Beginning on Jan. 1, 2017, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car, van, pickup or panel truck will be:
If a church or religious organization pays a mileage allowance at a rate that is less than or equal to the federal standard rate, the amount of the expense is deemed substantiated. There are no income or employment tax consequences to the reimbursed individual provided that the employee substantiates the time, place and business purposes of the automobile mileage for which reimbursement is sought.
If a church or religious organization reimburses automobile mileage at a rate exceeding the standard mileage rate, the excess is treated as paid under a non-accountable plan. This means that the excess is includible in the individual’s income and is subject to the withholding and payment of income and employment taxes, if applicable.
In addition, any mileage reimbursement that is paid without requiring the individual to substantiate the time, place and business purposes of each trip is included in the individual’s income, regardless of the rate of reimbursement.
The Conference Commission on Equitable Compensation directs that the mileage rate established by the Internal Revenue Service is the amount used by the local church or charge in reimbursing its clergy for church-related travel.
The General Council on Finance and Administration (GCFA) has prepared a question and answer document addressing several issues that arise in the local church when reimbursing transportation expenses for clergy and staff. Visit www.gcfa.org/gcfa/tax-packet and view Local Transportation Expenses Q & As under resources.
The Great Plains Conference is not engaged in rendering tax, legal or other professional services. The services of a competent professional person should be sought for legal advice, tax advice or other expert services.