The Internal Revenue Service just announced that the standard mileage rate for business miles will decrease to 56.0 cents per mile as of January 1, 2021, down 1.5 cents from the rate of 57.5 cents per mile for 2020.
As a result, the California Workers’ Compensation Institute reports that effective for travel on or after January 1, 2021, the rate that California workers’ compensation claims administrators pay injured workers for travel related to medical care or evaluation of their injuries will also decrease to 56.0 cents per mile.
The new workers’ compensation medical mileage rate will apply for 2021 travel dates, regardless of the date of injury on the claim, but for 2020 travel dates claims administrators should continue to pay 57.5 cents per mile.
California Labor Code §4600 (e)(2), working in conjunction with Government Code §19820 and Department of Personnel Administration (DPA) regulations, requires claims administrators to reimburse injured workers for such expenses at the rate adopted by the Director of the DPA for non-represented (excluded) state employees, which is tied to the IRS published mileage rate.
In its December 22 news release the IRS announced that as of January 1, 2021, the standard mileage rate will drop to 56.0 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 (DWC Forms (ca.gov) which show applicable rates based on travel date.
A new form with the 2021 rate will be posted shortly, but should not be used until reimbursements are made for 2021 travel.
Given the upcoming holidays, however, claims organizations should alert their staff and programmers as soon as possible that the medical mileage rate will decrease to 56.0 cents per mile for travel on or after January 1, 2021.