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I work as a truck driver and have a question about truck driver deductions on my tax return. When I travel, is there a tax deduction for food?

Yes, a truck driver deduction for travel-related expenses my apply to you. A tax deduction for food and travel related expenses is available if you are away from your tax home overnight for a temporary business purpose. Your tax home is your regular place of employment. This is regardless of where your family home is located.

Ex: You're a truck driver, and you and your family live in Tucson. You're employed by a trucking firm that has its terminal in Phoenix. At the end of your long runs, you return to your home terminal in Phoenix and spend one night there before returning home. You can't deduct any expenses you have for meals and lodging in Phoenix or the cost of traveling from Phoenix to Tucson, since Phoenix is your tax home.

You can deduct either of these:

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

You can find the standard meal rate in Publication 463. If you deduct the actual cost of meals, your deduction is limited to either 50% or 80% of the actual cost. The 50% limit applies to most taxpayers. Some transportation workers are subject to the hours-of-service limitation by the Department of Transportation. If this applies, you can deduct 80% of the actual cost of meals.

Deduct lodging costs by using the actual cost of the lodging.

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