While commuting expenses are excluded specifically from allowable tax deductions by the Internal Revenue Service, the law does make an exception for commuting expenses from your first job to a second job. These expenses are deductible as employee business expenses. With the correct recordkeeping, you may save on your taxes and reward yourself even more for all of your hard work.
Defining Second Job
A second job is a job that you go to after you already have worked at another job for the day. You can deduct expenses related to traveling from the first job to the second job, but not from the second job back to your home again. Also, if you are not working in your primary job that day, you cannot claim a deduction for driving to your second job -- that is regular commuting and is not tax deductible.
Vehicle Use Records
To verify or substantiate your deductions, you must keep records of your vehicle use. A notebook you keep in your car or a smartphone app can be used for this. Record your odometer mileage at the first of the year, and on the last day, to determine your total mileage. Then keep a record of each trip for commuting to your second job, including starting and ending odometer readings, as well as the date and time of the trip. You can keep this record for certain time periods -- for example, the first week of each month -- if the vehicle use during this time frame is representative of your use for the rest of the month.
You can claim a percentage of your expenses for your vehicle related to commuting to a second job. Determine the percentage of second-job-commuting use to all use of the vehicle, using your records. If you drive the vehicle 12,000 miles in a year total, and 1,200 of those miles are for commuting to your second job, you can deduct 10 percent of your actual vehicle expenses. These expenses include gasoline, oil, tires, maintenance, interest on the car loan and depreciation.
As of 2013, you can deduct 56.5 cents from your taxable income for every business mile that you drive commuting to your second job. The standard mileage rate changes from year to year. The standard mileage rate is only applicable if you choose not to deduct your actual expenses related to your vehicle use -- you cannot deduct both. You should calculate your potential deduction using both methods and choose the method that yields the biggest tax deduction.
How to Deduct
You must complete Form 2106, employee business expenses, to claim the deduction for commuting to a second job. You enter the total of your expenses on Schedule A, line 21, as a miscellaneous itemized deduction. To be deductible, all of your miscellaneous itemized deductions must exceed 2 percent of your adjusted gross income. For example, if you have adjusted gross income of $40,000 per year, you can deduct the amount of your miscellaneous itemized deductions that exceed $800 per year. Other examples of employee business expenses include uniforms and special equipment you must purchase, as well as home office expenses in some cases.