Denise from Michigan, CPA 

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Denise advise for truckers

You are traveling away from you tax home if:

· Your duties require you to be away from the general area of your tax home (defined later) 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.

This rest requirement is not satisfied by merely napping in your car. You do not have to be away from your tax home for a whole day or from dusk to dawn as long as your relief from duty is long enough to get necessary sleep or rest.

Example 1.

You are a truck driver. You leave your home terminal on a regularly scheduled round-trip run between two cities and return home 16 hours later. During the run, you have 6 hours off at your turnaround point where you eat two meals and rent a hotel room to get necessary sleep before starting the return trip. You are considered to be away from home.

Example 2.

You are a truck driver. You leave your terminal and return to it later the same day. You get an hour off at your turnaround point to eat. Because you are not off to get necessary sleep and the brief time off is not an adequate rest period, you are not traveling away from home.

Your Tax Home

To determine whether you are traveling away from home, you must first determine the location of your tax home.  Generally, your tax home is where you maintain your family home. It includes the entire city or general area in which your business or work is located.

If you do not maintain a family home and there is no place where you regularly live, you are considered an itinerant (a transient) and your tax home is wherever you work. As an itinerant, you cannot claim a travel expense deduction because you are never considered to be traveling away from home.

For example,  William McNiell spent almost all of 1998 and 1999 on the road, so the Tax Court lightened his load by about $7,400.

Mr. McNiell is a long-haul truck driver. According to the Tax Court, he spent 360 days on the road in 1998 and 345 days on the road in 1999. He whiled away the remaining 5 days of 1998 rent-free at his "partner's" house in Green Bay.  His 20 days off for 1999 were spent at a mobile home in Missouri. He deducted his travel, lodging and meal expenses on the road when he filed his 1998 and 1999 tax returns.

The tax law permits business travelers to deduct their traveling costs, including food and lodging expenses, when "away from home." For someone constantly on the go, this causes a dilemma: what, exactly, is your "tax home"?  he court decided that Mr. McNiell was homeless, at least for tax purposes.

Meal expenses

You cannot deduct expenses for meals that are lavish or extravagant. An expense is not considered lavish or extravagant if it is reasonable based on the facts and circumstances. Expenses will not be disallowed merely because they are more than a fixed dollar amount or take place at deluxe restaurants, hotels, nightclubs, or resorts.

60% limit on meals.   You can figure your meal expenses using either of the following methods.

· Actual cost.

· The standard meal allowance. (This can be a different amount for each city)

You generally can deduct only 60% of the unreimbursed cost of your meals.   The 60% limit applies whether the unreimbursed meal expense is for business travel or business entertainment.

Actual cost.   You can use the actual cost of your meals to figure the amount of your expense before reimbursement and application of the 60% deduction limit. If you use this method, you must keep records of your actual cost.

Standard meal allowance.   Generally, you can use the “standard meal allowance” method as an alternative to the actual cost method. It allows you to use a set amount for your daily meals and incidental expenses (M&IE), instead of keeping records of your actual costs. The set amount varies depending on where and when you travel.

On this pages of this web site you will find resources concerning the trucking industry.  This information was collected from many independent sources.  The opinions expressed by each source is their opinion and is not necessarily the opinion of Denise or the CPA Moms.  Each article or news item offers a different point of view and the source of each.   This information is for general information only. 

If you want a specific opinion, please
contact me.


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Articles about Nonprofit Organizations 

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