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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David E. Du Val, EA
Chief Compliance Officer for TRI Holdco

 

Dave Du Val, EA, is Chief Compliance Officer for TRI Holdco. Inc., the parent company of TaxAudit, and Centenal Tax Group. A nationally recognized speaker and educator, Dave is well known for his high energy and dynamic presentation style. He is a frequent and popular guest speaker for the California Society of Tax Consultants, the California Society of Enrolled Agents and the National Association of Tax Professionals. Dave frequently contributes tax tips and information to news publications, including US News and World Report, USA Today, and CPA Practice Advisor. Dave is an Enrolled Agent who has prepared thousands of returns during his career and has trained and mentored hundreds of tax professionals. He is a member of the National Association of Tax Professionals, the National Association of Enrolled Agents and the California Society of Enrolled Agents. Dave also holds a Master of Arts in Education and has been educating people since 1972. 


 

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Tax Audit written on financial paper
A tax professional spends four to ten or more hours per audit - think of the time and stress you could save yourself if you purchase pre-paid audit defense.
1040 tax return with Passport and $100 bill
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Full Audit Representation through an Audit Defense Membership, is included at no additional cost. Other tax experts charge roughly $150/hour for representation.
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