Peterson, Stauber introduce the Volunteer Driver Tax Appreciation Act

April 4, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON- Representatives Collin C. Peterson (D-MN) and Pete Stauber (R-MN) have introduced the Volunteer Driver Tax Act. 

“Many volunteer drivers are retirees or military veterans living on fixed incomes and are dropping out of these programs because they can’t afford to volunteer because of the low reimbursement rates” said Peterson. “This legislation will boost the outdated reimbursement rate for our charitable drivers and ensures that our seniors have the resource they need to live their lives.”

“Thanks to volunteer drivers, countless seniors, veterans, and individuals with disabilities across Minnesota can attend medical appointments and run errands. In rural districts like mine, the lack of mass transit makes services of volunteer drivers especially critical,” said Stauber. “Unfortunately, existing law only reimburses volunteer drivers 14 cents per mile, leaving many unable to afford to continue their services. By boosting the reimbursement rate, these good Samaritans can continue to help many Minnesotans live fuller lives.”

Seniors who are unable to drive will often rely on volunteer drivers to take them from place to place. On average, it costs more than 3 times as much to use a taxi service rather than have a volunteer driver. The bill’s language would align the reimbursement rate for charitable driving with that of businesses, thus allowing appropriate reimbursement for volunteer drivers that hasn’t been changed since 1998.

The bill has strong support from 7th district organizations.

“Volunteers are the core of our Meals on Wheels program in Willmar.   In 2018 we served 17,568 meals with the help of hundreds of volunteer drivers.   It is difficult to find drivers for our home delivered meal program due to busy schedules and the expense to deliver meals, better incentives in the form IRS reimbursement rates will help.”-Renee Nolting, WCI Executive Director

“Please add our support for new legislation to equalize the IRS rate for volunteer driver mileage reimbursement.  Our program utilizes volunteer drivers to provide transportation for many of our rural communities.  The number of volunteer rides in 2018 was roughly 12,000, whereas in 2016 was almost 16,000.  This is a direct result of telling volunteers that they must claim their mileage reimbursement as taxable income.  The need for transportation has not decreased but without volunteers many of these trips go unserved.”-Cathleen Amick, United Community Action Partnership Transportation Director

A number of organizations throughout the 7th District provide transportation services for seniors. Seniors in need of transport services can find local programs through the state database.