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Business Standard Mileage Rate Increases to 57.5¢ in 2015

The IRS has announced that the business standard mileage rate for transportation expenses paid or incurred beginning January 1, 2015, will be 57.5 cents per mile, up 1½ cents from the 56 cents­per­mile rate in effect during 2014 [Notice 2014­79, released 12­9­14].

The mileage rate may be used to compute the amount to reimburse employees who are using their own cars for business purposes. It may also be used by employers that elect to use the "cents-per-mile" valuation method for purposes of determining the amount that needs to be imputed to an employee's income for personal use of certain company-owned or leased non-luxury vehicles.

In addition, the 2015 standard rate for miles driven for medical or moving purposes will decrease to 23 cents per mile, down from the 23.5 cents-per-mile rate in effect during 2014. Note, however, that the standard mileage rate for operating a passenger car for charitable purposes, which is set by law, will stay at 14 cents per mile in 2015.

Finally, for purposes of computing the allowance under a fixed and variable rate (FAVR) plan, the standard automobile cost may not exceed $28,200 in 2015, unchanged from 2014. A FAVR allowance uses a flat rate or stated schedule that combines periodic fixed and variable rate payments, and it relieves employees of the need to keep a record of their actual expenses.

WARNING – Because of the half cent reduction in the moving expense mileage rate, employers reimbursing employees at the 2014 rate need to be mindful of the rate change. To avoid having to include the extra half cent in employees' income and the accompanying withholding and reporting responsibilities, employers should make sure they change to the 2015 rate for all affected travel on or after January 1, 2015. And remember that moving miles driven in December 2014 that show up on an employee's expense report in 2015 are governed by the rules applicable to the 2014 moving expense mileage rate.

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