12/13/11: Last Spring, NTEU launched an effort to obtain a mid-year increase in the mileage deduction for business-related travel to account for rising fuel prices from the 51¢ set in January 1, 2011. While it is unusual to have a mid-year adjustment, NTEU wrote this letter to IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman, who in his policy capacity has the authority to make a mid-year adjustment in the mileage reimbursement rate. The Union pressed the point that we are in unusual circumstances and that the current allowable level is inadequate for business and for government employees who use their vehicles for work.
NTEU believes the very clear facts back this up. While IRS Commissioner Shulman did act on this and announced an increase of 55.5¢ a mile for all business miles driven from July 1, 2011 through Dec. 31, 2011, GSA declined NTEU's request to apply it to federal employees. (The IRS sets the maximum rate that public and private employers can offer their employees tax free. GSA must act to apply this new level to employees of the federal government.)
While historically GSA has followed the IRS figure, they claimed their studies indicated that gas prices had peaked at the time of the IRS study and they expected prices to decline. In their study for 2012, the IRS has found there was no decline and is extending the 55.5¢ rate through the coming year. Given this action, NTEU has again asked GSA to immediately implement the higher rate.