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Where is my tax home?

I was researching tax tips and I was curious about deducting meal expenses. Are they only deductible when your work takes you a reasonable distance from your “tax home”? As a 1099 delivery driver, I drive from my home to a terminal 20 miles away. That’s where i pick up all my packages. However, the area I deliver to is 80-100 miles north of the terminal! Am I to figure my terminal is my main place of business, my tax home, and the areas my deliveries take me to is considered a reasonable distance for meals to be deductible?

5 Replies

Where is my tax home?

You are not "traveling" since you are not away from home substantially longer than an ordinary day's work.  So the fact that you travel 100 miles away from home each day doesn't matter.   Meals are not deductible expenses.

 

https://www.irs.gov/taxtopics/tc511

 

"You're traveling away from home if your duties require you to be away from the general area of your tax home for a period substantially longer than an ordinary day's work, and you need to get sleep or rest to meet the demands of your work while away." 

 

Also note that your 'deductible travel miles" do NOT include the distance from your home to the terminal or from the last drop off to your home at the end of the day.  THose are considered "commuting miles". 

 

Where is my tax home?

So time is the factor, meaning if I were to go from my terminal and drive to the area where my deliveries are and I got a hotel, driving back the following morning, would it then be considered a travel expense? Secondly, I’m guessing an “ordinary days work” is an 8 hour work period. How much longer would be substantial enough to be considered traveling? 12 hours? 

Where is my tax home?

@Savvydesp - I encourage you to read the words in the link provided.  The IRS wording is normally broad and it is up to you to defend if audited - note the other way around. 

 

"Generally, your tax home is the entire city or general area where your main place of business or work is located, regardless of where you maintain your family home."

 

"You're traveling away from home if your duties require you to be away from the general area of your tax home for a period substantially longer than an ordinary day's work,"

 

in your question about staying at a hotel (and the associated meal expenses)...are you away from the general area of your tax home? (if no, then not deductible).   

 

 

 

 

Where is my tax home?


@Savvydesp wrote:

So time is the factor, meaning if I were to go from my terminal and drive to the area where my deliveries are and I got a hotel, driving back the following morning, would it then be considered a travel expense? Secondly, I’m guessing an “ordinary days work” is an 8 hour work period. How much longer would be substantial enough to be considered traveling? 12 hours? 


Simply put, your travel must be far enough away from home that you need to stay overnight away from home.  

 

Put another way, whatever your "normal" workday is, is never deductible.  That's your choice and it's part of your ordinary living expenses.  For example, I used to work with a colleague who lived in Buffalo NY. Monday mornings he would drive 90 miles to Rochester where he worked.  He worked 4-10 hour days, staying in a cheap studio apartment.  Thursdays after work he drove to Buffalo to spend a 3 day weekend with his family.  This was his normal "commute", and neither his lodging nor his meals were deductible.  They were his choice and normal for him, and his normal everyday expenses are not deductible. 

 

To me, it sounds like the terminal and your delivery area are your tax home.  You could move closer to the terminal or delivery area, and if you move more than 50 miles on account of work, there are certain tax benefits.  But as long as you choose to live 100 miles from your daily work area, you just have a really long commute, and thats your choice and nothing about that is deductible.  That's your "normal."

Where is my tax home?

So you say my tax home is the terminal where I get my deliveries from, and the area I deliver to as well? The other thing is the company that I work for as an independent contractor delivers all over Washington state so, when you say “normal commute”, in my situation, they could offer me work delivering to a different city every day, with the furthest being just over 100 miles away if I chose to accept it. Although, from what I’ve read and what y’all have told me, I have no doubt that there’s little I could deduct as business expenses in this situation, save for the mileage I put on my vehicle, but it never hurts to explore and gather information. Thanks!

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