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The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released the 2019 standard mileage rates. Beginning January 1, 2019, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car (vans, pickups or panel trucks) will be:

  • 58 cents per mile for ministry or business miles driven, up from 54.5 cents for 2018
  • 20 cents per mile driven for medical, up from 18 cents for 2018 
  • 14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations, unchanged from 2018

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act eliminated employee business expenses as an itemized deduction, effective for 2018 through 2025. Therefore, ministers may no longer take a deduction on their federal returns for unreimbursed employment-related use of their autos, light trucks or vans. 

When the church reimburses employees for ministry or business-related car expenses using the standard mileage allowance method for each ministry or business mile, the reimbursement is tax-free if the minister substantiates the time, place, mileage and purpose of the employment-connected ministry or business travel. 

The accountable reimbursement policy should include the following, but not limited to: office supplies, religious material, subscriptions and paperbacks, meals, entertainment, seminars, dues and memberships, library, educational expenses, camps, legal and professional services, gifts, auto, travel, etc. Any expenses incurred on behalf of the ministry to the church will qualify as tax-free reimbursement.

For more details, click here to view the mileage rate history.

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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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