Q. My son starts college and he’s working this summer as a pizza delivery guy. What costs from his car use can he deduct?
A. We’re glad to hear your son is working.
It’s unlikely that he’ll be able to get any benefit from deducting all miles he drives delivering pizza.
Unreimbursed employee business expenses — such as all the driving your son is doing for work — are included as an itemized deduction, said Gail Rosen, a Martinsville-based certified public accountant.
She said you have a choice on your tax return of deducting the total of your itemized deductions or the standard deduction. For 2016, the standard deduction for a single person is $6,300.
“Since your son probably does not have other itemized tax deductions, like mortgage interest, real estate taxes, charity, etc., the total of his itemized deduction — including his unreimbursed auto miles — probably will not exceed the standard deduction allowable for 2016 of $6,300,” Rosen said.
She said unreimbursed auto miles are a “miscellaneous” itemized deduction, and you can only claim the amount that is more than 2 percent of your adjusted gross income on your federal return.
“Therefore, assuming your son as no other income and for example he earns $4,000 delivering pizza, the first $80 of auto expenses are not deductible,” she said.
And for his New Jersey return, employee business expenses are a non-allowable deduction, Rosen said.
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