Beginning in tax year 2018, you must be a reservist, performing artist or Qualifying Government Employee to claim mileage expenses on your return. You may also use the Standard Mileage Rate on your Schedule C, Schedule E, and Schedule F. If you meet this criteria, you may use the Standard Mileage Rate for your vehicle.
To use the Standard Mileage Rate, eligible individuals must choose to use it in the first year the vehicle is available for business use. In later years, you can choose to use either the Standard Mileage Rate (if you qualify) or the Actual Expenses. If you choose to use the Actual Expenses in the first year the vehicle is placed in service, you must continue to use Actual Expenses for the life of the vehicle.
You must also:
- Own or lease the car
- Not operate five or more cars at the same time (fleet operation)
- Not have claimed a depreciation deduction for the vehicle using a method other than straight line
- Not have claimed either the section 179 deduction or bonus depreciation on the vehicle
- Not have claimed actual expenses after 1997 on a leased vehicle
- Not be a rural mail carries who received a 'qualified reimbursement'
Note: If you used the standard mileage rate in the first year of business use and change to the actual expenses method in a later year, you can’t depreciate your car under the MACRS rules. You must use straight line depreciation over the estimated remaining useful life of the car. To figure depreciation under the straight line method, you must reduce your basis in the car (but not below zero) by the rate per mile for all miles for which you used the standard mileage rate.