Author Topic: FINANCES: gas mileage reimbursment  (Read 4240 times)

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FINANCES: gas mileage reimbursment
« on: Dec 26, 2007, 07:32 pm »
(sorry if this is the wrong thread. wasn't sure where to put it)

Hi everyone! I have a questions about Tax/Gas Mileage Reimbursement. (Those who might do more community theatre work might have knowledge on this)

I was told I could get reimbursed for the miles I've drove this year to work on community theatre shows. How does one go about doing this? Also, do you get reimbursed the mileage both to the theatre AND home, or just to the theatre? If your show traveled, does that count as well? The only thing I know is that for non-profit mileage, it's $.14 back, per site. I just wasn't successful at finding more info about how to file for the mileage, forms, etc.

I realize we might have to go to an accountant to figure this out, but i thought i'd start with you guys.

Hope all is having a nice holiday season!

« Last Edit: Jun 09, 2009, 01:35 am by PSMKay »


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Re: gas mileage reimbursment
« Reply #1 on: Dec 26, 2007, 09:50 pm »
To file for the mileage, you should keep a record of the miles you traveled in a mileage book.  The mileage books ask for dates, travel locations, starting and ending odometer reading.  Then, you add up the total miles traveled and put that down. I've always done this with an tax consultant, because I've found that by doing theatre, I have multiple state taxes to claim, many receipts, mileage, etc. It was more worth it for me to have someone who knows what they're doing get me all the credits he/she could than for me to try on my own.

If you don't know exact dates/odometer reading, if you know the amount of times and how far, it's easy to write in what it would have been with some accuracy. Just guess the dates and the actual reading. As long as the miles are true, it shouldn't be an issue.

I've always understood it to be that you can write on the TO and FROM mileage. 

I've also understood that you can only write off miles that are to and from a location that is NOT your main source of income.

I have more information for taxes (and there's probably a thread here dealing with it in more depth).  Feel free to PM me if you'd like other tips.


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Re: gas mileage reimbursment
« Reply #2 on: Jan 03, 2008, 05:53 pm »
You are asking about a tax write-off, I understand, and not an actual reimbursement from they company, yes?

To do this, first you need to start considering yourself a sole proprietor company: "Jane Smith, Stage Manager". You don't need to acutally incorporate or get an EIN or anything fancy. But you do need to start completing additional tax paperwork: the 1040 Schedule C ( Lines 9 and 44 deal with mileage, and you basically enter your totals and then multiply by $0.485 for your total reimbursement (see 1040-Sch. C instructions: You need to keep your mileage record notebook in case the auditors come knocking one day. When you complete the Schedule C, you also need to account for all your income, and not just expenses you hope to write off, which means that the government is now reaching in your pocket to collect their taxes on your independent contractor gigs. But of course, you were paying on that already, weren't you, even if you didn't fill out the separate Schedule C??  ;) 

While you're itemizing deductions on the Schedule C, you should also start tracking - in writing:
- supplies bought;   
- postage for resumes, etc. mailed out;   
- accountant fees for services related to the completion of this form; and
- insurance and healthcare costs (if you're 100% freelance with no other jobs that provide medical or insurance coverage).

The $0.14 "non-profit mileage" rate has to do with volunteer or charity work, not strictly miles driven in association with work for a non-profit business/theatre. You should check with your accountant, but I have always claimed the $0.485 for business mileage, whether my theatrical employer was a 501(c)(3) or not, and my accountants and laywers have agreed that this was correct. 


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Re: gas mileage reimbursment
« Reply #3 on: Jan 04, 2008, 11:03 am »
Just be claim mileage, you MUST keep a log book, of everything you has to be as detailed as a truck-drivers.

"10:01 am; start at 555 Jones Ave, 10:15 am, arrive Theatre X, total mileage 5.2"

Seriously...if you get audited, this is what the IRS will ask for.

and remember that once you start claiming yourself as a business (I'm a "theatrical professional," since I have 1099s from other work besides stage management, such as choreography, assistant direction, etc.) you have to show that you MAKE money at least once every three years, or they don't count it as a business anymore and you can't make any deductions, but you still have to pay the taxes. =)

Be careful, the goverment doesn't mess around.

Stage managing is getting to do everything your mom told you not to do - read in the dark, sit too close to the TV, and play with the light switches!


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Re: gas mileage reimbursment
« Reply #4 on: Jan 04, 2008, 02:01 pm »
Everyone has already contributed the information that I was going to share.  If you have a day job (primary source of income) and stage manage on the side, then all your stage management commuting is tax deductable, but you have to keep that log book that BalletPSM mentioned.  And it has to be handwritten.  You can't just log it in a spreadsheet when you get to rehearsal.  Learned that the hard way.  And it's better if you log your non-work related driving too, so that your overall mileage adds up if you're audited.  Honestly, it's a big PITA but if you have a lot of mileage, it's worth it.