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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 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 these apply:

  • You perform part of your business in the area of your main home.
  • You have living expenses at the main home that are duplicated 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 either of these:

  • Standard meal allowance determined by the IRS
  • Actual cost of meals

The standard meal rate can be found in Publication 463. You can only deduct 50% of either of these:

  • Standard meal allowance
  • Actual costs

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