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IRS rules may affect Trailblazer volunteer drivers

Trailblazer Transit already is having trouble recruiting volunteer drivers, and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will not be making it easier.
At its Thursday meeting, the Trailblazer Joint Powers Board heard from Bev Herfindahl of the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) that the IRS intends to start enforcing its rule that volunteer drivers be reimbursed at the volunteer mileage rate — 14 cents per mile — rather than at the business rate, which is currently 53.5 cents per mile.
Trailblazer Executive Director Gary Ludwig said that the transit system currently reimburses its volunteer drivers at the business rate. Herfindahl indicated that if the transit system continues that practice, its volunteer drivers would need to claim that as income, which could impact their retirement plans.
Ludwig said that the pool of volunteer drivers has been dwindling, and the news regarding the IRS could be a deterrent to both getting new volunteers and retaining the current ones.

For more from the meeting, including difficulties recruiting new drivers, see the June 28 print edition of The Chronicle.