I live in Georgia and work in Alaska. Can I deduct my travel expenses?

July 16, 2014 by Dave Du Val, EA
Lake at the base of mountains

Hey Dave,

I live in Georgia but work in the oilfields of Alaska on a 3 weeks on / 3 weeks off schedule as a Form 1099-MISC contractor.  Am I allowed to deduct my airfare and hotel and meal expenses for travel between GA and AK? (Note: Once I arrive at the jobsite, the oil company provides free room and board for me.)

Boyle

 

Boyle,

First thing is, let me try and explain a “tax rule” that does not follow the English dictionary definition of your “home.”  Since your “tax home,” or your main place of business is in Alaska and not Georgia where your main home (where you live) is, these expenses would not be deductible travel expenses since they are not expenses connected with overnight travel away from your tax home, which is how the IRS defines deductible travel and lodging expenses.

The travel to your tax home from your home is considered commute, which 99% of the time is not deductible. The Internal Revenue Code does not make an exception for the distance someone like you has to travel to work; it is still considered commute and therefore not deductible.

Here is a link to more detailed information and examples from the IRS, which hopefully will help you to better understand the concept of “tax home” and how it applies to your specific situation:

 

Deductibly Yours,

Dave

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Rhonda D. Guillory, EA
Learning and Development Manager

 

Rhonda was a Seasonal Tax Return Reviewer at TaxAudit before joining the permanent staff as an Audit Representative in 2009. She has a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and worked in the Information Technology field for 15 years before making a career change. Since transitioning to the field of income tax in 2003, she has prepared and analyzed hundreds of tax returns. Rhonda enjoys helping taxpayers and tax professionals learn and understand the fascinating world of income taxes. Currently, she is the Learning and Development Manager.


 

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