Solved: Question on Job related expenses due to disability
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kalyaniyer
Level 2

Question on Job related expenses due to disability

Hi.  I am a disabled Computer Software Engineer and I can commute to work with the help of family.  I am giving a detailed account of my circumstances and my question is whether the expenses of my weekly commute to my job is deductible.  I started working on a new job in August 2019 in another city 73 miles away.  Forgive me if this is too much detail.  This is my first time in this forum.  Apologies in advance for your patience.  

 

I live in the California Bay / Silicon Valley area and work in the Monterrey Bay area, a 73 mile drive each way.  The commute is doable daily for the normal person, but for me it is impossible. I need help when at home and depend on others to help me with basic chores and basic living.  I can only drive short distances (about 5 to 6 miles each way).  I am unable to live alone so I stay at a motel during the week in Monterrey. My family drives me to Monterrey and drops me off at the motel.

 

I commute locally from the motel to the work (3 to 5 miles each way depending on motel)  either using Lyft or Uber.  Sometimes, when I am feeling that my meds are working well that week, my family rents a car for me and drops me off at the hotel with a car.   I am certified to drive when properly medicated and stable.   I assume that I cannot deduct the motel to work commute.  I cannot cook, so I order food delivery. I don't know if that is deductible.

 

My family comes back for me during the weekend, on Friday and pick me up an/or the car if I had been left with one.  I am unable to compete for a job locally due to my disability limitations and I need to stay in the Bay area due to my disability and other medical conditions that put me at high risk and therefore advanced specialists care at Stanford and UCSF. 

 

I would like your advice on whether I can deduct my expenses as job related due to disability.  I have extensive medical documentation and records that attest to my extremely limited mobility.  I qualify for disability payments from the government, but that would drastically reduce my/our quality and standard of living.

 

One more thing.  I  entered the expenses anyway and at nearly $12000 is increasing my State refund but makes no dent on my Federal refund.  I thought that my disability would have allowed a deduction on both Federal and State.

 

My expenses are:

1.  Mileage to and from Monterrey from the Bay area : 73 miles X 4 trips (two round trips) per week X 21 weeks on the job.  I did not track mileage by odometer or record keeping. I got the onec way mileage from Google maps.

2. 21 weeks of Motel stay with the number of days per week varying according to holidays and leave.

3.  Some weeks of rental car for local commute.

4,  Meals during the week.

5.  I have Lyft and Uber expenses $30 per week day ($15 each way) when I don't have a car for local commute or the days I cannot drive and don't want to risk driving.

 

Thanks in advance for your help.  

 

Respectfully

 

 

 

 

1 Best answer

Accepted Solutions
Opus 17
Level 15

Question on Job related expenses due to disability

Commuting expenses are never deductible. There is no exception or special accommodation for persons whose commuting expenses are higher than normal due to medical needs.  Additionally, for W-2 employees, all deductions for work related expenses were eliminated for the years 2018 through 2025 by the 2018 tax reform law.  You can enter such expenses and they will flow to your state tax return if the state allows a deduction, that is why the expenses affect your state tax refund but not your federal refund (and these expenses are not deductible in any case). 

Your expenses are also not deductible as medical expenses.  Publication 502 specifically says that transportation to work is not deductible even if special modes of transportation are required.

 

And incidentally, you are not considered disabled for income tax purposes. Disabled means “unable to perform substantial gainful work“, and you clearly perform gainful work, even if accommodations are required.

*Answers are correct to the best of my ability at the time of posting but do not constitute legal or tax advice.*

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5 Replies
Opus 17
Level 15

Question on Job related expenses due to disability

Commuting expenses are never deductible. There is no exception or special accommodation for persons whose commuting expenses are higher than normal due to medical needs.  Additionally, for W-2 employees, all deductions for work related expenses were eliminated for the years 2018 through 2025 by the 2018 tax reform law.  You can enter such expenses and they will flow to your state tax return if the state allows a deduction, that is why the expenses affect your state tax refund but not your federal refund (and these expenses are not deductible in any case). 

Your expenses are also not deductible as medical expenses.  Publication 502 specifically says that transportation to work is not deductible even if special modes of transportation are required.

 

And incidentally, you are not considered disabled for income tax purposes. Disabled means “unable to perform substantial gainful work“, and you clearly perform gainful work, even if accommodations are required.

*Answers are correct to the best of my ability at the time of posting but do not constitute legal or tax advice.*

View solution in original post

Carl
Level 15

Question on Job related expenses due to disability

While there are exceptions for the cost of equipment needed for a disabled person to perform their W-2 job, commuting expenses are not a part of "performing" your W-2 job that you are paid for. So unfortunately, you have nothing you can claim or deduct.

Critter-3
Level 15

Question on Job related expenses due to disability

If possible move closer to the job permanently to reduce the expenses incurred since this seems to be a permanent situation.  

kalyaniyer
Level 2

Question on Job related expenses due to disability

Thank you for your detailed answer.  Much appreciated. I will not deduct.   

kalyaniyer
Level 2

Question on Job related expenses due to disability

That is the plan for next year after my daughter finishes high school.  It is indeed a nice area by the seaside.  It is shocking how your entire life can change overnight so to speak, figuratively.  I was diagnosed with early onset Parkinson's at age 48.  Thanks for your input.

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