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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, on 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 Travel, Gift, and Car Expenses, on 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 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 either 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.

The total calculated on Form 2106 will transfer to Schedule A (Form 1040) Itemized Deductions 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 Per Diem Rates website. A searchable Excel file can be downloaded from this site to make finding the applicable rates easier.

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.


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