Should I break out vehicle expenses, or just use the standard mileage deduction on my schedule C? - Nerdwallet

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Should I break out vehicle expenses, or just use the standard mileage deduction on my schedule C?

October 18, 2013
I have a couple of cars that I use exclusively to deliver items for my small business. On my schedule C, I’m trying to decide whether to report the actual expenses, or just use the standard mileage rate. My sense is that the actual expenses will be more, but I’m not sure I have the right documentation. I kept records for regular...

Advisor answers

Tanina Linden

Tanina Linden

CFP®, MBA

Since you do not specify the number of cars in question, I should point out that the standard mileage rate cannot be used if you have 5 or more vehicles being used for your business at the same time. The standard mileage rate for business is $.565/mile for 2013 and is based on an annual study of the fixed and variable costs of operating an automobile.. For most people, using the standard rate works out to be more advantageous than trying to calculate all the actual auto expenses, including: gas, oil, tires,lubrication, r...

Jon Warner

Jon Warner

MBA, EA

If you use your car in your job or business and you use it only for that purpose, you may deduct its entire cost of operation. However, if you use the car for both business and personal purposes, you may deduct only the cost of its business use. You cannot deduct miles for commuting to work unless you are transporting items for your livelihood such as tools, paint, music equipment, etc.

You can generally figure the amount of your deductible car expense using one of two methods: the standard mileage rate method or the actual expen...

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