MileIQ: Mileage Tracker & Log

MileIQ Inc.

GET — On the App Store


What Is a Medical Mileage Deduction and How to Claim It?

Medical mileage deduction is a form of financial relief for taxpayers who travel for various medical purposes. Mileage-based tax deductions can be claimed for various types of doctor visits, medical procedures, therapy, and even trips to pharmacies. 

The medical mileage rate set for 2024 is 21 cents per mile. You may be eligible for a considerable tax deduction if you frequently travel for medical reasons. 

The Internal Revenue Service has a set of guidelines to determine what is considered medical travel. If you want to claim this deduction. The key requirement is tracking and recording mileage for each trip, including its purpose.

Table of contents

What is a medical mileage deduction?

Medical mileage deduction is a tax relief method set by the Internal Revenue Service to make necessary medical travel less financially impactful for those in need and their families. It’s based on the standard mileage rates set by the IRS annually, along with mileage rates for business, charitable, and moving-related travel. 

Tax deductions for medical travel can significantly help your budget, especially if you travel long distances for doctor’s appointments and hospital visits. However, if you’re in that unfortunate position, you must follow crucial IRS guidelines to get your tax deduction fair and square. 

Eligibility criteria for medical mileage deduction

The general rule for claiming tax deductions for any medical expenses is that their total must surpass 7.5% of your adjusted gross income. Mileage is also included in that rule. It’s a quite significant threshold that makes a significant percentage of people ineligible. The idea behind that is to ensure that only those most financially affected by health issues can claim tax deductions. 

There’s also a set of regulations for the exact types of travel that qualify for deduction. According to the IRS, you can only count trips for appointments and procedures related to necessary medical care, including physical and mental health. 

It means you can safely count the miles for all doctor visits and appointments related to diagnostics and treatment of a specific physical or mental condition. You can also include trips to the pharmacy, but only to purchase prescribed medicine. And lastly, you can claim medical mileage deduction for trips concluded as a parent or a caregiver. 

You can’t claim mileage tax deductions on trips that can’t be considered necessary or aren’t linked to any medical condition. It may include appointments and procedures related to aesthetic medicine and trips to the pharmacy for non-prescribed medication.

Calculation your medical mileage deduction

The medical mileage rate for 2024 is 21 cents per mile. 

Using this rate, you can easily calculate your tax deduction and fill your tax return with an appropriate number. Here’s a simple formula to calculate medical mileage deduction:

Number of eligible miles driven * medical mileage rate ($0.21 in 2024) = tax deduction

For example, let’s say you’ve recorded 500 miles during all your medically purposed trips throughout the year. In that case, you may be eligible for a $105 deduction, as shown in the equation below. 

500 * $0.21 = $105

However, bear in mind that you will only be eligible for tax deduction if your total medical expenses (treatments, therapy, equipment, insurance premiums, etc.), including mileage, are higher than 7.5% of your adjusted gross income. 

In addition to that, remember that the IRS updates standard mileage rates every year, so make sure you’re using the correct rate in your calculations. Using incorrect rates or missing crucial documentation may even lead to an IRS audit. In the best-case scenario, you may receive a smaller tax deduction than you’re entitled to. 

As you can see, understanding and accurately calculating medical mileage deduction can significantly impact your tax savings. Staying up to date with the current rates and keeping precise mileage records can help you save quite a lot of money. 
The IRS offers a standard deduction amount that automatically reduces your taxable income. In some cases, the standard deduction might be higher than the total itemized deductions you could claim, including medical mileage. It's important to compare the standard deduction to your total itemized deductions (including medical mileage) to see which option gives you a bigger tax benefit.

Formula how to calculate medical mileage deduction with example

Documentation and recordkeeping

Accurate documentation and recordkeeping are necessary if you’re considering claiming a tax deduction for medical mileage. The IRS will require you to provide and keep the documents that prove the distance and purpose of your trip. 

A couple of decades ago, physical mileage logs were quite common. Now, you can use a simple spreadsheet or a dedicated app like MileIQ that does most of the work for you. Whichever method you choose, the crucial pieces of information to keep track of are:

  1. Date of each trip.
  2. Purpose (therapy, procedure, pharmacy visit).
  3. The actual mileage (including each trip's starting and ending point).
  4. Proof of medical necessity (doctor’s referral, prescription, test results)
  5. Any other documentation that confirms the medical purpose of a trip. 

Thorough recordkeeping will help you maximize your tax deduction but can also keep you safe in case of an IRS audit. And while we’re on that, it’s also worth noting that you should keep all relevant documentation for up to five years, according to the IRS guidelines.

Download MileIQ to start tracking your drives

Automatic, accurate mileage reports.

How to claim a medical mileage deduction

Assuming you’ve diligently documented all your medical trips throughout the year and calculated the deduction using the current rate, you should be ready to claim the deduction on your tax return. Fill in your medical expenses on line 1 of Schedule A

As you’ll see, the line refers to all medical and dental expenses, so you should add calculated mileage to all the other medically motivated purchases. According to a very extensive list provided by the IRS, you can include expenses such as:

  • prescription medicine
  • insurance premiums
  • wheelchair ramps, elevators, railings, and other home improvements related to disability
  • car modifications related to disability
  • medical equipment (hearing aid, crutches, contact lenses, and much more)
  • guide dog and Braille books (if their cost is higher than regular editions)

The full list is available on the IRS website

Remember to itemize your deductions and list them individually on Schedule A to claim the standard mileage deduction.

Claiming the medical mileage deduction can be complicated, especially if you’re doing it for the first time. However, with a clear understanding of the process and accurate recordkeeping, you can successfully claim this deduction and potentially save a significant amount on your taxes.

Common mistakes to avoid

It’s always nice to get a substantial tax deduction. But there are mistakes to be made that can give you a headache caused by an IRS audit instead. 

Perhaps the most common mistake is including costs or trips that the IRS doesn’t consider deductible. So, if you have any doubts about something, check the list of qualifying expenses. You should also verify that all the trips you’ve included actually had medical purposes. 

Another frequent reason for the IRS audit is missing documentation. If you’ve misplaced a parking slip or a crucial receipt and can’t get a copy, it’s better to omit that cost from your calculations. 

Regardless of the type of error, remember that the IRS can and will ask for proof, so it’s best to double-check everything before submitting a tax return. 

And finally, remember that mileage rates are changed annually. If you’ve written down a calculation formula somewhere last year, you probably shouldn’t use it this time. Over the last 10 years, we haven’t had a situation where medical mileage rates remained unchanged year to year.

Medical rates over the years

Medical Rates Over The Years

The IRS adjusts the standard medical mileage rates to reflect the changing economic conditions. This includes factors like:

  • fuel expenses
  • inflation
  • vehicle upkeep
  • insurance
  • vehicle depreciation

Before calculating your medical mileage, always refer to the current mileage rates. Traditionally, the IRS announces new rates for the year in the middle of December. However, a few times in the last decades, the rates had been updated twice over the course of a year to reflect rapidly changing economic conditions. The most notable example in recent years was the change in 2022 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Medical mileage rates 2023

The medical mileage rate for 2023 was 22 cents per mile. The rate remained consistent with the previous year, which is quite rare. 

Medical mileage rates 2022

The standard medical mileage rate for 2022 was initially 18 cents per mile and then increased to 22 cents per mile from July 1st. 

This significant change was motivated by the global economic conditions caused by the pandemic, particularly by a significant increase in gasoline prices. 

Medical mileage rates 2021

With just 16 cents per mile in 2021, the IRS set the lowest rate for medical travel in the last two decades. The change was motivated by dropping gas prices and economic stability in the previous years. 

Medical mileage rates 2020

The medical mileage rate for 2020 was set at 17 cents per mile. The rate was lower than the rate of the previous year.

Charitable Mileage Deduction

In addition to medical and business mileage, you can also claim charitable mileage deductions for travels related to charitable activities. 

The standard mileage rate for charitable travel is 14 cents per mile, which has remained unchanged for decades. Similar to the medical mileage deduction, it requires maintaining sufficient and complete records to prove charitable activity. However, there are certain differences in what qualifies as deductible mileage.

Tracking mileage as a way to preserve health and wealth

If you find yourself driving long distances for medical reasons, tracking medical mileage can significantly help your budget. We hope this article helped you better understand how to track and claim deductions on your tax return.

As long as you keep your documentation organized and use the correct mileage rate for the year, you should be good to go. 

Can you write off travel expenses for medical purposes?

Yes, you can write off travel expenses for medical purposes, including transportation costs to reach a medical treatment facility and deducting mileage for travel to doctor's offices, pharmacies, and therapy sessions, as well as parking fees and tolls. However, keeping detailed records of these expenses for tax purposes is important.

Still tracking miles by hand?

Use MileIQ to automatically keep a full, IRS friendly mileage log.
Get Started