Tax Question...

Jan 23, 2009
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0
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Iowa
Howdy y'all!

Alrighty, I'm looking for a referral from any controllers on here on a CPA they have used or currently use come tax-time. In particular, I'm looking for someone who knows about the Meal Deduction allowance for Dept. of Transportation/Air Traffic Controllers and knows how to properly calculate it. If you know of anyone, please either post it on here or PM me the contact info. Thanks!!!
 

mbalunda

Epic Member
Jan 31, 2009
2,867
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Search for the meal deduction allowance here, there are many threads on here with useful information about it.
 

Phlames

Newcomer
Aug 14, 2009
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Simply put we don't qualify for this deduction on a daily basis. Good luck if you use it. JMHO
 

atcbrownie

Trusted Contributor
Jun 14, 2008
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Warrenton Va
you can use it every year but that does not make it legal. If you use this and are not traveling (on a detail or something) and you get audited you will owe money back. If you can live with the possibility that you may get audited in which case you will owe money back then by all means use it.

By using this you are committing tax fraud plain and simple. There are numerous letters floating around the internet that the IRS has sent to CPA's regarding this exact issue and they all say you cant use it while working in your home of record.

Good luck to those of you that use it.

AW
 

Genot

Trusted Contributor
Feb 7, 2010
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A Dark Dark Room
I think the gotcha is the definition of home. The allowance refers to being away from home. They mean your tax home which is defined as up to fifty miles from your address.
 

atcbrownie

Trusted Contributor
Jun 14, 2008
661
9
18
Warrenton Va
It's not a matter of travel, it's a matter of being recalled from your lunch to work.
It has nothing to do with being recalled from lunch. That is not written anywhere in the tax code. The code specifically states you have to be away from your home. They are not talking about your house but your tax home.
 

killswitch

Tin Pusher
Sep 12, 2008
1,048
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Ohio
It's always been 50/50 with the people who I work with. As long as I'm breaking even or ahead, there's no way I'd risk using it.
 

WatchThis

Trusted Contributor
Apr 29, 2010
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Arizona
The thing that keeps gnawing at me is if I worked a tower away from my tax home, I wouldn't need it to be specifically identified in the tax code. Business meals away from the tax home can be deducted anyway. There's no reason to include the ATC issue in the tax code unless there is some reason to provide special relief that can't be obtained through normal means.

Pilots and other transportation workers could arguably need the special code, considering part of their work might be in their tax home. The wording for them clears that potential issue. So, why the specific ATC wording when anyone conducting business away from their tax home is already covered?

I believe the intent was to consider any person working in a tower with a CTO as being outside their tax home (confined to a box off the ground) for meal purposes regardless of actual location. Problem is I can't prove it. The wording in the code is ambiguous. I will say that a radar type should probably not use it. The allowance is pretty clearly only for CTO work.

If we could locate the original change to the code and the textual reason behind it, I think it would be more clear what the rule means.
 
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Phlames

Newcomer
Aug 14, 2009
6
0
1
Doesn't it say in the contract somewhere we get "an uninterrupted 30 minute lunch break" I remember reading this once. And the break has to be given between your fourth and sixth hour at work. Kinda takes the wind out of being recalled. Anyhow enjoy the tax break or fraud however you'all look it.
 

FM_Weasel

Senior Analyst
Dec 9, 2008
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You'll probably run into folks during your career that say they've taken the deduction for years and have never had a problem. Fewer will claim they've survived an audit or two without issue as well.

Neither of this situations makes claiming the deduction legal, it just means they got away with it. I don't take the deduction because I did many hours of reading up on it and I wasn't convinced that I was ok to do so. Everyone's risk tolerance is different.