The Internal Revenue Service delayed for three months until April 1 the effective date of a new allowance of 31 cents per mile that employers can deduct as a business expense when employees drive their own cars for business purposes.

The allowance, which also affects self-employed persons, had been scheduled to drop on Jan. 1 from the current rate of 32.5 cents per mile. The IRS agreed to the delay because it wanted to accommodate businesses that needed more time to change their systems, a spokeswoman said.

The current mileage allowance of 32.5 cents will remain in effect for expenses paid or incurred through March 31. Beginning April 1, the new rate of 31 cents will kick in.

The IRS rate is the maximum amount that is tax-deductible; some companies reimburse their employees at a lower rate for driving their own cars for business.

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