Form 2106 - Per Diem Meals Deduction

To enter meals as an unreimbursed employee expense on Form 2106:

  1. From within your TaxAct return (Online or Desktop), click Federal. On smaller devices, click in the upper left-hand corner, then click Federal.
  2. Click Other Adjustments in the Federal Quick Q&A Topics menu to expand, then click National Guard/Reserve member from Form 2106 or Qualified performing Artist or Fee-Basis Government Official from Form 2106.
  3. Click + Add Form 2106 to create a new copy of the form or click Edit to review a form already created.
  4. Continue with the interview process to enter all of the appropriate information.
  5. On the screen titled Employee Expenses - Meals, enter your Total meals expenses (and entertainment expenses), then click Continue. You can figure your meals expense using the actual cost or use the standard meal allowance (per diem).

Note. See the Instructions for Form 2106 or use the U.S. General Services Administration Per Diem Rates website.

Additional Information

Per IRS Publication 463 Travel, Gift, and Car Expenses, on page 5:


You can deduct the cost of meals if it is necessary for you to stop for substantial sleep or rest to properly perform your duties while traveling away from home on business. Meal and entertainment expenses are discussed in chapter 2.

50% limit on meals. You can figure your meals expense using either of the following methods.

  • Actual cost.
  • The standard meal allowance.

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. In this publication, “standard meal allowance” refers to the federal rate for M&IE, discussed later under Amount of standard meal allowance. If you use the standard meal allowance, you still must keep records to prove the time, place, and business purpose of your travel. See the recordkeeping rules for travel in chapter 5.

On page 6:

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.

Note. For additional information, please refer to IRS Publication 334 Tax Guide for Small Business.

Note that any link in the information above is updated each year automatically and will take you to the most recent version of the document at the time it is accessed.