Guard, Reserve oft overlooked tax deduction

Q: Hi June. In 2010, I trav­eled more than 100 miles to serve part-time on week­ends in the National Guard. When I com­pleted my taxes for 2010 (using Tur­b­o­tax soft­ware), I was told that I could either deduct my mileage or my gas, but not both. In the January/February 2011 edi­tion of Foun­da­tions mag­a­zine, in your arti­cle enti­tled “It’s Tax Time,” you stated that I could deduct all the expenses I incurred from the time I left home until my return. Which one is cor­rect? If the other per­son mis­in­formed me, how do I cor­rect this as I’ve already received my refund? Thank you.

 

–Jeff

 A: Thanks for read­ing that arti­cle. It’s always good to know that folks are pay­ing heed to that advice! In this case, both your tax soft­ware and I are cor­rect. Here’s the deal…you can deduct all unre­im­bursed travel expenses as an adjust­ment to income.  How­ever, “mileage” is not actu­ally an expense. When you cal­cu­late your travel expenses you can use “actual expenses” which would include gas or you can use a stan­dard mileage deduc­tion. This is a gov­ern­ment fig­ure that takes into account the total cost of trav­el­ing via auto­mo­bile. If you were to deduct both gas and use the mileage deduc­tion you would be double-counting your deduc­tion and the IRS frowns upon that. Again, thanks for read­ing the arti­cle, ask­ing a ques­tion oth­ers prob­a­bly had and con­tin­u­ing to serve! Take care.

 

Share |

USAA or its affiliates do not provide tax advice. Taxpayers should seek advice based upon their own particular circumstances from an independent tax advisor. The information is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to substitute for obtaining professional financial advice. Please thoroughly research and seek professional representation before acting on any information you may have found in this article. This article is in no way attempts to provide advice that relates all personal circumstances.

Examples given are hypothetical illustrations and not an indication of the benefits or features of any USAA product. You should seek policies and advice based upon your own particular circumstances. Sample loans are for illustration purposes only and are not a rate quote, pre-approval, or commitment to lend.

Scott Halliwell and JJ Montanaro are CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ practitioners with USAA Financial Planning Services, one of the USAA family of companies. Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. owns the certification marks CFP® and Certified Financial Planner™ in the United States, which it awards to individuals who successfully complete CFP Board's initial and ongoing certification requirements.

USAA Financial Planning Services® refers financial planning services and financial advice provided by USAA Financial Planning Services Insurance Agency, Inc. USAA Financial Planning Services Insurance Agency, Inc. (known as USAA Financial Insurance Company in California, Lic. #0E36312), a registered investment adviser and insurance agency and its wholly owned subsidiary, USAA Financial Advisors, Inc., a registered broker dealer. (known as USAA Financial Insurance Agency in California), a registered investment adviser and insurance agency and its wholly owned subsidiary, USAA Financial Advisors, Inc., a registered broker dealer.

USAA means United Services Automobile Association and its affiliates. Investments provided by USAA Investment Management Company and USAA Financial Advisors Inc., both registered broker dealers. Banking products provided by USAA Federal Savings Bank. Credit cards provided by USAA Savings Bank. Both Banks Member FDIC.