My husband was a traveling welder in 2016. His company had a mileage reimbursement policy that they would pay mileage to and from an out-of-state job site at the beginning and end of each job. They paid subsistence and lodging Monday to Friday, but not on the weekends. Employees had to either pay out of pocket for lodging or come home every weekend. Typically, these job sites would be in Illinois or Minnesota, and our home of residence is Kentucky. Is he allowed to claim the mileage to and from the job site every time he came home since the company wasn’t reimbursing him for lodging on the weekend?
Your husband’s travel expenses incurred on the weekends are deductible in 2016 as employee business expenses. These expenses are reported on Form 2106, and then wind up on Schedule A as deductions subject to the 2 percent of adjusted gross income floor. So, he will have to “eat” some of these costs because they won’t be deductible in full. As long as he is on temporary assignment (a term of less than one year), he can deduct meals and lodging away from home, even on days off. He is also entitled to deduct mileage from his employer’s office location (if there is one) to the job site and back every time he traveled back and forth.
Note: this deduction was available in 2016 and 2017, but it is no longer available in 2018. The itemized deduction for employee business expenses was repealed with the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act effective Jan. 1, 2018.
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Answered by: Susan D. Jarvis, CPA, is a sole practitioner in Nazareth, Pa.