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Last Updated: 9/5/2017

Volunteer Mileage Reimbursement

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Volunteer drivers may exclude reimbursement payments for mileage from their income only to the extent they would be able to deduct the expense as a charitable contribution.

Volunteers may exclude one of the following amounts for each mile driven (including unreimbursed miles):

  • Optional, standard mileage rate for charitable activities of 14 cents per mile
  • Actual vehicle expenses, such as gas and oil, that are directly related to the charitable purpose

If you are a volunteer driver

If you receive mileage reimbursement for charitable activities, you must include the payments on your income tax return:

  • Report mileage reimbursements above the exclusion amount as income.
  • Report any other taxable payments as income.

Note: You should receive a federal Form 1099 from any organization that pays you $600 or more during the tax year. You must report all payments even if you do not receive a Form 1099.
 

Example

You had the following volunteer expenses and miles during the tax year:

​  Miles Driven for the charitable activity

1,100

​  ​Reimbursable miles at standard IRS mileage rate for business (53.5 cents)

1,000

​  Reimbursement (1,000 miles X 53.5 cents)

 $535

​  ​Actual Vehicle Expenses (such as gas and oil) for 1,100 miles

 $100

​  ​Vehicle Expenses based on standard mileage rate for charitable activities (1,100 miles X 14 cents)

 $154

In this example, you:

  • May exclude $154 (greater of the standard mileage rate or $100 of actual costs).
  • Must report $381 as income on your tax return ($535 reimbursement less $154 of volunteer mileage expense).

If you reimburse a volunteer driver

Can I pay them any amount for mileage?

You can reimburse for mileage at any amount.  The volunteer may owe tax if the reimbursement rate is greater than 14 cents per mile.  
 

Do I need to issue a 1099-MISC to the volunteer driver?

If reimbursing at 14 cents per mile, you do not need to issue a 1099-MISC to the volunteer. If reimbursing more than 14 cents per mile, you must issue a 1099-MISC to each person you paid $600 or more during the calendar year. Volunteers who you paid less than $600 do not need a 1099-MISC.
 

Do I need to classify them as an employee?

There are many factors taken into consideration when determining if someone is an employee. See Classifying a Worker for more information.