DOT Meal Allowance Tax Deduction?

Stinger

Epic Member
May 24, 2009
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I might try it...this is the first I've seen it and I know nothing about taxes, so I don't know yet.
 

ColtsATC

Trusted Contributor
Aug 27, 2008
590
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From what I was told by my accountant, the people that get in trouble for this are the ones that claim every day you worked for the entire year. You can only claim it if you took 0 leave that day, so you can go look in Cedar and add up the number of days no leave was taken and do the math. It was explained to me that it's ok since we are subject to recall even while on breaks. I'm not worried about getting audited since it won't be me explaining everything to the IRS, it will be my accountant.
 

agtsoul

Newcomer
Aug 6, 2011
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I am a DoD Controller living in Hawaii. I am thinking of using this deduction this year. Have any other DoD controllers here on the forums used this? Where you audited? When I do the calculations it seems to come out to a lot of money. Here are my calculations let me know what you think.
HI Per Diem: $317.00
Minus Lodging: $180.00
Minus Incidental: $27.00
Meals= $110.00 – PMR: $61.00
Average work days 260 – 31 days of leave= 229 Days at work.
229 x 61(PMR)= 13969 x .8= $11175.20
Does this look right? Sure seems like a lot.
 

JoshATC

Epic Member
Jun 27, 2010
1,384
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ZLA CPC
All the DoD Controllers I work with have used this for years.. this is my first year I will be filing with DoD employement under my belt. My tax appointment isn't till March tho.. so I can't fill you in..
 

johnnypark

Newcomer
Jun 30, 2012
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This isnt a legit deduction for controllers. I've tried to make this work for me for years. I just can't find any CPA that will say it is for me. It all comes down to that whole "tax home" thing. I've read all the stories on here and people saying they have been audited and they got away with it. I just cant believe that. They are either lying or had the dumbest IRS agent ever. I've talked to 2 very reputable CPAs (one has been partner at a large firm for over 30 years) that say it is not for us. I've called the IRS and they said it wasn't for me. The guy was actually a jerk about it. He sounded annoyed I would even ask such a silly question. I sent a letter to the IRS for clarification but never got a response. All that said, I know just about every controller I've been in contact with uses this. I've never heard of anyone being caught. Is it right? No. Will you get caught? Probably not. I don't take it because I try to be honest. I've even tried justifying it but just can't pull the trigger. Good luck to those who use it. You know what they say about karma.
 

JoshATC

Epic Member
Jun 27, 2010
1,384
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ZLA CPC
This isnt a legit deduction for controllers. I've tried to make this work for me for years. I just can't find any CPA that will say it is for me. It all comes down to that whole "tax home" thing. I've read all the stories on here and people saying they have been audited and they got away with it. I just cant believe that. They are either lying or had the dumbest IRS agent ever. I've talked to 2 very reputable CPAs (one has been partner at a large firm for over 30 years) that say it is not for us. I've called the IRS and they said it wasn't for me. The guy was actually a jerk about it. He sounded annoyed I would even ask such a silly question. I sent a letter to the IRS for clarification but never got a response. All that said, I know just about every controller I've been in contact with uses this. I've never heard of anyone being caught. Is it right? No. Will you get caught? Probably not. I don't take it because I try to be honest. I've even tried justifying it but just can't pull the trigger. Good luck to those who use it. You know what they say about karma.
You want us to honestly believe you did all that??? and this is your first post on stuckmic.. !! TROLOLOLOLOLOL
 

raw_dog

Newcomer
Jun 11, 2013
15
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I know for a fact of seven center controllers who did this, were audited, and were required to pay back! I know each one of them personally. If you don't have a CTO, don't even consider pulling this scam!
 

lowapproach

Epic Member
Oct 29, 2010
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"I used it and I wasn't audited" isn't the same as "This is totally legal." It may be that you weren't audited because the amount of money in question wasn't enough to get the attention of a revenue agent. Even if you are, maybe it's the only thing you reported incorrectly, and the IRS will treat you like a nice white taxpayer and give you an opportunity to repay back taxes without serious harassment. On the other hand, if you're one of those controllers who runs a small business without an accountant or this is only one of the many shady things you do with your taxes, I would not claim it. It has nothing to do with whether you have a CTO.

Title 26 of the CFR contains the Treasury regulations that pertain to tax collection. Here's section 1.119-1, "Meals and lodging furnished for the convenience of the employer":

(a) Meals—(1) In general. The value of meals furnished to an employee by his employer shall be excluded from the employee's gross income if two tests are met: (i) The meals are furnished on the business premises of the employer, and (ii) the meals are furnished for the convenience of the employer. The question of whether meals are furnished for the convenience of the employer is one of fact to be determined by analysis of all the facts and circumstances in each case. [...]

3) Meals furnished with a charge. (i) If an employer provides meals which an employee may or may not purchase, the meals will not be regarded as furnished for the convenience of the employer. Thus, meals for which a charge is made by the employer will not be regarded as furnished for the convenience of the employer if the employee has a choice of accepting the meals and paying for them or of not paying for them and providing his meals in another manner.
If your manager buys you pizza with the FAA credit card because you're working short, it's deductible; if you buy pizza from the cafeteria contractor instead of bringing your lunch, it's not. From 1.262-1, disallowing deductions for personal or family expenses:

(5) Expenses incurred in traveling away from home (which include transportation expenses, meals, and lodging) and any other transportation expenses are not deductible unless they qualify as expenses deductible under section 162 (relating to trade or business expenses), section 170 (relating to charitable contributions), section 212 (relating to expenses for production of income), section 213 (relating to medical expenses), or section 217 (relating to moving expenses), and the regulations under those sections. The taxpayer's costs of commuting to his place of business or employment are personal expenses and do not qualify as deductible expenses.
 

Stingchik4

Senior Member
Jan 29, 2014
166
1
18
This isnt a legit deduction for controllers. I've tried to make this work for me for years. I just can't find any CPA that will say it is for me. It all comes down to that whole "tax home" thing. I've read all the stories on here and people saying they have been audited and they got away with it. I just cant believe that. They are either lying or had the dumbest IRS agent ever. I've talked to 2 very reputable CPAs (one has been partner at a large firm for over 30 years) that say it is not for us. I've called the IRS and they said it wasn't for me. The guy was actually a jerk about it. He sounded annoyed I would even ask such a silly question. I sent a letter to the IRS for clarification but never got a response. All that said, I know just about every controller I've been in contact with uses this. I've never heard of anyone being caught. Is it right? No. Will you get caught? Probably not. I don't take it because I try to be honest. I've even tried justifying it but just can't pull the trigger. Good luck to those who use it. You know what they say about karma.
I completely agree- this is NOT a legit deduction. I've read through all of these posts (yup, interesting topic and I wanted the 4-1-1, haha) and I am convinced this is not for controllers, even if you have a CTO. IRS 'stuff' is annoying to read through (kinda like the 7110, IMO), but this statement alone summarizes it for me: "Generally, the costs of meals at the taxpayer’s regular work location are not deductible under § 162. The courts have held that daily meals are an inherently personal expense." For those who have "gotten away with it," cool for them. I'm all about the honesty thing as well and 1. I think it sucks how much money is taken out of controllers' paychecks for taxes, but 2. this isn't the right way to get it back. I'll keep plugging away trying to find deductions that are actually suitable and will not be trying to find a loop-hole in the system that I can "get away with." : /
P.S. It does seem "too good to be true," right? You just get your meals paid for because you're a controller and you may have to go back to work during your break. Seems like a lil' extreme compensation.
 

txxx11

Junior Member
Jul 22, 2008
85
1
8
At my facility (DoD) all the controllers do this... in fact, a couple even filed back taxes in order to claim it on previous years... Certain CPA's won't do it. So a majority do their own taxes for this issue.
 

typhoon5150

Senior Member
Oct 8, 2012
192
2
18
HEY GUYS IMA JUST CHIME IN THAT A LOT OF 'DETAIL ASSIGNMENTS' ARE AWAY FROM YOUR TAX HOME. HENCE ZDC, HQ, ETC. IF YOU HAD A YEAR DETAIL BUT STILL FILED IN ALASKA I THINK IT WOULD WORK. ALSO MY CAPS KEY IS STUCK I'M NOT YELLING.....LOUD NOISES!!!!
 

KHMN

Rookie
I completely agree- this is NOT a legit deduction. I've read through all of these posts (yup, interesting topic and I wanted the 4-1-1, haha) and I am convinced this is not for controllers, even if you have a CTO. IRS 'stuff' is annoying to read through (kinda like the 7110, IMO), but this statement alone summarizes it for me: "Generally, the costs of meals at the taxpayer’s regular work location are not deductible under § 162. The courts have held that daily meals are an inherently personal expense." For those who have "gotten away with it," cool for them. I'm all about the honesty thing as well and 1. I think it sucks how much money is taken out of controllers' paychecks for taxes, but 2. this isn't the right way to get it back. I'll keep plugging away trying to find deductions that are actually suitable and will not be trying to find a loop-hole in the system that I can "get away with." : /
P.S. It does seem "too good to be true," right? You just get your meals paid for because you're a controller and you may have to go back to work during your break. Seems like a lil' extreme compensation.

Do you have a source for that section 162? I tried googling it but all I could find was a letter written to some guy in 2002 from an IRS office. I'd like to see it in the code but can't find it.