Tax Topics

Jackson Hewitt® is here to help you understand complex tax laws so you can be better informed and take full advantage of tax law provisions.

These topics explore some of the more important aspects of complicated tax laws, in a manner that is understandable and concise.


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Job-Related Travel Expenses

You might be able to deduct travel expenses if you are an employee who temporarily travels away from your tax home for business purposes. You are traveling away from home if both of the following apply:

  • Your duties require you to be away from the general area of your tax home substantially longer than an ordinary day's work.
  • You need to sleep or rest to meet the demands of your work while away from home.

Travel Expenses

For tax purposes, travel expenses are the ordinary and necessary expenses of traveling away from home for a business, a profession, or a job. The following chart lists common deductible expenses you might have when traveling away from home for business purposes.

If you have expenses for

Then, you can deduct the cost of

Transportation

Travel by airplane, train, bus, or other vehicle between your home and your business destination. If you are given a free ticket or are riding free as a result of a frequent traveler or similar program, your cost is zero.

Taxi, commuter bus, and airport limousine

Fares for these and other types of transportation that take you between one of the following:

  • The airport or station and your hotel
  • The hotel and the work location of your customers or clients, your business meeting place, or your temporary work location

Baggage and shipping

Sending baggage and sample or display material between your regular and temporary work locations.

Car

Operating and maintaining your vehicle when traveling away from home on business. You can deduct actual expenses or the standard mileage rate, as well as business-related tolls and parking. If you rent a vehicle while away from home on business, you can deduct only the business-use portion of the expenses

Lodging and meals

Your lodging and meals if your business trip is overnight or long enough that you need to stop for sleep or rest to properly perform your duties. Meals include amounts spent for food, beverages, taxes, and related tips.

Cleaning

Dry cleaning and laundry.

Telephone

Business calls while on your business trip. This includes business communication by fax machine or other communication devices.

Tips

Tips you pay for any expenses in this table.

Other

Other similar ordinary and necessary expenses related to your business travel. These expenses might include the cost of transportation to or from a business meal, fees for public stenographer services, rent for computer equipment, and the cost of operating and maintaining a house trailer.

Tax Home

For job-related travel expenses, you must be traveling away from your tax home. The following guidelines clarify where your tax home is considered to be:

  • Generally, your tax home is your regular place of business or post of duty, regardless of where you maintain your family home. The tax home includes the entire city or general area of your place of business.
  • If you have more than one regular place of business, your tax home refers to your main place of business.
  • If you have no main place of business because of the nature of your work or the circumstances, your tax home may be the place where you regularly live or where your main home is located. Use the following to determine whether your main home can be considered your tax home:
  • You perform part of your business close to your main home and you use that home for lodging while doing business in the area.
  • You duplicate the living expenses you already have at your main home that you duplicate because your business requires you to be away from that home.
  • You have not abandoned the home in which have historically lived and considered your main home, you have members of your family living at your main home, or you often use that home for lodging.
  • If there is no place where you regularly live, your tax home is wherever you work. In this case, you cannot claim a travel expense deduction because you are never considered to be traveling away from home.

Temporary Travel

To have qualified job-related travel expenses, you can either be temporarily away from home or on a temporary assignment. You are considered to be temporarily away from home if your duties require you to be away from the general area of your tax home substantially longer than an ordinary day's work and you need to sleep or rest to meet the demands of your work while away from home.

You will generally be considered on a temporary assignment if you realistically expect it to last (and it does last) for one year or less. Note: If you are a federal employee participating in a federal crime investigation or prosecution, you are not subject to the one-year rule.

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