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YAU
Level 2

Need help changing DOT meal deduction from 50% (Standard) to 80% (Special rate for DOT "Hours of Service" limits)

Hi,

We were happy to see that Turbo Tax does permit the DOT meal deductions to be used as a deduction for "employees" working in the transportation industry.

 

The problem we are having is that the rate is locked at 50% (standard deduction) instead of 80% (Special Rates: Department of Transportation's "hours of service" limits) as is explained in the IRS Publication.

 

I need help to correct/change from 50% to 80% as described in the IRS Publication 463 at https://www.irs.gov/publications/p463#en_US_2019_publink10009980.

 

Thank you for your help!

9 Replies
AnnetteB6
Expert Alumni

Need help changing DOT meal deduction from 50% (Standard) to 80% (Special rate for DOT "Hours of Service" limits)

When entering information for the Schedule C business using the CD/downloaded version of TurboTax, use the following steps:

  • First, in the Business Profile section, you must be sure that the box for being subject to the DOT hours of service limits has been checked in the Special Situations area toward the bottom of the screen. 
  • Then, go to the Business Expenses > Other Common Business Expenses area and scroll to the Meals and Entertainment category.  Since the DOT box has been checked, you will see a category for the 80% limit where you can enter your information. 

 

When entering information for the Schedule C business using TurboTax Online, use the following steps:

  • First, in the General Info section, you must be sure that the box for being subject to the DOT hours of service limits has been checked in the Other Situations area toward the bottom of the screen. 
  • Then, go to the Business Expenses area and scroll to the Meals and Entertainment category.  Since the DOT box has been checked, you will see a category for the 80% limit where you can enter your information. 

 

[edited 6/9/2020 | 5:51 am PST]

 

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YAU
Level 2

Need help changing DOT meal deduction from 50% (Standard) to 80% (Special rate for DOT "Hours of Service" limits)

Thank you for this detailed information. 

 

I'm not sure why but the software keeps switching back to 50% (Standard rate) as soon as I enter the information? I'm not sure what to do?🙄

YAU
Level 2

Need help changing DOT meal deduction from 50% (Standard) to 80% (Special rate for DOT "Hours of Service" limits)

Hi,

The calculations in Form 2106 are not updating to reflect the 80% for Meals covered by DOT rules?

Step 1 - Enter Your Expenses is correct

A     Meals covered by DOT rules regarding hours of service limits

 

The problem I am having is under Step 3 - Figure Expenses to Deduct:

Line #8 is correct (carrying down the figures entered)

 

Line #9  is automatically is automatically calculating at 50% (Column B line 8 * .50) rather than 80% (Column B Line *.80)?

 

TurboTax software allows me to OVERRIDE the calculation? 

 

Should I OVERRIDE this and enter the correct amount (Column B Line *.80)?

 

Thank you for your help!

CatinaT1
Expert Alumni

Need help changing DOT meal deduction from 50% (Standard) to 80% (Special rate for DOT "Hours of Service" limits)

The 2106 is for unreimbursed employee expenses and these not deductible on the federal level.  This form is only available and used IF your state allows for a deduction. 

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YAU
Level 2

Need help changing DOT meal deduction from 50% (Standard) to 80% (Special rate for DOT "Hours of Service" limits)

This is very confusing? The IRS Publication 463 (2019), Travel, Gift, and Car Expenses

For use in preparing 2019 Returns:

 

 

IRS_Pub463.gifhttps://www.irs.gov/publications/p463#en_US_2019_publink10009980

***

Individuals subject to "hours of service" limits.

 

You can deduct a higher percentage of your meal expenses while traveling away from your tax home if the meals take place during or incident to any period subject to the Department of Transportation's "hours of service" limits. The percentage is 80%.

Individuals subject to the Department of Transportation's "hours of service" limits include the following persons.

  • Certain air transportation workers (such as pilots, crew, dispatchers, mechanics, and control tower operators) who are under Federal Aviation Administration regulations.

  • Interstate truck operators and bus drivers who are under Department of Transportation regulations.

  • Certain railroad employees (such as engineers, conductors, train crews, dispatchers, and control operations personnel) who are under Federal Railroad Administration regulations.

  • Certain merchant mariners who are under Coast Guard regulations.

Even if the Federal form is permitting the Federal guidelines be applicable for the state deductions, the problem is that the form only gives the deduction at 50% (standard deduction) not the 80% (special deduction for DOT time limits)?

heidijoy1234
New Member

Need help changing DOT meal deduction from 50% (Standard) to 80% (Special rate for DOT "Hours of Service" limits)

Did you ever get an answer to this question? I'm having the same problem. California DOES allow the deduction so I need the Form 2106 to calculate correctly and I can't figure out how to get it to calculate to 80%.

AmyC
Expert Alumni

Need help changing DOT meal deduction from 50% (Standard) to 80% (Special rate for DOT "Hours of Service" limits)

  1. Return to federal deductions
  2. Scroll down to your 2106 and edit.
  3. When you reach Do any of these less common situations apply to your work?
  4. Select that you are in the transportation industry 
  5. When you get to the meals page, the additional question will appear. This qualifies for the 80% deduction.

 

 

@heidijoy1234

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heidijoy1234
New Member

Need help changing DOT meal deduction from 50% (Standard) to 80% (Special rate for DOT "Hours of Service" limits)

Hi @AmyC - Thank you for your reply! Those items were already checked - that's why I'm reaching out. The problem is that the form is still calculating at 50% instead of 80% (for employees subject to the DOT rules). I did find a workaround though - after hours of digging. I have the desktop (downloaded) version of the program so I can go into the forms and have more control to make sure they are correct. There is a box inside the worksheet for form 2106 where one can enter information relevant to a state tax return. I don't think this is possible for the online version of TurboTax. I do appreciate your help though!

AmyC
Expert Alumni

Need help changing DOT meal deduction from 50% (Standard) to 80% (Special rate for DOT "Hours of Service" limits)

That is good information to know. Thanks for the update!

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