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Can You Write-Off Parking For Work?

Andjelka Prvulovic
Last update on:
April 10, 2024 6:25 AM
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For those regularly driving to work or business meetings, parking costs can quickly accumulate, prompting the question: "Can you write off parking for work?"

Whether you're an employer looking to improve benefits, an employee seeking to optimize take-home pay, or a self-employed professional managing business expenses, mastering the nuances of parking-related tax deductions is essential.

This article will explain how to leverage these deductions, helping you navigate the rules for maximum financial benefit.

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The Basics of Parking Deductions: Are Parking Fees Tax Deductible?

Parking fees can be tax deductible in certain circumstances. However, the rules surrounding parking deductions significantly vary between self-employed individuals, W-2 employees, and employers and are tailored to different tax structures and benefits frameworks.

parking costs table

For self-employed individuals, freelancers, and business owners, parking fees incurred during business are generally deductible. So are the tolls related to the business use of the vehicle. They can deduct these expenses on Schedule C, which is used to report business income and expenses. 

This includes parking at client meetings, business events, or any location where business is conducted away from the home office. The fees incurred here are in direct relation to business activity, making such expenses deductible against business income, thereby lowering taxable income.

However, for the W-2 employees, the tax deduction terrain is less favorable. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 brought significant changes, suspending miscellaneous itemized deductions for unreimbursed employee expenses, including parking, through the 2025 tax year. 

Most W-2 employees can no longer deduct parking fees related to their employment on their personal tax returns. A few precisely defined exceptions do exist, such as the Armed Forces reservists or designated government employees.

With this Act, employer-provided benefits, like parking spaces or work-related parking expense reimbursements, have become even more significant.

For employers, these benefits are exempt from payroll taxes and are deductible as a business expense. However, they do not add to the employee's taxable income, making it a tax-efficient way to reward and retain employees. 

PRO TIP: Mileage deduction is one of the most substantial tax-saving opportunities for both businesses and individuals using their vehicles for business. The Best mileage tracking apps, like Timeero, streamline mileage tracking, simplifying what once was a daunting task. 

IRS Guidelines and Eligibility: Can You Write off Parking for Work?

To understand the IRS's regulations on parking tax deductions, a fine line must be drawn between business-related and commuting expenses.

Deductible Business-Related Parking Fees

Employers can deduct parking fees incurred when employees engage in business-related activities outside their regular office location. These activities include:

  • Client Visits Parking fees incurred while employees visit clients for meetings or presentations are deductible.
  • Business Meetings and Conventions Expenses for parking at locations where business meetings or conventions are held can also be deducted. This includes parking at airports when traveling for business purposes. 
  • Job Sites For employees traveling to job sites different from their regular workplace, the costs of parking at these locations are deductible.

These examples highlight the critical criterion for deductibility: the parking expense must be directly related to business activities, enhancing the business's operational efficiency or revenue-generating capacity.

Under the same guidelines, it’s crucial to understand that parking fines and tickets are not tax-deductible, even during business-related activities. The IRS views these costs as personal expenses, not business expenses because they result from parking violations and do not contribute to business operations or efficiency. Therefore, such fines and tickets are ineligible for tax benefits.

Non-deductible Commuting Expenses

According to the IRS, parking expenses incurred as part of a daily commute to the regular office or primary place of work are not deductible. Commuting costs are considered personal expenses, even if the nature of the work involves significant travel once at the office. 

To learn how to maximize legitimate tax benefits without crossing into the non-compliant territory, read our article on commuting mileage reimbursement.

Examples of Eligible Parking Deductions

Here are some real-world examples to help you better understand how parking deductions work.

Scenario #1: Employee on a Business Trip

Alex, an employee at Company XYZ, uses his personal vehicle for a business trip to the airport, per the company's policy that covers parking and mileage. He carefully notes his mileage, reflecting the IRS's standard mileage rate for business travel expenses. Upon return, Alex submits an expense report for reimbursement, including parking fees and calculated mileage.

Company XYZ reviews and approves his submission, reimbursing him through his paycheck. This reimbursement is tax-free, preventing "double-dipping" by not claiming these expenses on his personal tax return. 

Scenario #2: Employer Providing Free Parking

Company ABC is located in a bustling downtown area where parking is scarce and fees are high. To attract and retain employees, Company ABC leases parking spaces in a nearby garage to provide free parking for its employees. This benefit enhances the overall compensation package and increases employee satisfaction. 

For Company ABC, leasing these parking spaces is a deductible business expense, reflecting how employers can use parking benefits to improve employee relations and receive tax benefits. 

However, employers need to note that under certain IRS rules, the cost of providing a parking facility may have limits on deductibility depending on the business structure and local tax laws.

Scenario #3: Self-Employed Consultant Meeting Clients

Samantha, a self-employed marketing consultant, frequently travels to meet with clients nationwide. She incurs parking fees at various client offices and downtown parking lots during these trips. 

Samantha carefully records each parking expense, including the meeting's date, location, and purpose. These documented expenses directly relate to her business activities, allowing her to deduct them on Schedule C as part of her business operating expenses. 

How to Classify Parking Expenses?

To classify parking expenses effectively, start by identifying the purpose behind each parking fee. If the expense is directly tied to business activities—such as client meetings or travel to various job sites—it's typically classified as a deductible business expense for self-employed individuals or as a reimbursable expense by employers. 

For W-2 employees, while daily commuting parking fees are not deductible, employer-provided parking benefits might be tax-exempt. It's crucial to maintain detailed records, including dates, locations, and the business purpose of each parking expense to substantiate these classifications and ensure compliance with tax regulations.

If you're using a mileage tracking app like Timeero, record-keeping can be improved by attaching receipts of your parking fees directly to your time card entries. 

TImeero mobile app
Timeero allows you to attach parking receipts to the corresponding time card entries.

This not only simplifies documentation but also streamlines the process of claiming deductions or reimbursements.

Recordkeeping and Documentation

Meticulous record-keeping is the cornerstone of effective management for parking and vehicle-related deductions.

Taxpayers are responsible for keeping precise records of all reimbursements and parking benefits provided, including receipts, invoices, and mileage logs. 

To facilitate a seamless reimbursement process, documentation should be well-organized and readily accessible for expense report submissions.

In case of an audit, having this documentation can significantly expedite the process, thereby reducing the risk of disallowed deductions and potential penalties.

How Can Timeero Help You Streamline Tax Deductions and Driving Related Expenses?

Gone are the days of scribbling down mileage in notebooks or wrestling with complicated spreadsheets. With Timeero, tracking and documenting your mileage and vehicle-related expenses, including those pesky parking fees, becomes a breeze. 

Here’s how Timeero can transform the way you approach tax deductions:

Effortless Mileage Tracking and Accurate Mileage Reimbursement

Forget about manually logging every trip. Timeero uses GPS to automatically and accurately track your business miles, ensuring every deductible mile is counted without a hassle.

timeero mobile mileage tracker
Track business mileage seamlessly with Timeero.

This precision guarantees fair compensation for employees and straightforward expense tracking for employers, eliminating discrepancies and fostering trust in mileage claims.

Simplify Parking Fees

Snap a photo of your parking receipts and upload them directly to the app. This way, you’ll have all your parking expenses neatly organized and easily accessible, ready for tax time.

Generate Reports in a Snap

timeero customizable mileage reports
Generating mileage reports is easy with Timeero.

With just a few taps, Timeero compiles your mileage expenses into comprehensive reports. This not only saves you time during tax season but also ensures you’re capturing every deduction you’re entitled to.

Stay Audit-Proof

Should the IRS ever come knocking, Timeero’s detailed records will be your best defense, showcasing your diligence in tracking business expenses.

Ease Your Tax Prep

When it’s time to file, having all your deductible expenses documented and totaled up makes tax preparation less of a headache. You can focus on maximizing your business deductions instead of scrambling for records.

From self-employed individuals and freelancers to small businesses and full-fledged enterprises, Timeero offers a simple yet efficient way for anyone to manage tax deductions that can otherwise feel overwhelming. It’s about maximizing your mileage reimbursement and tax deductions while minimizing the effort to track them.

Disclaimer: This article provides general information regarding parking expenses and tax deductions and is intended for informational purposes only. Always consult with a qualified tax professional or financial advisor to receive personalized advice and to ensure compliance with the current laws and regulations applicable to your unique situation.

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AUTHOR
Andjelka Prvulovic

Andjelka is a sociologist turned digital marketer. She specializes in creating content for SaaS and software companies. When she’s not researching the most effective employee management techniques, Andjelka loves cooking, reading, and fighting for human rights.

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