Earlier this week, the IRS issued the 2015 optional standard mileage rates used to calculate the costs of operating a vehicle for business, charitable, medical or moving purposes.  Beginning on January 1, 2015, the standard mileage rates are as follows:

  • 57.5 cents per mile for business miles driven, up from 56 cents in 2014;
  • 23 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes, down half a cent from 2014; and
  • 14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations.

Under California Labor Code section 2802, California employers are required to reimburse employees for reasonable expenses necessarily incurred in the performance of their job duties.  This includes expenses associated with the use of their personal vehicles for business purposes.  Most employers use the standard mileage rate to satisfy their obligation to reimburse employees for expenses associated with using their personal vehicles for business travel.  Although employers are not required to use the IRS optional standard mileage rate, and can instead try to calculate an employee's "actual" expense associated with personal vehicle use (which includes more than just the cost of gas, but also the cost of wear and tear, etc.), the latter method carries risk of being challenged for not providing adequate reimbursement.