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If my employer doesn't reimburse my expenses, can I deduct the standard meal allowance for days I'm away from home for work?

You might be able to deduct your meals depending on your circumstances. If you're away from your tax home overnight for a temporary business purpose, you can deduct the cost of traveling.

Your tax home is your regular place of employment. This is true regardless of where your family home is located.

If you don't have a regular or a main place of business, your tax home can be the place where you regularly live, if all of these apply:

  • You perform part of your business in the area of your main home.
  • You have living expenses at the main home that you also have while traveling for work.
  • You haven't abandoned the area where both your historical place of lodging and claimed main home are located, and these apply:
    • You have a member or members of the family living at the main home.
    • You often use that home for lodging.

If you're traveling away from your tax home, you can deduct half of either of these:

  • Standard meal allowance determined by the IRS
  • Actual cost of meals that aren't considered lavish or extravagant.

If you’d like to learn about exceptions, see Publication 463 at www.irs.gov. To find the standard meal rate, visit www.gsa.gov.
 

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