Question

I have a question about business travel deductions. My employer does not reimburse travel expenses. Is there a meal allowance deduction I can claim when traveling out of town for business?

Answer

Maybe — it depends on your circumstances. If you’re away from your tax home overnight for a temporary business purpose, you may qualify for business travel deductions which includes a meal allowance deduction.

Your tax home isn’t where you live — it’s your regular place of employment. This is true no matter where your family home is located.

If you don’t have a regular or 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.
  • Both of these apply:
    • You haven’t abandoned the area where you usually live and claim as your main home.
    • These apply:
      • You have a member or members of the family living at the main home.
      • You often use that home as the place you stay.

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

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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