement from your employer.
Transfer the total from the last line on page 1 of Form 2106 to the indicated line on IRS Schedule A to claim your mileage deduction.
All IRS publications are available online.