Travel Expenses for Employees and the Self-Employed


S

Sassy Baskets

I have questions about three different work-related travel situations:

1. I attended a convention, the expenses of which I am
deducting on form 2106. I stayed overnight for six days. I
received no reimbursement from my employer. Can I deduct a
per diem rate for lodging and M&IE, or must I claim actual
expenses? If I can use the per diem, do I have to have any
documentation at all of those expenses (if I can document
that I attended the convention out-of-state for those days)?

2. Someone has a job in the city where he lives. Some
semesters he also teaches a class in a city 50 miles
away--unrelated to his regular job. He drives to the other
city, stays overnight, teaches the class all morning, and
drives home. He is a W-2 receiving employee at the college
and receives no reimbursement. Can he deduct any travel
expenses? If so, can he use any per diem rates? What if
his overnight lodging is free (he stays with a friend)? If
he didn't stay overnight, could he still deduct mileage?

3. Someone else worked for a few months as an independent
contractor. His job required him to travel and stay
overnight away from home. ALL of the work was done in
various cities away from his home and for those months he
had no regular place of business in his home town and no
other job. He still spent most of his time at home with his
family. He worked for most of the year as an employee in
his home town, for a different company. Can he deduct any
travel expenses, and if so, can he use any per diem rates?
 
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S

sheesh3

I have questions about three different work-related travel situations:

1. I attended a convention, the expenses of which I am
deducting on form 2106. I stayed overnight for six days. I
received no reimbursement from my employer. Can I deduct a
per diem rate for lodging and M&IE, or must I claim actual
expenses? If I can use the per diem, do I have to have any
documentation at all of those expenses (if I can document
that I attended the convention out-of-state for those days)?
I am assuming you have already determined that the
convention is in fact deductible. If so, you may use
per-diem rates on the M&IE, however there is no per-diem for
lodging. You must use actual lodging costs.
2. Someone has a job in the city where he lives. Some
semesters he also teaches a class in a city 50 miles
away--unrelated to his regular job. He drives to the other
city, stays overnight, teaches the class all morning, and
drives home. He is a W-2 receiving employee at the college
and receives no reimbursement. Can he deduct any travel
expenses? If so, can he use any per diem rates? What if
his overnight lodging is free (he stays with a friend)? If
he didn't stay overnight, could he still deduct mileage?
There is a cute graphic on page 192 of the 2003 pub 17.
Basically if he went from job 1 to job 2, that mileage is
deductible. If he went from job 1 to home to job 2, no
deduction.

Whether food and lodging is deductible is based on whether
he meets the definition of "Traveling Away From Home" while
at the second job. This requires two things (per pg 185, pub
17):

1 - Your duties require you to be away from the general area
of your tax home substancially longer than an ordinary day

and

2 - You need to sleep or rest to meet the demands of your
work while away from home.

My gut feel is he won't meet this standard, but I don't know
without more information.

Lodging deductions are defined by actual cost, no cost, no
deduction. There is no standard rate. Meals could be
deducted based on the per diem rates, but may need to be
adjusted depending on the length of the day, and the method
used. See pub 17 page 189.
3. Someone else worked for a few months as an independent
contractor. His job required him to travel and stay
overnight away from home. ALL of the work was done in
various cities away from his home and for those months he
had no regular place of business in his home town and no
other job. He still spent most of his time at home with his
family. He worked for most of the year as an employee in
his home town, for a different company. Can he deduct any
travel expenses, and if so, can he use any per diem rates?
You can use perdiem rates as self-employed person. These
travel costs should be deductible on Schedule C.

I strongly suggest you go to www.irs.gov and read chapter 28
of pub 17.

bex
 
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S

Sassy Baskets

2. Someone has a job in the city where he lives. Some
There is a cute graphic on page 192 of the 2003 pub 17.
Basically if he went from job 1 to job 2, that mileage is
deductible. If he went from job 1 to home to job 2, no
deduction.

Whether food and lodging is deductible is based on whether
he meets the definition of "Traveling Away From Home" while
at the second job. This requires two things (per pg 185, pub
17):
My understanding is that if he meets the criteria for
"travelling away from home," he is not commuting and can
deduct mileage in addition to lodging and meals. The
one-job-to-another thing would not apply.
 

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