Commute miles are from your home to your first ministry location and from your last ministry location to your home. Multiple trips you make throughout the day to your home are also considered commuting. Returning to the church from home for an evening meeting (such as a board meeting) would be considered commuting. Driving to church on Sunday would be considered commuting. Commute miles are always personal miles. When you leave the metropolitan area where you live and normally work you are no longer commuting. Miles from your home to a ministry location outside of the area would not be commute miles.

Ministry miles are any miles which you drive from one ministry location to another. Such as from the church to the post office or from the church to visit a church member. Any miles you drive for your ministry that require you leave the metropolitan area where you live and normally work are also ministry miles. Such as making a hospital visit to a member in a hospital which is located out of the area in which most of your church members live. In this case you may begin the trip from your home or any other location in your area.

You should seek to have your church reimburse you for your ministry-related mileage. You can use the standard mileage rate—54.5 cents per mile in 2018—to calculate your reimbursements. Such reimbursements are tax-free to you with adequate accounting for your mileage. 

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Clergy Financial Resources serves as a resource for clients to help analyze the complexity of clergy tax law, church payroll & HR issues. Our professionals are committed to helping clients stay informed about tax news, developments and trends in various specialty areas.

This article is intended to provide readers with guidance in tax matters. The article does not constitute, and should not be treated as professional advice regarding the use of any particular tax technique. Every effort has been made to assure the accuracy of the information. Clergy Financial Resources and the author do not assume responsibility for any individual’s reliance upon the information provided in the article. Readers should independently verify all information before applying it to a particular fact situation, and should independently determine the impact of any particular tax planning technique. If you are seeking legal advice, you are encouraged to consult an attorney.

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