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Tax Reform Update: Employee business expenses can be claimed only by Armed Forces reservists, qualified performing artists, fee-basis state or local government officials, and employees with impairment-related work expenses.

Per IRS Instructions for Form 2106 Employee Business Expenses, page 3:

Standard Meal Allowance. Instead of actual cost, you may be able to claim the standard meal allowance for your daily meals and incidental expenses (M&IE) while away from your tax home overnight. Under this method, instead of keeping records of your actual meal expenses, you deduct a specified amount, depending on where you travel. However, you must still keep records to prove the time, place, and business purpose of your travel.

See IRS Publication 463, page 5, for details on how to figure your deduction using the standard meal allowance, including special rules for partial days of travel and transportation workers.

Per diem rates are entered on Form 2106, Lines 3 and 5 for travel expenses and meals. To enter these expenses into the TaxAct program:
  1. From within your TaxAct return (Online or Desktop) click Federal. On smaller devices, click the menu icon in the upper left-hand corner, then select Federal
  2. Click Other Adjustments to expand the category, then click National Guard/Reserve member from Form 2106 or Qualified performing Artist or Fee-Basis Government Official from Form 2106.
  3. The program will continue with the interview questions to enter the appropriate information.

The total calculated on Form 2106 will transfer to Schedule A as unreimbursed employee expenses.

Generally, taxpayers may deduct 50% of business meal and entertainment expenses. 

You can find the current rates on the U.S. General Services Administration's website Per Diem Rates. A searchable Excel file can be downloaded from this site to make finding the applicable rates easier.


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