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The Internal Revenue Service has announced that the standard mileage rate for business miles will increase to 58.0 cents per mile as of January 1, 2019, up 3.5 cents from the rate for 2018.

As a result, the California Workers’ Compensation Institute (CWCI) notes that effective for travel on or after January 1, 2019, the rate that California workers’ compensation claims administrators pay injured workers for travel related to medical care or evaluation of their injuries will also increase to 58.0 cents per mile.

The new workers’ compensation medical mileage rate will apply for 2019 travel dates, regardless of the date of injury on the claim, but for 2018 travel dates claims administrators should continue to pay the current rate of 54.5 cents per mile.

California Labor Code §4600 (e)(2), working in conjunction with Government Code §19820 and Department of Personnel Administration regulations, requires claims administrators to reimburse injured workers for such expenses at the rate adopted by the Director of the Department of Personnel Administration for non-represented (excluded) state employees, which is tied to the IRS published mileage rate.

In a Newswire issued December 14, the IRS announced that as of January 1, 2019, the standard mileage rate will increase to 58 cents per business mile driven. The IRS bases the standard mileage rate on an annual study of the fixed and variable costs of operating an automobile, which includes the cost of gasoline and depreciation.

There have been multiple mileage rate changes over the past decade, so the California Division of Workers’ Compensation has posted downloadable mileage-expense forms on the forms section of its website which show applicable rates based on travel date.

A new form with the 2019 rate will be posted shortly, but should not be used until reimbursements are made for 2019 travel. In the meantime, claims organizations should alert their staff and programmers that the medical mileage rate will increase to 58.0 cents per mile for travel on or after January 1, 2019.