Tuesday, June 17, 2008

NTEU Calls for IRS Mileage Rate Increase

With taxes prices increasing a record rates, the National Treasure Employees Union has called on the IRS to issue a mid year adjustment to the IRS’ 2008 standard mileage rate. I have included the full text of the release below, but if you would like to download it in Word format head over to NTEU.org.

NTEU Leader Seeks Mid-Year Adjustment From IRS in Mileage Reimbursement Rate

Washington, D.C.—In the wake of record—and still rising—gas prices, the head of the nation’s largest independent union of federal employees has called on the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) commissioner to make a substantive mid-year adjustment in the reimbursement rate for personal use of a vehicle for business reasons.

In a letter to IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman—who has the policy authority to make such a mid-year adjustment, which would impact everyone in the country—President Colleen M. Kelley of the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU) noted that record levels of gas prices are “placing an especially heavy burden on those who must travel to perform their work duties.”

These include a great many NTEU members employed by the IRS, as well as those at a number of financial regulatory bodies and other federal agencies. The NTEU leader made the request in the interest of all federal employees and others who use their personal vehicle for business travel.

The federal government’s reimbursement rate is set by the General Services Administration (GSA), but cannot exceed the amount set by the IRS as the maximum rate allowed as a business deduction. That rate currently is 50 ½ cents per mile.

“Given the extraordinary rise in gasoline prices,” currently averaging more than $4 a gallon across the nation, President Kelley wrote, “I would request that the IRS make a mid-year adjustment to the mileage reimbursement rate to accurately reflect the actual cost traveling employees pay.”

Pending legislation in the Senate would raise the rate to 70 cents per mile, she noted, but said that action by the IRS “would provide much more timely relief than depending on the slow pace of the legislative process.”

While unusual, this would not be the first time the IRS has made such a mid-year change in the rate; in 2005, then-IRS commissioner Mark Everson used his authority to honor a request from NTEU that the maximum rate be increased. Then, as now, gas prices were rising rapidly and with little prospect they would moderate.

“The needed relief his action provided to private and federal sector employees,” Kelley wrote of the Everson decision, “helped save many employees from having to pay work-related traveling expenses out of their own pockets.”

As the largest independent federal union, NTEU represents 150,000 employees in 31 agencies and departments.

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