What are Meal expenses covered by department of transportation Rules

  • How do I enter my meal expenses covered by DOT? I am a railroad conductor and spend several nights a month out of town. How do I enter this deduction?
  • i live in reno nv and work on a tug and barge out of miami fl 182.5 days a year how do i come up with the meal allowance for transportation industry number
  • It would be the number of days times the per diem rate, reduced by any reimbursement from your employer.  The rate is in the post below.
You can use a special standard meal allowance if you work in the transportation industry. You are 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.

This includes 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.

The amount is $59/day overnight ($65 in Alaska or Hawaii).  Eighty percent is deductible, compared to 50% for non-DOT travel.
Where to Deduct

The deduction is a miscellaneous itemized deduction if you are an employee.  They are claimed under the deductions and credit tab for employment related expenses, them job related expenses.  Miscellaneous itemized deductions are only available if you qualify to itemize and only to the extent that they exceed 2% of your Adjusted Gross Income.  

Example:  If your AGI is $50,000, only miscellaneous deductions over $1,000 are deductible.  Because of this, many items deductible as miscellaneous itemized deductions have no tax value because the taxpayer doesn't itemize, or because they are lost in the 2% of adjusted gross income limitation. 

The amount is $59/day overnight ($65 in Alaska or Hawaii).  Eighty percent is deductible, compared to 50% for non-DOT travel.

  • So if I am an air traffic controller I can claim $59. per day everyday I worked in 2012 at my assigned location?
  • You cannot.  While you may meet the definition you still need to meet the requirement for business expenses - that is, you must be away from your "tax home" (the area where you are principally employed), overnight, on business.
  • Where do i deduct if I received 1099 MISC forms?  I am self employed.
  • what are they talking about when they say the DOT hour of service limits?
  • The DOT has a limit for workers on how many hours one can drive and/or be "on duty" within a given time period. Truck drivers who use a log book are one of those people.
what is the rate per day for meals as a over the road truck driver
  • The amount is $59/day overnight ($65 in Alaska or Hawaii).  Eighty percent is deductible, compared to 50% for non-DOT travel.

    (The perdiem is intended to cover meals plus incidental expenses such as fees and tips given to porters, baggage carriers, bellhops, hotel maids, stewards or stewardesses and others on ships.  Expenses other than those would be separately deductible.)
  • So if my company is taking care of the perdiem for me, then I dont need to worry about Meal expenses for a deduction?
  • Often the per diem the gov sets is more than your employer pays, so sometimes it's worth figuring.   If you are out 300 days that's 17,000 deductible, before the 2% of agi and subtracting the 20% that's not deductible.   There is usually a work sheet, can't find it this year.
What is the rate for local drivers?
  • To deduct meals you need to be away from your home area, overnight, on business.  Consequently, most local drivers wouldn't qualify for meal expenses.
  • So if you work nights away from your home area is that deductible?
  • You have to be away overnight.  Overnight infers that some type of lodging or rest is required.
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