The IRS issued the 2015 optional standard mileage rates that are used to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business, charitable, medical or moving purposes.

Beginning on Jan. 1, 2015, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car, van, pickup or panel truck will be 57.5 cents per mile for business miles driven, up from 56 cents in 2014.

The rate will be 23 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes, down half a cent from 2014, and 14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations.

The IRS noted that the standard mileage rate for business is based on an annual study of the fixed and variable costs of operating an automobile, including depreciation, insurance, repairs, tires, maintenance, gas and oil. The rate for medical and moving purposes is based on the variable costs, such as gas and oil.

The charitable rate is set by law. Taxpayers always have the option of claiming deductions based on the actual costs of using a vehicle rather than the standard mileage rates, the IRS noted.

A taxpayer may not use the business standard mileage rate for a vehicle after claiming accelerated depreciation, including the Section 179 expense deduction, on that vehicle, the IRS pointed out. Likewise, the standard rate is not available to fleet owners (more than four vehicles used simultaneously). Details on these and other special rules are in Revenue Procedure 2010-51, the instructions to Form 1040 and various online IRS publications including Publication 17, Your Federal Income Tax.

Besides the standard mileage rates, Notice 2014-79, posted Wednesday on IRS.gov, also includes the basis reduction amounts for those choosing the business standard mileage rate, as well as the maximum standard automobile cost   that may be used in computing an allowance under  a fixed and variable rate plan. The rules for using the optional standard mileage rates to calculate the amount of a deductible business, moving, medical, or charitable expense are in Rev. Proc. 2010-51. 

Michael Cohn is the Editor-in-Chief of AccountingToday.com. 

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