Message Font: Serif | Sans-Serif
 
No. of Recommendations: 0
I'm doing my taxes now and I want to do the right thing with regard to deducting medical miles.

I've got 599 miles in round trips to doctor's offices and hospitals. But some of those trips involved stopping off someplace on the way home. I know I never stopped anywhere on the way to an appointment because I'm very anal about being on time. And I didn't stop off somewhere on all my return trips. (Obviously I didn't keep track of my stopoffs.)

To arrive at an honest accounting, I figure I can claim 75% of the miles. That's counting all the miles for trips from home to the various docs and half of the return miles. I think I'm erring on the side of caution as DW does most of the shopping and I'm pretty sure I didn't stop somewhere on half of my return trips--but I can't prove it.

75% of miles sound reasonable?

--fleg
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 1
To arrive at an honest accounting, I figure I can claim 75% of the miles. That's counting all the miles for trips from home to the various docs and half of the return miles. I think I'm erring on the side of caution as DW does most of the shopping and I'm pretty sure I didn't stop somewhere on half of my return trips--but I can't prove it.

75% of miles sound reasonable?

===================

yes, but............

Why only half of the return miles? Would you have not gone to the appointment if you didn't have something to do on the way home?

You can deduct the miles to and from the dr. So if the drive to the dr. is 10 miles. Then on the way home you went somewhere making the return trip 15 miles, you can still deduct the 10 mile return trip. You just can't deduct the additional 5 miles for the side trip.

Jean
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
You can deduct the miles to and from the dr. So if the drive to the dr. is 10 miles. Then on the way home you went somewhere making the return trip 15 miles, you can still deduct the 10 mile return trip. You just can't deduct the additional 5 miles for the side trip.

Then I misunderstood. I was thinking in terms of not being able to deduct the costs of a volunteer trip overseas if you have too much fun while you're there. Analogously you wouldn't be able to deduct the total miles for a doc trip if while on it you did something not doc-related. I guess it's not a good analogy.

--fleg
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
Then I misunderstood. I was thinking in terms of not being able to deduct the costs of a volunteer trip overseas if you have too much fun while you're there. Analogously you wouldn't be able to deduct the total miles for a doc trip if while on it you did something not doc-related. I guess it's not a good analogy.

====================

It's the reason for the trip that governs. How much fun you have is beside the point.

If I go to CA to look at a machine to buy for our business I can deduct the entire trip there and back. If while I'm there I decide to go to Disneyland, I can not deduct that portion of the trip, nor the cost of the hotel, meals, etc. for the extra time I spent not looking at the machine.

It doesn't matter if the time at Disneyland was fun or not...I still can't deduct it.

However, if I go on a trip to Disneyland and while I'm down there I decide to look at a machine for our business I can only deduct the portion of the trip that was additional to the Disneyland trip. If it was 50 miles out of my way, I can only deduct the 50 miles, not the whole trip there and back.

The reason for the trip is the governing factor.

Does that make sense?

Jean
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
The reason for the trip is the governing factor.

Does that make sense?


Yes. But if you spend two days looking for that machine for your business and then decide to spend five days going to Disneyland, Knott's Berry Farm, Muscle Beach and the Getty Museum, I bet you're not supposed to deduct your airfare.

I asked a similar question on this board--if I go to Costa Rica for the purpose of tutoring English and spend an equal amount of time visiting friends and the beach, can I deduct the airfare. And the resident knuckledragger said no.

--fleg
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
Yes. But if you spend two days looking for that machine for your business and then decide to spend five days going to Disneyland, Knott's Berry Farm, Muscle Beach and the Getty Museum, I bet you're not supposed to deduct your airfare.

Well, as long as I can prove to the IRS that the purpose of the trip was to look at the machine and I didn't deduct any of the meals or lodging on the extra days, I don't think the air fare would be a problem.

In fact, If I looked at the machine and was negotiating for the price or something so I had to spend 5 days there, I could deduct the lodging and meals but not the mileage to get to and from the "fun" places.

Of course, I'm really thinking about business expenses and you're dealing with charity.

http://www.irs.gov/publications/p526/ar02.html


I asked a similar question on this board--if I go to Costa Rica for the purpose of tutoring English and spend an equal amount of time visiting friends and the beach, can I deduct the airfare. And the resident knuckledragger said no.

First, I haven't seen any knuckledraggers on this board.

Second, posters are taking the time to read your post and to try and understand it. They are then answering your question given the information in Publication 526.

Third, I do remember the post. I would think you would have to decide if you fit example 3 or 4. Also, this is talking about the travel while you are away...not necessarily the cost to get there. I didn't see anything about the travel to get there.

Travel. Generally, you can claim a charitable contribution deduction for travel expenses necessarily incurred while you are away from home performing services for a charitable organization only if there is no significant element of personal pleasure, recreation, or vacation in the travel. This applies whether you pay the expenses directly or indirectly. You are paying the expenses indirectly if you make a payment to the charitable organization and the organization pays for your travel expenses.

The deduction for travel expenses will not be denied simply because you enjoy providing services to the charitable organization. Even if you enjoy the trip, you can take a charitable contribution deduction for your travel expenses if you are on duty in a genuine and substantial sense throughout the trip. However, if you have only nominal duties, or if for significant parts of the trip you do not have any duties, you cannot deduct your travel expenses.

Example 1.

You are a troop leader for a tax-exempt youth group and you help take the group on a camping trip. You are responsible for overseeing the setup of the camp and for providing adult supervision for other activities during the entire trip. You participate in the activities of the group and really enjoy your time with them. You oversee the breaking of camp and you help transport the group home. You can deduct your travel expenses.

Example 2.

You sail from one island to another and spend 8 hours a day counting whales and other forms of marine life. The project is sponsored by a charitable organization. In most circumstances, you cannot deduct your expenses.

Example 3.

You work for several hours each morning on an archaeological dig sponsored by a charitable organization. The rest of the day is free for recreation and sightseeing. You cannot take a charitable contribution deduction even though you work very hard during those few hours.

Example 4.

You spend the entire day attending a charitable organization's regional meeting as a chosen representative. In the evening you go to the theater. You can claim your travel expenses as charitable contributions, but you cannot claim the cost of your evening at the theater.


Oh, are you volunteering after you get there? Is there something "special" about you that the organization needs you to be there to tutor? Like a representative to a conference?

"Conventions. If you are a chosen representative attending a convention of a qualified organization, you can deduct unreimbursed expenses for travel and transportation, including a reasonable amount for meals and lodging, while away from home overnight in connection with the convention. However, see Travel, later.

You cannot deduct personal expenses for sightseeing, fishing parties, theater tickets, or nightclubs. You also cannot deduct travel, meals and lodging, and other expenses for your spouse or children.

You cannot deduct your expenses in attending a church convention if you go only as a member of your church rather than as a chosen representative. You can deduct unreimbursed expenses that are directly connected with giving services for your church during the convention."

I suggest you read Pub 526 and see how it applies to your situation. I can guarantee that the IRS is NOT going to take "some knuckledragger on a message board said" as authoritative.

Jean...knuckledragger.
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
I haven't seen any knuckledraggers on this board.

That wasn't an insult. TMFPMarti self-identifies as a knuckledragger, referring to his career as an IRS enforcer.

Yes, my earlier question was about charitable deductions, not business. I was going to Costa Rica to tutor English for two weeks under the auspices of a non-profit group recognized by the IRS, and spend another two weeks with friends. I had thought that the airfare might be deductible since the purpose of the trip was charitable--I would have not gone without the tutoring. But Phil said no, because too much of the trip was for pleasure, and he is as reliable as just about any source I've ever encountered.

But I'll check Pub 526. I suspect it will be ambiguous as far as this particular situation is concerned, but I'll check anyway.

--fleg
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
OK, here's the relevant part from Pub 526 about that charitable travel to Costa Rica:

Generally you can claim a charitable contribution deduction for travel expenses necessarily incurred while you are away from home performing services for a charitable organization only if there is no significant element of personal pleasure, recreation or vacation in the travel.

Just as I thought--if you have fun, it's not deductible. So if I had gone only for the two weeks of tutoring I might have been able to deduct my airfare. But if the family I stayed with took me sightseeing on the weekend between the two weeks, that might have nullified the deduction. As I said, I thought it might be ambiguous.

Reading Pub 526 jogged my memory--I now recall having looked this up five years ago to check on a 2004 trip I took to Guatemala with a different nonprofit to do some interpreting. The daily hours of bouncing along on terrible back roads in a small truck with no suspension and the earthquake one midnight definitely kept the fun level down on that one.

This year I think I'll engage in some sanctioned whaling activities to qualify for a deduction.

--fleg
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
Generally you can claim a charitable contribution deduction for travel expenses necessarily incurred while you are away from home performing services for a charitable organization only if there is no significant element of personal pleasure, recreation or vacation in the travel.

That is talking about the travel "while you are away from home." It doesn't really address the cost to get there and back. If you tutored all day I would think the mileage on the days you tutored (if you did it all day, and not just mornings) would be deductible, but not the weekend mileage and not the mileage in the additional 2 weeks.

Jean
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
That wasn't an insult. TMFPMarti self-identifies as a knuckledragger, referring to his career as an IRS enforcer.

===========

Ok, then I'm sorry I snapped.

Jean
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
That is talking about the travel "while you are away from home." It doesn't really address the cost to get there and back.

I still find the language ambiguous. "While you are away from home" might start as soon as I pull out of my driveway to go to the airport and last until I pull back into the driveway upon my return. Or it might mean the mileage from where I am staying in the foreign country to where the school is.

I suppose I can take the $740 airfare to Costa Rica as a deduction and set aside some money to pay the tax and interest in case the IRS takes a look and agrees with my original assessment.

--fleg
Print the post Back To Top