I'm currently an independent contractor for a non-profit, and I'm required to use my car for the job. When I got involved with the organization in the fall I requested that I be reimbursed for mileage according to the IRS's standard business mileage rate (50+ cents/mile). I was told that I would be reimbursed at the standard rate for charitable organizations instead, which is 14 cents/mile. That didn't seem right to me. I assumed that the lower rate should apply to freely-given donations to charitable organizations, not work performed for a non-profit as an independent contractor. However, the organization is relatively small, I have social connections to some of my colleagues, and I work remotely, so I was disinclined to put up a fight, and have since accepted reimbursements at the rate of 14 cents/mile.
In the past few weeks I've driven ~350 miles for work, and I'm regretting my decision not to argue for the larger of the two rates. I'm wondering how to proceed, and have a few questions.
- * First, am I right to assume that I could correctly claim the business rate for the purpose of reimbursements?
* Second, what is the legal relationship between the IRS's mileage rates and the ways in which organizations (like the non-profit I'm contracting for) should behave? Put differently, do the IRS's mileage rates merely serve as guideposts, rather than laws, for organizations that reimburse contractors (or employees) who use their personal cars for business purposes?
* Third, if I'm concerned about coming off as demanding or argumentative with my colleagues and superiors, might it be worthwhile to forgo any reimbursements and instead claim deductions on Schedule C (Form 1040) of my 2016 return? (I assume you can't get reimbursed and claim a tax deduction.) Would I end up seeing as much money back through a deduction as I would through a reimbursement?
** If so, do I require written evidence of my mileage, as line 8b of Schedule C asks?