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Fly-In race mechanic (1099-NEC)

As a traveling race mechanic, all meals at the race track are paid for by the team while working an event.  When traveling to and from the events, can I deduct any meal purchases (for example, while at the airport, driving to and from the track, etc.)?  Are tools purchased for the job also deductible expenses?  If so, then are there any limits or criteria for those specific purchases?

3 Replies
Employee Tax Expert

Fly-In race mechanic (1099-NEC)

Hi @KnotMo and thanks for the question! 

So if you are a 1099 NEC contract employee, you are a self employed individual in the eyes of the IRS. As long as you are not reimbursed for meals or equipment, you will be able to deduct these on your tax return. You'll want to have proof of what you purchased and how much you paid for it. For most things this means keep your receipts! Keep in mind there may be other expenses you can deduct. Do you have to take any courses to learn how to use the latest and greatest tools or how to use the computer that's part of your equipment. Do you have to pay for your travel? Any money you spend on your business may be deductible and is worth tracking. 

I hope this helps! 

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Fly-In race mechanic (1099-NEC)

Great info - thanks!  I've been tracking many of these expenses but will definitely get more detailed going forward.


So now... more questions:

Airfare is the team's expense; can I claim transportation to/from the airport (taxi, Uber, Lyft, etc.)?

If/when I drive my personal car I usually get reimbursed for mileage, and sometimes tolls - but not always; each team is different.  There are also club memberships one sometimes needs to purchase for event insurance coverage, and a subscription for race monitoring.  If teams don't reimburse for these, may they be claimed?


Employee Tax Expert

Fly-In race mechanic (1099-NEC)

The most important point of all is that the expenses are "ordinary and necessary".  Which means that you definitely need to incur in those expenses so you can provide your services.  Regarding meals, you definitely need to pay attention if they are travel meals or business meals.  They are treated differently.  Business meals usually will be for meetings with clients, or some business contact.  Travel meals are the meals while away from your tax home.  


But to answer your question, in general, if it's an expense you need to incur to perform your services and they are not reimbursed, then they should be deductible (some with certain limitations).  


For more information, you can check Topic No. 511, Business Travel Expenses.

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