October 30, 2023

Paying Mileage to Employees: A Guide to Employee Mileage Reimbursements

Paying mileage to employees refers to the practice of reimbursing employees for business-related travel expenses incurred using their personal vehicles. This can be done through methods such as per mile reimbursement, flat amount per trip or day, or providing a monthly car allowance. Employers should familiarize themselves with state regulations regarding mileage reimbursement and maintain accurate records to ensure compliance and fair compensation for employees.

How do companies pay for mileage?

There are various methods through which companies can pay for mileage. One common approach is reimbursing employees based on the number of miles driven. In this method, the company sets a predetermined rate per mile and multiplies it by the total number of business miles driven by the employee. For example, if the rate is $0.50 per mile and the employee drove 100 miles for work purposes, they would receive $50 reimbursement.

Another option is to provide a flat amount per trip or per day. In this method, the company determines a fixed amount to be paid regardless of the number of miles driven. For instance, if an employee travels to a client’s location daily, the company may decide to reimburse $10 per day, regardless of whether they drove 20 miles or 50 miles.

Some companies may opt for a monthly car allowance instead of reimbursing individual trips. With a car allowance, employees receive a set amount each month to cover all transportation expenses, including mileage. It provides flexibility for employees as they can utilize the funds as needed, whether for mileage, gas, or other related costs.


Is Mileage Reimbursement Taxable?

Mileage reimbursement, when properly handled, is usually considered a non-taxable payment. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) allows employers to reimburse employees for business-related mileage expenses without considering it as taxable income. However, there are some conditions and limitations to keep in mind.

If the mileage reimbursement rate exceeds the IRS standard mileage rate, the excess amount is considered taxable income for the employee. For example, if the IRS standard mileage rate is $0.56 per mile, but the employer reimburses at a rate of $0.70 per mile, the additional $0.14 per mile is considered taxable income.

Additionally, if an employee receives a car or vehicle allowance that is not exclusively for mileage reimbursement, the portion of the allowance used for personal use may be taxable. It is important for employers to establish clear policies and documentation processes to differentiate between personal and business-related mileage when providing allowances.

When reimbursing employees for mileage, it is crucial to maintain accurate records and documentation. Employers should require employees to submit mileage logs or expense reports detailing their business-related travel. This documentation serves as supporting evidence in case of an IRS audit or inquiry.

Employers must also be aware of any state-specific regulations regarding taxation of mileage reimbursement. While federal laws generally consider mileage reimbursement as non-taxable, some states may have different rules. Employers should consult with tax professionals or payroll experts to ensure compliance with state tax laws.

Lastly, it is important to note that other forms of transportation-related reimbursements, such as parking fees or tolls, may have different tax implications. These expenses may be subject to different rules or could be fully taxable depending on the circumstances.


What states require mileage reimbursement?

While mileage reimbursement is not mandatory under federal law, some states have specific regulations regarding employee reimbursement for business-related mileage. As of 2021, several states require employers to reimburse employees for necessary business expenses, including mileage:

1. California:

Employers must reimburse employees for all necessary business expenses, including mileage, at a rate set by the state.

2. Massachusetts:

Employers must reimburse employees for all reasonable and necessary business expenses, including mileage incurred during employment.

3. Illinois:

Employers must reimburse employees for “all necessary expenditures or losses incurred by the employee within the employee’s scope of employment and directly related to the services performed for the employer.”

4. Pennsylvania:

Employers must reimburse employees for all necessary expenses, including mileage, unless the employer has a written reimbursement policy that specifies otherwise.

It is crucial for employers to familiarize themselves with the specific regulations in their state and ensure compliance with any applicable reimbursement requirements.


How to calculate mileage reimbursement?

Calculating mileage reimbursement can be done using various methods. A common approach is to multiply the number of business miles driven by a predetermined rate, which is typically based on the current IRS mileage rate. The IRS updates this rate annually to reflect the average cost of operating a vehicle.

To calculate mileage reimbursement using this method, employers need to follow these steps:

1. Determine the IRS mileage rate:

Visit the IRS website or consult with an accountant to find the current IRS mileage rate. As of 2021, the standard mileage rate is $0.56 per mile.

2. Record business miles driven:

Employees should keep detailed records of their business-related mileage. This includes the date, purpose of travel, starting point, destination, and total miles driven for each trip.

3. Multiply the miles driven by the reimbursement rate:

Once the total business miles are known, multiply them by the reimbursement rate per mile. For example, if an employee drove 200 miles for work and the reimbursement rate is $0.56 per mile, the reimbursement would be $112 (200 miles x $0.56).

It is important to maintain accurate records and receipts to support these calculations and provide transparency to employees.


Sample Mileage Reimbursement Policy

Effective Date: [Date]

Policy Statement:

[Company Name] recognizes employees’ need to travel for business purposes and will provide reimbursement for mileage expenses incurred during authorized business travel. This policy applies to all employees who are required to use their personal vehicles for company-related travel.


All employees who use their personal vehicles for approved business travel are eligible for mileage reimbursement. This policy applies to both salaried and hourly employees.

Reimbursement Rate:

The mileage reimbursement rate will be based on the current IRS standard mileage rate. As of [Date], the standard mileage rate is $0.56 per mile. Any changes to the reimbursement rate will be communicated and updated as necessary.

Mileage Calculation and Reporting:

Employees must accurately record their business-related mileage using an approved mileage log or expense reporting system. The following information must be included for each trip:

  1. Date of travel
  2. Purpose of the trip
  3. Starting location/address
  4. Destination location/address
  5. Total miles driven

Employees must submit their mileage logs or expense reports on a regular basis, as defined by the company’s expense reporting timelines. Late submissions may result in delayed reimbursement.

How to Submit Mileage Reimbursement Claims:

Employees must complete the designated mileage reimbursement form, which can be obtained from the HR or Finance department or through the company’s online expense reporting system. The form should include the following information:

  1. Employee name
  2. Employee ID/number
  3. Department or cost center
  4. Date of travel
  5. Starting location/address
  6. Destination location/address
  7. Total miles driven
  8. Calculated reimbursement amount (number of miles multiplied by the applicable reimbursement rate)

Employees must attach the completed mileage reimbursement form, along with supporting documentation such as mileage logs, to their expense report or submit it directly to the designated department/person for processing.

Processing and Reimbursement:

Mileage reimbursement claims will be processed according to the company’s standard expense reimbursement procedures. Reimbursements will be paid through the regular payroll cycle or by the designated accounts payable department.

Tax Implications:

Mileage reimbursements are generally considered non-taxable income when they follow the IRS standard mileage rate or a lower rate. However, any excess reimbursement above the standard rate may be subject to taxes. Employees are responsible for understanding and complying with any applicable tax laws in their jurisdiction.

Policy Compliance and Enforcement:

Employees must comply with this policy’s guidelines and accurately report their business-related mileage. Any falsification or fraudulent reporting of mileage expenses may result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment.

Policy Review:

This mileage reimbursement policy will be reviewed on an annual basis to ensure its effectiveness and compliance with applicable laws and regulations. Any necessary updates or revisions will be communicated to employees accordingly.

By signing below, I acknowledge that I have read and understood the mileage reimbursement policy of [Company Name] and agree to comply with its guidelines.


[Employee Name]



Note: This sample policy is intended as a general guide and should be tailored to meet your company’s specific needs. It is always recommended to seek legal advice to ensure compliance with local laws and regulations.


Paying mileage to employees is a common practice adopted by many companies to cover business-related transportation costs. Employers can choose from different methods such as reimbursing per mile, per trip/day, or providing a monthly car allowance. Additionally, employers must stay informed about state-specific regulations that might require mileage reimbursement. Calculating mileage reimbursement can usually be done by multiplying the number of business miles by an appropriate rate, such as the IRS mileage rate.

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