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How do I figure my Meal expenses covered by department of transportation Rules

 
20 Replies

How do I figure my Meal expenses covered by department of transportation Rules

Over the road truck drivers get no per diem but buy meals on the road.  How do I compute the deduction?
MargaretL
Expert Alumni

How do I figure my Meal expenses covered by department of transportation Rules

Since you are a DOT employee:

Enter Perdiem as Meal Expenses covered by the department of transportation Rules - you would enter you total meal expenses in that section. 

  1. Federal Taxes
  2. Deductions & Credits
  3. Job-related Expenses - follow the interview screen, on Do any of these uncommon situations apply, be sure to indicate that you are in the transportation industry - You are in the transportation industry if your work involves moving people or goods by airplane, barge, ship, bus, train or truck. Follow the questions, enter your total perdiem (reduced by your employer's reimbursement) in Meal Expenses covered by the department of transportation Rules (see pics). Please enter the full amount, 80% of it will be automatically reflected as your deduction.

To figure your unreimbursed DOT per diem, simply subtract your employer's reimbursement (if any) from the DOT rates ($59 or $65 if outside the continental U.S.) and multiply by the number of full days you were on the road. For details and how to count partial days, please use the link below:

https://ttlc.intuit.com/questions/2541196-where-do-i-enter-my-department-of-transportation-dot-per-d...

Also, the GSA website lists rates by location if you would like those. Note that lower rates apply for the first and last days of travel.

How do I figure my Meal expenses covered by department of transportation Rules

How about 2018? Is this still a deduction for Transportation Workers? I’m a Flight Attendant.
renfro62
New Member

How do I figure my Meal expenses covered by department of transportation Rules

Does this also count for those in the rail industry? I am a conductor for the railroad.
nlinder
New Member

How do I figure my Meal expenses covered by department of transportation Rules

Ya! It is a good deduction for rails!!
jmoles74
New Member

How do I figure my Meal expenses covered by department of transportation Rules

Didn't this change with the tax code revisions in 2017? I thought DOT workers lost the per diem deduction for meals.

DawnC
Employee Tax Expert

How do I figure my Meal expenses covered by department of transportation Rules

Yes, there were changes due to Tax Reform.  Employees can no longer take federal deductions for meals.  However, some states do allow the deduction and self-employed workers can still take the deduction.  

 

  • If you are a W-2 employee, you cannot deduct these expenses.
  • If you are a 1099 independent contractor or another self-employed taxpayer, you can still use the Per Diem Rates to figure your deduction.

 

@jmoles74 

@ikya99 

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BarbaraW22
Expert Alumni

How do I figure my Meal expenses covered by department of transportation Rules

The special standard meal allowance (or per diem) rate for individuals working in the Transportation Industry (subject to the U.S. Department of Transportation "hours of service" rules) is $66 per day in the Continental U.S. ($71 per day outside the continental U.S.) for travel between 10/1/18 and 9/30/20.

 

Transportation workers can claim a deduction of 80% for meals (compared to the general 50% limitation.) 

 

Per IRS Publication 463, you can claim the special standard meal allowance if you work in the transportation industry. You are considered to be in the transportation industry if your work:

 

  • Directly involves moving people or goods by airplane, barge, bus, ship, train, or truck; and
  • Regularly requires you to travel away from home and, during any single trip, usually involves travel to areas eligible for different standard meal allowance rates.

 

You are subject to the Department of Transportation's “hours of service” limits if you are one of the following:

 

  • Certain air transportation workers who are under Federal Aviation Administration regulations
  • Interstate truck operators and bus drivers who are under the Department of Transportation regulation
  • Certain railroad employees who are under Federal Railroad Administration regulations
  • Certain merchant mariners who are under Coast Guard regulations

 

PLEASE NOTE:  If you are an employee who receives a W-2, you cannot claim a deduction on your federal return for meals and incidental expenses. Unreimbursed employee business expenses are no longer deductible as a miscellaneous itemized deduction unless you are in a special category of employment. Please see IRS Publication 529 for more information.

 

If you are self-employed, you are eligible to claim your meals and incidental expenses on Schedule C.

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ikya99
New Member

How do I figure my Meal expenses covered by department of transportation Rules

This is a very confusing rule.  My husband works for Walmart and gets a W2 but they do not reimburse fully for meals in box 1.    He is under DOT rules.  Can he or can he not still take this deduction?

RobertG
Expert Alumni

How do I figure my Meal expenses covered by department of transportation Rules

See the answer by MargaretL, above.

 

Since he is covered under DOT rules he can claim per diem.

 

@ikya99

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ikya99
New Member

How do I figure my Meal expenses covered by department of transportation Rules

I was good with her answer until I got to this caveat:  PLEASE NOTE:  If you are an employee who receives a W-2, you cannot claim a deduction on your federal return for meals and incidental expenses. 

 

ikya99
New Member

How do I figure my Meal expenses covered by department of transportation Rules

Also, Margarets answer was in 2019 presumably for the 2018 tax year.  I'm doing our 2019 taxes and the guys that work with my husband keep saying that their tax guys are telling them they can't use this deduction anymore but it's still showing up on turbo tax deluxe for 2019.  Although it does say only 4 kinds of people can take the deduction and none of them are under DOT rules.  Publication 463 for 2019 still says it's available.  I printed it out and am going to read it now.  Still confused

MaryK4
Expert Alumni

How do I figure my Meal expenses covered by department of transportation Rules

A W2 employee (other than the exceptions mentioned) CANNOT take the Meals deduction after 2017.  The Publ 463 and DOT rules apply specifically to Self-Employed or Independent Contractors.

@ikya99

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em2345
Returning Member

How do I figure my Meal expenses covered by department of transportation Rules

I'm confused with part of the explanation.  In the parentheses, "Follow the questions, enter your total perdiem (reduced by your employer's reimbursement) what does that mean?"  I've added all the Per Diem for the whole year.   Is that the amount I enter in the box that says Meal expenses covered by the Department of Transportation rules?

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