I try to add tax blog articles weekly on tax topics that may be interesting to you. Please browse. If there is a topic you would like to see here or would like to more information on, please contact me.

Find Out More

My Tax Blog

Can I Claim Meal & Travel Expenses for 2019 Tax year?
September 5, 2019   |   Employee deductions, Form 1040, IRS, meals, Tax Planning-Business, Tax Resources, Taxes

Hand holding with pita sandwich wrapped in paper in an outside plaza

Are you one of the “lucky” people that can still deduct Meal and Travel Expenses on their tax return? . . . First a few questions:

  1.  Is the travel and meal expense related to your job as an employee (taxes taken out of paycheck)?
  2.  Is the travel expense (e.g. hotel) incurred in the same city or area where you live?
  3.  Is the expense reimbursed ?
  4. If self employed, is your assignment at this “gig” anticipated to last more than one year or have no “firm” end date?

If you answered yes to any of the above, then there is no tax deduction meal or travel expense available for your situation. Why? Let’s take the questions one by one.

Question 1: No tax deduction for employee meals and travel. The Employee Business Tax Deduction  was eliminated by the passage Trump Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.  If your employer has an accountable plan, then your out of pocket employee business expenses may be reimbursed tax free.  Ask Human Resources about any “Accountable Plan” options available.

Question 2: Travel expense tax deduction is only available if taxpayer is away from their tax home when incurring the expense.   Away from tax home means outside of their regular living area (e.g. city) or “base of operations”.

CAREFUL: Meal expense may be allowed for self employed business owners even if not away from home if meeting with a client, potential client or a meeting with employees of their own firm if the meeting is for a bona fide business purpose (no tax deduction for non business or entertainment only purposes).

Question 3: There is no tax deduction for reimbursed expenses. Tax deduction is only available for out of pocket expense.

Question 4:  If the gig is anticipated to last more than one year, then the “gig” location may be considered as taxpayer’s tax home. Therefore taxpayer is not “away from home” to qualify for the meals and travel expense.

In summary, if you are a self-employed taxpayer traveling outside of your main business area for business or non self employed taxpayer traveling to seek medical treatment then meals and travel may be tax deductible IF:

  1.  The expense is documented
  2.  With receipts and/or log
  3.  There was no reimbursement
  4.  Travel is for business or essential to receiving medical care
  5. There was no element of pleasure/entertainment in the travel (No tax deduction allowed for entertainment expense).

For more information see IRS Publication 463 (Business Travel) or IRS Publication 502 (Medical Expenses)

Photo by Mark Neal from Pexels

Continue Reading