Just so we're all on the same page, here's an excerpt from the instructions on how to fill out the form that contains meals deductions:
Notice how it addresses "Business Meals... including meals away from home". That sure looks like two different things. In other words, deductable "Business Meals" aren't always "away from (tax) home". Further, regarding the DOT clause, it mentions "any period of duty for which those limitations are in effect". I believe this means that the tax home issue does not pertain for the DOT clause.Line 9. Generally, you can deduct only 50% of your business meal and entertainment expenses, including meals incurred while away from home on business. However, if you were an employee subject to the DOT hours of service limits, that percentage is increased to 80% for business meals consumed during, or incident to, any period of duty for which those limits are in effect.
Employees subject to the DOT hours of service limits include certain air transportation employees, such as pilots, crew, dispatchers, mechanics, and control tower operators; interstate truck operators and interstate bus drivers; certain railroad employees, such as engineers, conductors, train crews, dispatchers, and control operations personnel; and certain merchant mariners.
I'm not a tax lawyer, so believe at your own risk. If you take this deduction, be prepared to show proof of being on duty and the hours of work limitations better have been in effect.
I'll ask again, who would qualify as a person working a tower outside of their tax home that wouldn't be able to deduct unreimbursed meals "away from home" as a normal business expense anyway? I don't think this person or these people exist(s).
Last Edit: http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p529.pdf page 7 discusses it even clearer and has the explanation in a section separate from travel expenses.