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. You can deduct the cost of traveling if you're away from your tax home overnight for a temporary business purpose. Your tax home is your regular place of employment 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 you meet these conditions:
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, you have a member or members of the family living at the main home, or you often use that home for lodging.
If you're traveling away from your tax home, you can deduct either a standard meal allowance determined by the IRS or the actual cost of meals. The standard meal rate can be found in IRS Publication 463. You can only deduct 50% of either the standard meal allowance or your actual costs.
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This advice is for general information purposes only and may not apply to you. Every tax situation is different. This is not intended to be legal advice. Taxpayers should consult an H&R Block Tax Professional regarding their individual tax situation.