home office tax issues

This past year was the first year that I was fortunate enough to work from my home. Working from my home has been a wonderful change for both personal and professional reasons. The only thing that caused a slight issue was the tax filing changes that I had to endure. The office in my home was now considered a tax deduction. I had to get some help learning how to deduct the things that are allowed on my federal taxes. If you are new to working from home and have a home office, this blog can help you learn what you need to know before tax time rolls around.

Deducting Meals As A Business Expense On A Personal Income Tax Return


Tax filers who travel for business purposes usually spend more money on meals when traveling than they normally spend on food. Employees and self-employed persons may deduct a portion of the cost of meals bought when traveling away from home on business.

Before calculating the total cost of business meals, its important to make note of the fact that for most employees, the deduction itself is only 50 percent of the total expense. Even companies that pay the cost of meals for their traveling employees can deduct only half of the expense. For individual tax filers, there are two methods to calculate meal expenses incurred while traveling on business.

Sales receipts

The most obvious method available to keep track of meal expenses is to simply hold on to your receipts. Travel expenses are generally deductible on any business trip that requires you to stop for sleep. If you are reimbursed for a portion of your meal expenses, only the unreimbursed portion may be deducted. Organizing receipts for a year can become tedious, but there is an alternative method of calculating your deductible meal expenses.

Per diem rates

Business travelers can deduct a standard meal allowance for each day spent traveling for business purposes. The per diem amount for tax filers is the same amount used by traveling employees of the federal government. The federal per diem rates are published on the website of the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA).

The per diem for meals varies according to location, but the lowest daily amount for 2016 is $51. In certain high-cost areas, the 2016 per diem rate for meals is as high as $74.

Increased rates for transportation workers

Workers who are subject to hours-of-service rules put forth by the U.S. Department of Transportation can deduct a meal per diem of $63 in 2016. Transportation workers can also deduct 80 percent of their total meal expense, rather than 50 percent. Transportation workers eligible for the increased per diem deduction include the following categories.

  • Airline crews
  • Interstate truck drivers and bus operators
  • Railroad crews

Tax form calculations

If you are an employee, the deductible portion of your unreimbursed meal expenses is calculated on IRS Form 2106. A deduction calculated on Form 2106 can only be taken as an itemized deduction. If you are self-employed, the deductible portion of your cost of meals is entered as an expense on IRS Schedule C. Contact a CPA at Amos Maney & Payne CPA's LLC or a similar firm for more information about deducting the costs of business travel.


29 September 2016