The Internal Revenue Service has announced that the standard mileage rate for business miles will increase from 50¢ per mile to 51¢ per mile as of January 1, 2011. According to the California Workers’ Compensation Institute, this means that the mileage rate that California workers’ compensation claims administrators pay injured workers for travel related to medical treatment or evaluation of their injuries should be increased to the IRS rate for travel on or after January 1, 2011, regardless of the date of injury. Claims administrators, however, should continue to pay the 2010 rate of 50¢ per mile for travel from January 1 through December 31, 2010.
State law [Labor Code Section 4600 (e)(2)], in conjunction with Government Code Section 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 December 3 news release (www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=232017,00.html) the IRS announced that as of January 1, 2011, the standard mileage rate would increase to 51 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.
Because there has been a string of mileage rate changes in the past three years, the California Division of Workers’ Compensation has posted downloadable mileage-expense forms at www.dir.ca.gov/dwc/forms.html to show applicable rates based on travel date. A new form with the 2011 rate should be posted shortly. In the meantime, claims organizations may wish to alert their programmers that the rate will increase to 51 cents per mile for travel on or after January 1, 2011.