Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Claiming Pizza Delivery Mileage On Your 2008 Taxes

Each year I post about how to claim your pizza delivery mileage on your taxes. Last year's post is very detailed and even includes a scanned image of the 1040.

What you need to know:

  1. There are 2 methods: Actual expenses or mileage. Unless you are driving a newer car that you are still making high payments on, it is usually better (and almost always simpler) to use the mileage method.
  2. If you claim expenses, you must also claim your reimbursements.
  3. To claim your expenses, you must itemize your deductions on Schedule A. Unless you have a mortgage and pay a bunch of interest, or make large charitable donations, you are better off claiming the standard deduction.
  4. Even if you itemize, your unreimbursed expenses must be at least 2% of your total income.
Well this year I did not claim my mileage. Due to my hernia surgery in June, my suspension in December for not using a car-topper, and generally working fewer shifts, I drove fewer miles.

My total delivery miles for the year were 3774 (compared to 7629 in 2007). This got me $976 in "unreimbursed employee expenses" on Schedule A, Line 24. However, this is less than 2% of my Adjusted Gross Income, so I did not get to claim this deduction for 2008.

I expect this is a common situation for most pizza delivery drivers, either the mileage was not over 2% of the AGI or, even more commonly, the pizza driver will not itemize deductions on Schedule A and instead will use the Standard Deduction.

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