How to Calculate Mileage for a Medical Expense Deduction

by Emma Watkins

    To claim mileage as a medical expense, you must use your personal car to get to the place of treatment. You are also required to itemize your deductible expenses on IRS Form 1040, Schedule A. To calculate the amount you are entitled to claim, use the standard mileage rate for medical expenses that the IRS establishes for the year of your tax return.

    Step 1

    Maintain a log of the miles you drive for medical reasons during the fiscal year. In addition to writing down the distance, note the date, the address to where you drove and the reason for going there. Include the trips you take for your own health as well as that of a dependent and spouse. If they die during the year, you can still claim the miles you drove while they were alive. The medical reasons that qualify for the mileage deduction make an extensive list, which you can find in IRS Publication 502.

    Step 2

    Total the medical miles you drove after the tax year has ended. Consult the IRS Publication 502 that applies to your tax return’s year for the standard mileage rate. You’ll find it under “Car Expenses.” As an example, in 2011 the standard mileage rate for medical expenses started at 19 cents per mile and rose mid-year to 23.5 cents per mile.

    Step 3

    Multiply the standard mileage rate for medical expenses by the medical miles you drove. Write the total on the designated line in Schedule A, usually line 1, “Medical and dental expenses.”

    Items you will need

    • Calculator

    Tip

    • Always use tax forms and publications that apply to the year of your tax return.

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    About the Author

    Emma Watkins writes on finance, fitness and gardening. Her articles and essays have appeared in "Writer's Digest," "The Writer," "From House to Home," "Big Apple Parent" and other online and print venues. Watkins holds a Master of Arts in psychology.

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