Medical Mileage Deduction: Everything You Need To Know [2021 Update]

medical mileage reimbursement qualify irs triplog

What is a mileage deduction? This term essentially relates to mileage reimbursement – the money you are legally entitled to scratch off from your total mileage. Now, there are three main categories of mileage deductions: business, medical and moving, and charitable. In this article, we’re going to cover everything you need to know about IRS medical mileage deductions.

Note: If you’re a home healthcare provider or business looking for mileage tracking information, click here.

Medical Mileage Deduction 101

Medical mileage deductions are most often related to your trips to the doctor, medical or dental. Since this category is very broad, the IRS made sure to make a list of deductible medical mileage (which basically means that not every visit to your doctor allows you to scratch off some mileage at the end of the year).

Beginning on Jan. 1, 2021, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car (also vans, pickups, or panel trucks) has been:

  • 56.5 cents per mile driven for business use, down .5 cents from the rate for 2020,
  • 16 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes.
  • 14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations.

GET STARTED TRACKING MILEAGE TODAY WITH TRIPLOG


Deductible medical expenses revolve around health insurance that is usually not covered by the employer, including both uncovered premiums and unreimbursed premiums. These costs include diagnosis, treatments, prevention, cure, or mitigation according to IRS standards.

Taking all this into account, the amount you would be able to save from medical mileage deduction is still pretty vast. That is the reason why the IRS subjected this category to adjusted gross income limitation (AGI).

Adjusted Income Limitation Rates

In essence, the expenses covered by the medical mileage deduction can’t exceed a certain point. This “point” is basically the percentage of your adjusted gross income.

Depending on age as the most relevant factor, there are two rates and two categories of adjusted income limitations.

The first category relates to employed people who are not older than 65 years, and the threshold stands at 7.5%. The other category includes those older than 65, where the threshold stands at 10%.

How To Count Your Qualified Miles

To count your qualified miles (miles qualified for the medical mileage deduction), you only need to subtract them from the ones accumulated on the entire trip.

The total miles you accumulate over a year’s period of time represent your total mileage. Even if you subtract the “medical” or “qualified” miles from the overall trip, the total mileage still accumulates over time, which basically means that one doesn’t cross off the other.

There’s another very important thing you need to be aware of. Your medical mileage accumulates via other means as well – it “stacks up” as you visit diagnostic centers, when you go to therapy sessions, and whenever you go to get (or even renew) your prescription.

track medical mileage reimbursement triplog

There are several exceptions to these rules. For instance, you are not allowed to get a medical mileage deduction for trips that revolve around the improvement of your general health. For example, if you are feeling totally fine and wish to make a trip to your doctor in order to get some vitamin shots, this does not accumulate your deductible medical mileage.

You are also not allowed to include the cost of miles you’ve accumulated with the intention of arranging a therapy or a regular check-up unless you’ve previously scheduled it in any way (vocally, via e-mail, or phone). The logic behind such a rule is rather simple – it’s very hard to prove the intention, hence the law forbids it.

On the other hand, you are in fact allowed to include the expense you have paid for yourself, or for your spouse. However, in the latter case, another string of rules apply. You can only include and benefit from the deductible medical mileage of the expenses you’ve paid for your spouse if the person in question was your spouse during the time such services took place.

How To Avoid Unnecessary Problems Related To the Qualified Miles

Most people nowadays multitask. Taking a trip to the doctor, to the workplace, and to the store is usually executed in a single run. That’s the first mistake you’ll be making if you want to count your qualified miles manually (without using an application).

In essence, the calculation is relatively simple – every trip to the doctor adds up to your medical mileage. Every trip to the workplace adds up to your business mileage. Every other kind of trip adds to your total mileage, but not to your deductible mileage.

In order to keep your records as clean as possible (and to reduce the amount of work you need to put into the process), you have two options at your disposal. Either start taking metros and busses for your casual trips, or start using a mileage tracking application. There are numerous mileage trackers, each offering a different set of benefits at a different cost. TripLog is, according to many professionals from various industries (lawyers, real estate agents, realtors, and such), one of the cheapest and most cost-effective full-featured mileage tracking applications on the market.


GET STARTED TODAY WITH TRIPLOG’S MILEAGE TRACKER


Transportation Costs and Medical Mileage Deduction

There are numerous other things you can add to the list of your deductible medical mileage, most of which revolve around personal transport to the medical facility. Keep in mind that the following list does not even remotely apply to your medical mileage if the medical care you were receiving wasn’t of vital importance (life-threatening risks and beyond):

  • Taxi, plane, bus, and train tickets
  • Ambulance transportation services
  • Vehicle tickets and expenses for a parent who is obligated to go with a child
  • Vehicle tickets and expenses for a nurse and/or any other medical personnel that is legally allowed to give treatments

Medical Driving and Medical Mileage Deduction

We’ve mentioned the AGI rate, but the medical mileage deduction rate is something completely different. You are entitled to 16 cents/mile for medical or moving purposes. The rate went down by 4 cents from last year.

Final Words

Medical mileage deductions are not to be ignored. These do stack up and you could make significant savings annually. The only real problem is figuring out what you can and can’t do, and which miles you can and can’t deduct since the list is huge. Keep track of every mile you’ve driven, and keep a watchful eye for any updates from the IRS, and you should be good to go.

Sign up to get TripLog's latest blog posts directly in your inbox!

Reducing Work Burnout in the Home Healthcare Industry

reducing employee burnout is crucial to improving employee relations and retaining employees in the home healthcare industry

An Unprecedented Year of Challenges

2020 was the year of work burnout across all industries. From grocery store employees to accountants, nearly everyone felt the effects of this year full of challenges. And healthcare employees understandably took the biggest hit.

A usually resilient crowd, healthcare workers faced an unusually demanding period in the medical field, leading to emotional and physical exhaustion in some. They had to juggle the stress of increased patient loads, reduced medical supplies, science-deniers, personal lives, and the constant maneuvering to be close, but not too close to patients. For home healthcare employees, entering a patient’s home where an employees’ health risk is increased adds an extra layer of stress to an already trying industry.

High Turnover Rates

It’s no surprise home healthcare employees want to quit. According to a 2020 report by the Hospital & Healthcare Compensation Service, the turnover rate for all home healthcare employees in the US was 22.18%. Home health care aids had the highest turnover rate of all US home healthcare positions at 36.53%. This clear lack of job satisfaction may point toward systemic issues affecting a wide range of companies and employees.

The High Costs of Losing Employees

Employee training and development takes a lot of resources and relationship-building. Losing employees is not only costly to companies in wasted labor hours for training, but in the home healthcare industry, it contributes to reduced quality of service for clients who expect the same, trusted individual to enter their home every time to administer their care. As new faces are constantly flowing in and out of the company, the ability to trust employees to provide quality service and to accurately report their hours, location, and mileage significantly decreases.

overworked doctor covid 19

What is Burnout?

Employees are human, and humans can get mentally and physically exhausted when they feel a lack of reward, control, clarity, or support. According to Mayo Clinic, possible causes of work burnout could include a lack of influence over decisions that affect the job, unclear job expectations, dysfunctional workplace dynamics, lack of social support, work-life imbalance, and more. This emotional or physical exhaustion has a real effect on employees’ job performance and personal lives and can have real consequences for companies with employees suffering from it.

Symptoms and Effects of Work Burnout

Individuals experiencing burnout may feel irritable, cynical, a lack of energy and/or motivation, difficulty concentrating, disillusionment or dissatisfaction, and more. Employees experiencing job burnout may feel exhausted, ineffective, and disconnected from work. This can reduce the quality of work, bring down team morale, affect employees’ personal lives, and cause employees to leave positions entirely. These demanding times are a real power drain to many people’s psyche, so action needs to be taken to keep employees satisfied.

Preventing Employee Burnout by Providing Tools & Support

For home care businesses and organizations, providing the necessary tools and support for the position is essential to make employees feel empowered and less stressed on the job. Plus, the following tips apply to any company or team, regardless of industry.

Communicate

Communication is probably one of the biggest factors to the success of a company, or any team for that matter. Clear communication is essential to making sure everyone knows what’s expected of them, to build stronger teams, and to avoid toxic work environments. Providing an environment welcome to feedback, gratitude, and constructive criticism is crucial to preserving a supportive company culture. Employees need recognition for good work, recommendations when work hasn’t been optimal, and the ability to provide feedback to their superiors to keep everything running smoothly.

It may be time to provide employee get-togethers, clearly encourage feedback and frequent check-ins with supervisors, or even update your messaging system to make sure everyone is getting the news and can connect with the appropriate people. Your employees will be happier,  more informed, and feel like their voices are heard within the company. And your management will get to know more of the problems within the company and hopefully be able to address them.

tired doctor covid 19

Prepare New Employees For the Job

Expectations vs reality when entering any new profession can be a shock. Employees that enter the job with over idealistic expectations are destined to be disappointed by the reality. To start off on the right foot, introduce employees to the positives and negatives of the job early on to prepare them for the stresses they’re likely to encounter. This method also quickly weeds out the candidates that aren’t fit for the job.

Provide Room for Career Advancement

Having no room for advancement is a huge killer for morale. No one wants their life to stagnate. If employees have no chance of promotion, job improvement, or increased salary, they tend to be dissatisfied and leave the position for something with more chance of career advancement. If you can’t provide a better position, try to provide resources for employees to help them build their career skills.

Update Your Tools

Many employers are still using outdated practices or obsolete tools. For instance, using spreadsheets or unfortunately, expecting employees to scribble their mileage tracking on a piece of paper to report to their supervisors at a later date. This only adds to the burden of a traveling healthcare worker’s schedule and worries about being adequately reimbursed for travel expenses. Not to mention, this adds more labor hours for the employee down the line who has to combine all the data. Supervisors also have to trust their employees to accurately track and report this data, a difficult task when the turnover rate in the home healthcare industry is so high. Updating your archaic tools to more modern solutions may be necessary to make employees at every level feel less overextended and more in control of their job.

The Future of Home Healthcare

We’re not done yet, folks. Once current conditions settle down and the world can return to some form of normalcy, a new threat to the system is still emerging. A silver tsunami is hitting the United States with a force we’ve never seen before. By the year 2030, adults 65+ will make up about 21% of our population (up from 15% now). And according to AARP, more seniors want to age at home than ever before, leading to an even greater need for caregivers, nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists, and other home healthcare professionals.

If healthcare companies want to retain employees, they should aim to improve all aspects of the job experience. Happy employees contribute to a better functioning company, improved service to customers, and hopefully, more return on investment.

A Tool for a Growing Industry Moving into the Modern Age

The home healthcare industry will be growing for the foreseeable future, and more employees means companies need to simplify, streamline, and consider the needs of their employees and customers. Triplog Mileage is aiding this industry by offering extensive services to help healthcare professionals accurately track mileage, travel expenses, reimbursement, and tax compliance.

Why Small Businesses are Vulnerable If Not Properly Tracking Mileage

TripLog Mileage Tracking app blog for Small Business

Expense tracking is one of the most important keys for each and every business. Business expenses can easily get out of hand and eat into valuable profits. One can easily make use of a variety of ways to keep track of mileage for business expenses that ensure good financial footing.

One practice is segregating business and personal expenses for easier reporting. You can also make use of another way that is to hire an accountant or bookkeeper to track expenses and revenue.

One more practice is to accurately track your business mileage expenses. Even if there are various expenses that are tracked by businesses, mileage is one important area that is often overlooked by companies. You can see how much not tracking mileage is costing you using this simple reimbursement and savings calculator by TripLog, one of the best mileage tracker apps for small businesses.

Lost Revenue

Only tracking mileage expenses is not enough. What’s needed is the proper method of tracking mileage expenses and submitting them via a reliable platform. According to a recent survey conducted by Chrome River, an invoice and expense automation solution provider, U.S. businesses lose more than $2.8 billion due to expense fraud each year.

The research indicates that more than 94% of employees submitting expense claims do so honestly. For those who admit to not being completely honest, there is as much as $2,448, on average, in fraudulent expenses submitted each year.

It’s easy for staff to fudge the numbers when submitting expense reports for some activity, particularly for items such as mileage. Regardless of who submits the inflated expenses and the amount that’s in error, those costs add up. Getting a better hold of mileage expenses can mean the difference between a healthy balance sheet and edging closer to financial calamity.

Lost Productivity

Not only is fraud an enemy of small businesses, but also loss in productivity. Many traveling employees keep track of their mileage by hand. Hours are spent every year manually checking distance and odometer readings. While companies want employees to be honest and accurate, it can be very time-consuming.

triplog mileage expense tracking for small medium businesses

The TripLog calculator can illustrate exactly how much productivity employees lose in labor alone. This often results in valuable time managing expenses rather than networking, calling on prospects and closing sales.  Each year, small business employees can spend scores of hours keeping track of expense receipts and doing paperwork rather than bringing in revenue for the company.

Missing Out On IRS Deductions

Besides losing money due to fraud and inefficiency, many small businesses are not taking advantage of IRS deductions designed to reduce a business’s tax exposure. To set up a mileage reimbursement agreement for staff, businesses should incorporate an accountable plan.

This allows businesses of any size to align with the IRS regulations that ease the submission of mileage expenses. If not in place, businesses could be leaving excess revenue on the table. Either the money given to employees will be viewed as compensation, in which it is subject to tax, or as reimbursement, which is not taxable. Unless the business adheres to corporate tax rules, it could be missing out on significant deductions and positive additions to its bottom line.

Tracking Mileage Expenses Efficiently

Small businesses can track their mileage expenses and take advantage of necessary tax deductions. They can do so more efficiently by using software that makes the process accurate and automatic.

There are several benefits to using software designed to track mileage expenses. First, the right kind of mileage software will track mileage down to the last mile. No more fudging on numbers to inflate the expense report. A good mileage tracking solution, such as TripLog, provides OCR-enabled mileage tracking.

Such a solution takes a photograph of the odometer as well as a snapshot of the gas receipt and easy submission into the expense report. Furthermore, solutions such as TripLog can suggest trip mapping for the shortest route as well as help businesses track where the employee is during their business journey.

Expenses are an inevitability of any business, regardless of size. Companies should provide the necessary tools to help employees track and submit mileage-related expenses. Doing this will help the company save money and use its resources more efficiently. Besides, companies can curtail the occurrences of fraud and contribute more to the bottom line.

How To Set Up Mileage Reimbursement For Your Company

mileage reimbursement plan triplog app blog

Most of the time, companies fighting for a competitive edge in the marketplace will face some obstacles. These obstacles or challenges may include finding the right marketing message, hiring the right people, and/or keeping business expenses down. One of the most particular and important areas are the mileage tracking expenses that have been associated with operating an organization. Companies need to take every opportunity to decrease their tax exposure through reimbursements for mileage and reduce the cost of doing business.

Why Is a Mileage Reimbursement Plan Necessary For Your Company?

Whether employees travel across town to pick up office supplies or to the next state to make a client visit, it is mandatory to keep track of the reimbursement of mileage expenses. The primary reason for doing this is two-fold for the organization. First, it helps in attracting the top talent by ensuring the company will make good on any company-related expenses that are incurred by the employee. Second, it allows the company to reduce its tax exposure by identifying valid business expenses that it can write off.

Implementing a Mileage Reimbursement Plan

Implementing a mileage reimbursement program corporate-wide is necessary in all cases where employees incur some business expenses like mileage expenses on behalf of the company. To take advantage of the benefits of implementing such a program, a company must ensure certain things are in place to meet IRS requirements. An accountable plan is one such necessity. An accountable plan outlines reimbursement and expense allowances for employees. If a company does not have an accountable plan, the IRS will view any expense tracking and reimbursement to employees as wages subject to tax withholding.

When setting up an accountable plan, companies must ensure it meets three specific criteria:

  1. The expense incurred by the employee must be business-related only.
  2. The employee must provide a timely and detailed expense report.
  3. The employee must return any payments that were more than the reimbursement within a reasonable timeframe.

When implementing an arrangement for reimbursing mileage, companies should understand the guidelines set forth by the IRS. For example, there are specific IRS mileage rates that companies may use for reference as the reimbursement rate for their plan. For 2019, that rate is 58 cents per mile for business miles driven. Also, miles driven for medical or moving purposes is 20 cents per mile, and miles driven for charitable reasons equates to 14 cents per mile.

track company mileage easy

The Employee’s Mileage Tracking Responsibility

Once an employer implements a mileage plan, it is necessary for the employees to maintain records of business mileage and submit them at regular intervals. Employees must also be mindful that any mileage mentioned must be relevant in conducting business for the company. That can take the form of visiting clients, shopping for office supplies, making bank deposits for business, or driving to a conference.

Activities that are not associated with business include commuting to and from a normal work location. Traveling to a temporary job site away from a regular work location is reimbursable.

Reimbursement vs Allowance

As we know that every business is different, one size may not fit all. It’s worth pointing out the major differences in reimbursing employees for realized mileage expenses vs providing an allowance.

When companies provide an allowance, employees receive their funds beforehand and can use it for travel without having to wait. This method is often associated with fraud and unintentional inaccuracies. Requiring employees to submit mileage expense reports can reduce the instances of fraud and inaccuracy, but it increases the paperwork. For many companies, for reducing fraud and keeping a tighter rein on expenses, it is a more attractive option. Choosing mileage reimbursement has its disadvantages, but companies can leverage technology that automates the entire process.

Enterprise Solution Solves Company Reimbursement Issues

Effective enterprise tracking of mileage and reimbursement solutions, such as TripLog, can cut the time and effort needed to put in place a mileage reimbursement plan. TripLog is one of the best mileage tracking mobile apps and cloud solutions that ensures accuracy, automation, ease of use, and transparency.

TripLog provides a smart mileage solution not only to the small and midsized companies, but also to larger enterprise organizations.

TripLog’s intuitive dashboard for enterprise administrators can manage approvals, supervisors, mileage, and more. With our enterprise solution, companies can easily set up their accountable plan and mileage reimbursement policy via the online dashboard. In turn, employees can make use of smartphone GPS mileage tracker apps and begin automating their mileage tracking and submission activities at their end.

company needs mileage reimbursement

For those employees who are not too tech-savvy, TripLog’s easy-to-use app allows for many set-and-forget auto start options. This allows for simplified use and mileage submissions right from the app. More features in the TripLog app include:

Google Maps Distance – facilitates the use of Google Maps’ point-to-point distance reducing overreporting.

Address Book – keeps better track of many visits for the same customer. It also allows for address sharing as well as the date and duration tracking of each visit.

HIPAA Compliance – for healthcare organizations it encrypts protected health information (PHI) and identifiable information (PII) in a secure environment.

Data Privacy – allows employees to hide personal trips from manager view and hide trips until ready for submission.

Job Performance Monitoring – enables job site time tracking reports, providing insight on time spent on each job.

Real-time Location Monitoring – helps companies keep track of where drivers are at a given moment, including a map view of daily or weekly travel routes.

OCR Capability – simplifies expense tracking and submission by taking a photo of receipts or odometer readings – right from the dashboard. The OCR technology converts the image into data that is reviewable and ready to submit, saving valuable time by avoiding manual input.

There are more ways companies benefit from using the TripLog business mileage tracking app. TripLog makes it easy for companies to create and put in place an accountable plan. Companies realize greater accuracy and transparency. Complete and total control via the comprehensive dashboard allows company administrators to tailor mileage reimbursement details whenever IRS requirements or company policies change.

TripLog provides companies one of the most competitive advantages by helping them to make mileage tracking a more efficient, manageable, and transparent process.


Sign up to get TripLog's latest blog posts directly in your inbox!

10 Useful Tips on How to Get Better Gas Mileage

better gas mileage truck

With the current gas prices trending radically upwards daily, it’s likely that truck drivers and owner-operators are looking for ways to improve their gas mileage. There are many ways of improving gas mileage some involving only little tweaks in your day-to-day to big changes in your truck or the way you do business. In today’s blog post that is all about How to Get Better Gas Mileage, we want to highlight some of the tweaks that are actionable as soon as you’re done reading this post.

Fill Your Truck With The Right Gas

As a trucker, you need to be attentive to details when it comes to reading your truck’s owner manual. With this, you’ll be able to discover the type of gas specifically recommended by your truck’s manufacturer for your truck. A good brand of gas is perfect specifically the ones with detergent additives. These types of gas help to keep the entire system clean. However, there is no need for purchasing a more costly premium if the automaker has recommended the regular gas.

Improve Your Aerodynamics

Installing a bed cover on your truck can significantly help with aerodynamics. Consistent airflow over the front and off the back of the truck could help reduce drag, which can result in reduced consumption of gas. While storing items on the roof may be handy, filling the roof with goods could create another source of drag, and this could eventually result in poor gas mileage. Unless there is a need for you to haul something from one place to another, it is recommended to keep your roof clear. This will significantly help in improving gas mileage.

Avoid Using the Air Conditioner Too Often

Usually, the entire air conditioning system tends to make your truck consume more gas. However, it is advisable to try the vents instead of the air conditioning system. This will significantly improve the gas mileage of your truck. You also need to take specific measures that will reduce the load of the Air Conditioning system of your truck. You can decide to park under a shade during frequent stopovers. If you’ll be back right away, you can leave the sunroof or window slightly cracked. If you are going far away, you can shut the windows to prepare against rain showers.


GET STARTED TODAY WITH TRIPLOG


driving-get-better-truck-gas-mileage

Keep Maintenance Up to Date

If your truck is properly tuned and running as it should, there is a high probability that you’ll consume less gas. An essential aspect of your truck’s maintenance is the monitoring of your tires. Ensure that the tires of your trucks are inflated as recommended by the manufacturers in the owner’s manual. If you don’t know, moderate inflation of tires creates drag, and that can reduce your gas mileage. Another essential aspect of your truck’s maintenance is the wheel alignment. If your wheels aren’t properly aligned, you won’t get optimum gas mileage.

Watch Your Driving Habits, Improve Your Gas Mileage

Frequent up and down acceleration, as well as regular application of brakes, will increase the rate of fuel consumption. If you want to maintain a constant speed on the highway, you need to make good use of your cruise control. Apart from that, you also need to keep steady during your starts and stops. In general, you need to slow down a little if you can. This is because trucks will consume more gas when you drive at a higher speed, compared to driving at lower speeds due to aerodynamic drag.

Inspect Your Engine’s Fan

Typically, your truck’s engine fan will run at least 5% of the time the engine is in use. However, it tends to run much more frequently when there is a problem with the engine. This also affects fuel efficiency and can possibly contribute to poor gas mileage. While the fan runs continuously, some of the horsepowers from the truck is going towards operating the fan.

Avoid Over Filling Your Gas Tank

Whenever gas is heated, it could begin to expand. This implies that once you fill your truck with excess gas, there is a high tendency that the expanded tank will lead to overflow and eventually will waste fuel. So, resist overfilling your tank.

Reduce Idle Time

Whenever you have a stop, and you leave your truck to keep running unnecessarily, there is a high probability that gas is being wasted. Of course, it may seem impractical turning it off and on at every minor traffic jam, but you need to avoid letting it run for extended periods and whenever it may be unnecessary. For instance, if you had a stop at a particular location and you won’t be leaving for another 30 minutes, you should turn it off. This will significantly help in improving your gas mileage.

driving-improve-truck-gas-mileage

Reduce Excess Weight

If you really want to improve your gas mileage, you need to remove unnecessary items on your truck. Chances are, you’re carrying thousands of pounds worth of items in your truck on a weekly basis. These items contribute to the total weight of your truck. As a result of this, it increases the amount of gas consumption. Try to reduce the loads to the bare minimum in order to improve your truck’s efficiency.

Route/Trip planning

When you’re on the job, it might be a time-consuming and a stressful effort to plan your routes in advance. But doing so can improve your gas mileage by helping you plan for routes that avoid congested, high traffic areas. This can ensure a smooth ride without stopping and accelerating too often that can be damaging for your mileage.  

There are many tools out there that can help you save time in this process. But a quick plugin for TripLog is appropriate. Not only does it automatically track your miles, sends you regular maintenance reminders, and records all your expenses for IFTA tax reporting, it can also help you plan the optimum route for your trip.

The Bottom Line

Improving your gas mileage as a trucker requires minimal effort on your part. However, following the earlier discussed tips on How to Get Better Gas Mileage could definitely save you some dollars. All of the tips are actionable today so what are you waiting for go ahead and make these tweaks today to improve your fuel economy and save some of your hard-earned money.

TripLog Blog #truckingbusiness series

Watch out for our future blog posts in the #truckingbusiness series where we will dive into other topics such as tax deductions/benefits, per diem rates in 2019, IFTA fuel tax reporting, ELD mandates, and best practices & industry news for successful trucking businesses.

Sign up to get TripLog's latest blog posts directly in your inbox!