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Nonprofit Law/reimbursement rate for mileage


is there a form that my non profit can use for mileage reimbursement?

Mileage reimbursement rates generally include the cost not only of gas but other elements. For example, The IRS has published that the federal mileage rate for 2016 is 54 cents.

Nonprofit organizations may reimburse volunteers or other employees up to that rate and not have any of the reimbursement treated as income to the employees.

The IRS explains in their publication "Fringe Benefit Guide"  at on page 87. "A volunteer
is an employee under common law if an entity has the right to
direct and control the volunteer's performance, not only as to the
results to be accomplished, but also as to the methods by which the
results are accomplished."

On page 12 we see:
--- Start of Excerpt ---
All of the following are considered employees for purposes of
working condition fringe benefits:  Reg. 1.132-1(b)
 Current employees
 Board of directors of the employer
 Independent contractors
Although not employees for most employment tax purposes,
independent contractors are treated as employees for this purpose
and are therefore eligible to receive nontaxable reimbursements as
working condition fringe benefits.
---End of Excerpt---
On page 47 we see, "Reimbursements for allowable business travel
are excludable from the wages of the employee, if made at or less
than the standard Federal mileage rate. Reg 1.274(g)(2)(iii); Reg.
1.274-5."  Therefore, all volunteers may be given the federal
mileage rate reimbursements without those amounts being taxable to

 If the organization files W-2 for the employee, then "Box 12 of Form W-2 with code L reports substantiated employee business expense reimbursements. If you do not use this expense, the unused amount would be taxed as wages."

The organization and employee would also need to keep proper receipts.

See page 41 of IRS Publication 535 at starting in the first
column under the heading "Accountable Plans" which the organization
must have.  That section is written for employees but also applies
to volunteers. See the section under "Volunteer Officers/Workers" at
which is written specifically for Exempt Organizations and refers
to that Publication 535.
--Start of Excerpt--
plan under which an employee or volunteer is reimbursed for
expenses or receives an allowance to cover expenses is an
accountable plan only if:

  *  There is a business connection for the expenses;
  *  The employee/volunteer adequately accounts for these
expenses within a reasonable period of time; and
  *   The employee/volunteer returns any amounts of excess
expenses within a reasonable period of time.
--End of Excerpt--

Details follow on from that page 41 of Publication 535 and especially read page 42 under the heading, "Per Diem and Car Allowances"

Harvey Mechanic
Attorney at Law

P.S. This response is intended to be a general statement of law, should not be relied upon as legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. For me to consider your individual situation and how the law applies, I would need to gather more information.

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Harvey Mechanic


I am an attorney and I volunteer time to answer general questions about U.S. Federal income tax issues of nonprofit 501(c)(3) public charities only. Those questions could be about establishing and maintaining legal requirements for such non-profit organizations in the United States, including Internal Revenue service filings and requirements. I will not be working on this free forum to answer questions about Nonprofit's possible unrelated or for-profit businesses or how to fill out forms. This forum is only for general questions about federal tax law, not as the law applies to your specific situation. If you do not make your question public then I will not be spending much of my donated time on answers that would not benefit the public. If you have other questions, please contact me at I will reply from my email. In any case, do not reveal confidential information to me until after I have contracted with you to provide personal legal services. My responses on this forum are intended to be general statements of law, should not be relied upon as legal advice, and do not create an attorney/client relationship. For me to consider your individual situation and how the law applies, I would need to gather extensive information about the situation. To search my previous answers you can do a Google search by "" without the quotes and then add your search terms before hitting enter.


I have been practicing law and especially the law of nonprofit organizations since 1990 when I was admitted to the New York Bar and I have maintained my status with the Bar since that time.


B.S. Columbia University in New York City, 1970

J.D. (Law Degree) Brooklyn Law School, 1990 -- Cum Laude.

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