South Carolina drivers can now cash in on gas tax

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Attention South Carolina drivers! Did you save your gas receipts last year? Starting this year, you can claim a portion of that money you spent on gas on your income taxes.

This year, as you file your 2018 tax returns, you’ll have an extra form called the I-385. In it, you’ll be able to use your gas receipts you saved this past year to show how many gallons of gas you purchased, and you’ll get back three cents for each gallon. Keep in mind, you are still eligible even if you aren’t filing for tax returns and if you’re either a full-time or part-time resident.

This credit applies on up to two vehicles per tax payer, which means if you have more than one car or motorcycle, it’s a good idea to keep separate files for the two. There’s also the option to get money back for car maintenance, for things like oil changes and tires. The law says you can get money back for the smaller total, either your gas total or your maintenance total.

“So the maintenance records, you can include new tires, oil changes, other regular maintenance on the vehicle. And then they’re going to compare that number versus that additional gas tax you’ve been paying and then you’ll receive the lesser of that on the credit. There’s also another calculation going on with the form itself that they have not quite finalized yet, but we should see it within the next few weeks,” said Samantha Slapnik, owner of Liberty Tax Services.

This credit only applies to the gas you purchased in South Carolina - as a resident of South Carolina - and doesn’t apply for any gas purchased outside the state.

This is all part of the 2017 roads bill which will raise the state’s gas tax by two cents a gallon each July until 2022. The gas tax hike will eventually climb to 12 cents a gallon and the money will help with road improvement projects across the state.

It’s a good idea to make copies of your gas receipts, in case the print fades. Also, if you’re using credit card statements, you need to make sure it shows the number of gallons of gas you purchased.

“The backup materials are what it’s all about. When it comes to taxes, whether it’s with the federal government, or South Carolina, or any other state you’re working with, they want to see documentation. So all of those little receipts, all of those maintenance records, you’re supposed to keep that for as long as they can come audit you. They recommend three years, the IRS can go back seven years, so I say keep them as long as they can come back on you,” said Slapnik.

If you didn’t get to save your receipts at the pump last year, the new year means you can start saving now to file next year. The gas tax rises another two cents in July, so you could save even more on your 2019 tax return.

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