Are Business Travel Expenses Deductible?

The rules for deducting travel and living expenses while away from home depend on how long the work is being performed away from your family home. Please note that your family home is different from your tax home. So, are business travel expenses deductible?

Where is your tax home?

The first step we need to do is establish where your tax home is as per IRS Publication 463 and the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) Sections 162 & 274. This is your regular place of business, regardless of where you maintain your family home. Generally speaking, if you and your spouse do not live at your tax home, you cannot deduct the cost of traveling between your tax home and your family home. You also cannot deduct the cost of meals and lodging while at your tax home. However, there is an exception to the rule in which you are only on a temporary assignment. This means that you expect to be at your temporary assignment for less than a year. In this case, your tax home does not change to your work location, but continues to be where you reside. Thus, you would be able to deduct travel expenses and living expenses that are not reimbursed by your employer.

What if my assignment is longer than a year?

If you expect to work for more than 1 year in the new business location, you would not be able to deduct travel and living expenses as your tax home changes to the new location. Travel and living expenses are considered personal expenses in this instance.

How does a taxpayer claim these expenses?

Please note that if the taxpayer meets the temporary assignment requirement for a tax home, they can deduct the expenses on Form 2106, which flows to Schedule A of your form 1040. If the taxpayer is self-employed, the expenses are reported on Schedule C, assuming the business is taxed as a sole proprietorship or disregarded entity.

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