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?
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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