How to Calculate Mileage for a Medical Expense Deduction

Tolls and parking fees are also deductible medical expenses.

driving 4 image by Andrzej Borowicz from Fotolia.com

In addition to the obvious costs of medical care, if you have to drive to regular appointments, the costs of transportation can add up quickly. The tax code accounts for this by allowing you to include the costs you incur going to and from treatment. You can keep track of all your specific expenses, like gas and oil, but you can also just track your mileage and use the standard mileage rate.

Tip

Multiply the number of miles you’ve driven during the year for medical reasons by the medical mileage rate to claim the miles as a medical expense.

Medical Deduction Rules

You calculate the amount you can add to your medical expenses deduction for your medical mileage by multiplying your qualifying miles by the mileage rate. The mileage rate changes over time with inflation. Qualifying medical miles include miles driven to obtain medical care, such as trips to the hospital for you or your children. You can also include the costs of any tolls or parking fees on top of the medical miles you drive.

In addition, when your medical miles deduction is combined with your other medical expenses, you can only deduct the portion of your total medical expenses that exceeds 7.5 percent of your adjusted gross income.

Deduction Only for Itemizers

The deduction for medical expenses is only available for you if you itemize your deduction on your tax return. Itemizing isn’t just a little extra paperwork: It means that you have to forgo the standard deduction in exchange for getting to claim a range of additional tax deductions, including medical expenses, charitable deductions and state and local taxes. However, if the amount of those deductions doesn’t exceed your standard deduction, the medical miles deduction won’t help you on your taxes.

2018 Mileage Rate

In 2018, the medical mileage rate increased by one cent to 18 cents per mile. For example, if you drive 2,300 miles for medical purposes, you can add $414 to your medical expenses total for the year. The 2018 standard deduction increased substantially more, however, to almost double the 2017 deductions. In 2018, singles receive a $12,000 standard deduction, heads of household receive an $18,000 deduction, and married couples filing jointly receive a $24,000 deduction, making it harder to justify itemizing for many taxpayers. For example, if you’re filing as a couple and your itemized deductions total $22,000, it’s not worth itemizing.

Claiming Mileage On Taxes 2017

When you file your 2017 taxes, you can include a deduction equal to 17 cents per medical mile driven. The bigger difference, however, is that the standard deduction is much smaller for the 2017 tax return. The standard deduction is $6,350 for single filers, $9,350 if you file as head of household and $12,700 for couples filing jointly.

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

Based in the Kansas City area, Mike specializes in personal finance and business topics. He has been writing since 2009 and has been published by "Quicken," "TurboTax," and "The Motley Fool."


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