DOT Meal Allowance Tax Deduction? - Page 5

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  1. #41
    WatchThis's Avatar
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    Re: DOT Meal Allowance Tax Deduction?

    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:
    http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/i2106.pdf

    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.
    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.

    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.
    Last edited by WatchThis; 01-23-2012 at 09:30 PM.

  2. #42
    Radium's Avatar
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    Re: DOT Meal Allowance Tax Deduction?

    My tax attorney Dr. S. Something Jewish, gives us the meal allowance.

    This is my 1st year with him, but he's been doing coworkers taxes for years

  3. #43
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    Re: DOT Meal Allowance Tax Deduction?

    I used it last year, I'll be using it again this year.
    CPC @ ZAU

  4. #44
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    Re: DOT Meal Allowance Tax Deduction?

    Also, many pilots and rail employees use this when try are subject to DOT hours and not necessarily away from their "tax home"

    They have a whole website to help them... The only difference is that they have to claim their per diem (which is paid weather or not they are away from home) but still end up getting a couple extra grand from the deduction.

    Expert Per Diem Calculation Service Pilots Flight Attendants

  5. #45
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    Re: DOT Meal Allowance Tax Deduction?

    You can easily interpret this deduction in the incorrect way if you only read the specific sections that you think will give you the deduction. These people are not reading or interpreting it entirely or in its complete context. This deduction is specifically for travel expenses incurred away from your tax home, regardless of hours of service.. If you leave work on your break for lunch, you did not leave your tax home. This has been verified by my tax pro after a lengthy conversation.

  6. #46
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    Re: DOT Meal Allowance Tax Deduction?

    What's the point in even doing this? Seriously. Take a lunch from home instead of buying lunch and then trying to deduct it. I can understand pilots and flight attendants doing this, but anyone who is an air traffic controller, should not be allowed to. Where you work is where you live 9 times out of 10, and if not, you don't live that far away.

    and people wonder why our economy is the way it is or why our government is broke.

  7. #47
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    Re: DOT Meal Allowance Tax Deduction?

    Quote Originally Posted by ATCAdam View Post
    and people wonder why our economy is the way it is or why our government is broke.
    After GE paid no taxes.... it is a wonder why every day people have not found their own loop holes and tax advantages sooner.

    It also has nothing to do with bringing lunch VS eating luch out.

    A railroad conductor who is 'on duty' for lunch 20 miles from home can deduct 80% of the federal per diem lunch amount no matter where or how his lunch was obtained... because he is on duty and eating is the argument. This IS NO different in principal than a sales person taking some "client" or another out to lunch every single day and deducting his/her lunch expenses. DOT employees are not subject to state lunch and break laws in many cases and are often requireed to be on duty for lunch... I feel that maybe this was an attempt to recognize this.

    Agree with it or not... How are the two different?

  8. #48
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    Re: DOT Meal Allowance Tax Deduction?

    This IRS letter is pretty clear: http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-wd/02-0020.pdf

    Unless you're traveling (or entertaining...), meals are NOT deductible.

  9. #49
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    Re: DOT Meal Allowance Tax Deduction?

    where do you get $59? I got $46 from the gsa.gov website.

  10. #50
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    Re: DOT Meal Allowance Tax Deduction?

    After reviewing the IRS guidelines, as well as some CPA online communities (filled with people who refuse to prepare tax returns with this deduction), I've decided I'm not claiming it.

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