One of the biggest perks of being an independent contractor is the ability to deduct certain business-related expenses from your tax responsibility. This includes expenses related to your business travel.
Since Swing substitute teachers are independent contractors rather than direct employees of Swing Education, they are eligible to take full advantage of these business-related write-offs.
The IRS provides two ways for independent contractors to deduct business-related vehicle costs: the Standard Mileage Method and the Actual Expense Method.
In this blog, we’ll explore both methods and share resources to help you track your vehicle-related expenses moving forward.
Standard Mileage Method
The Standard Mileage Method is the simplest way independent contractors can obtain tax relief for business-related vehicle expenses. With the Standard Mileage Method, you won’t have to track each business-related vehicle expense; instead, you can simply track the number of miles you drove for business.
For the 2019 calendar year, the standard mileage rates are as follows (via the IRS website):
- 58 cents per mile driven for business use (up 3.5 cents from the rate for 2018)
- 20 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes (up 2 cents from the rate for 2018)
- 14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations.
So, for example, if you travel 100 miles for business in 2019, you’d be able to take a total mileage deduction of $58 (100 x 58 cents) on your 2019 tax filing.
Actual Expense Method
The Actual Expense Method allows you to deduct the business portion of all of your vehicle expenses over the course of the calendar year. This includes expenses for:
- Car payments/lease payments
- Car insurance
- License and registration
As you might expect, the Actual Expense Method does require a great deal of detailed bookkeeping and tracking. But it might give you a larger deduction than the Standard Mileage Method if you have a lot of vehicle-related expenses.
Standard Mileage vs. Actual Expense
While each independent contractor’s situation will vary, the below chart from our friends at Stride Tax offers a helpful comparison between the two methods.
Mileage Tracking Resources
Our friends at Stride Tax have a free app that you can use to automatically track your mileage. Download it today!
And for a more thorough rundown of deducting business-related travel expenses, check out Stride’s blog on the topic.