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To enter meals as an unreimbursed employee expense on Form 2106:
  1. From within your TaxACT return (Online or Desktop) click the Federal Q&A tab
  2. Click Itemized or Standard Deductions to expand the section, then click Unreimbursed employee expenses - Subject to 2% of AGI limit
  3. Click Yes on the next two screens. If necessary, click Add to enter a new form or Review to access a form already created.
  4. The program will proceed with the interview questions for you to enter or review unreimbursed employee expenses. Enter your total meals and entertainment expenses on the screen titled Employee Expenses - Transportation, Travel, and Meals and Entertainment. You can figure your meals expense using the actual cost, or use the standard meal allowance (per diem). See IRS Publication 1542 for per diem amounts.

Additional Information

Per IRS Publication 17 Your Federal Income Tax (For Individuals), page 178:

Meals and Incidental Expenses

You can deduct the cost of meals in either of the following situations:

  • It is necessary for you to stop for substantial sleep or rest to properly perform your duties while traveling away from home on business.
  • The meal is business-related entertainment.

50% limit on meals.

You can figure your meals expense using either of the following methods.

  • Actual cost
  • The standard meal allowance (per diem)

Standard meal allowance.

Generally, you can use the "standard meal allowance" method as an alternative to the actual cost method. It allows you to use a set amount for your daily meals and incidental expenses (M&IE), instead of keeping records of your actual costs. The set amount varies depending on where and when you travel. If you use the standard meal allowance, you still must keep records to prove the time, place and business purpose of your travel.  

Special rate for transportation workers.

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. 

For additional information please refer to IRS Publication 334 Tax Guide for Small Business or IRS Publication 463 Travel, Entertainment, Gift, and Car Expenses.

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