Written by attorney Steven J. Fromm

Deducting Away-from-home Travel Expenses

There are three general criteria that must be met to deduct away from home travel expenses. Here are the 3 requirements with some details:

Employment must be temporary: the following factors may be relevant:

  • work lasting more than one year is not temporary
  • working lasting less than a year does not make the job temporary if the job is meant to last more than one year.
  • an employer's classification of an employee as temporary is not conclusive.
  • recurring and seasonal work may be seen as indefinite by courts.
  • the determination of temporary status is generally made at the time of hire.
  • all facts and circumstances are taken into account by courts.

Taxpayer must be away from tax home: the following factors may be important:

  • taxpayer's tax home is generally the same as the taxpayer's area in which they work.
  • if a taxpayer has more than one business, his tax home is where he spends most of his time or earns most of his income.
  • a taxpayer that changes job locations for longer than one year changes tax home to the new job location.
  • a taxpayer does not necessarily have a tax home to be away from.
  • spouses can have different tax homes.
  • a tax home is not necessarily where the rest of the taxpayer's family lives.

Expenses must be a deductible type. As follows:

  • expenses must be directly related to to work of the taxpayer.
  • expenses must be reasonable in amount.
  • must be incurred while away from the tax home on business.
  • must be ordinary for the business involved.
  • the taxpayer may deduct temporary living expenses to minimize double costs.
  • the taxpayer must be able to substantiate expenses.

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