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Old 02-11-2015, 03:11 PM
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Railroad Meal Allowance Help

I am a locomotive engineer and I have a question about the meal allowance. I work on call and out of NYC. I usually work within the limits of just the calendar day but there are plenty of times I work overnights or longer shifts that require a break. I know that I do qualify for the DOT Meal Allowance because of my job and I am not reimbursed by my employer.
Am I able to claim the meal allowance for: each day that I work, only under certain conditions or not at all. When I read the IRS info I get a little confused and looking around the internet for answers just doesn't seem reliable. There is some info about claiming 3/4 of the standard amount and some info that just says 50% if it's more than 2% of my income.
If I am able to claim the meal allowance does it matter how much I spent if I go with the standard rate? What I mean is if the standard allowance is $59 and I only spend $16 on my meals for that day do I just claim the $16 or can I claim the whole $59.
I know that there are different amounts for the different cities that I travel to, but If my schedule for the day requires me to go back and forth between the different states & cities do I just claim my home terminal?
Any help would be great, I know that I am not the only person in this boat so if you can answer this then I extent a huge thanks from all of us with this question.



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Old 02-11-2015, 04:23 PM
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Am I able to claim the meal allowance for: each day that I work, only under certain conditions or not at all. When I read the IRS info I get a little confused and looking around the internet for answers just doesn't seem reliable. There is some info about claiming 3/4 of the standard amount and some info that just says 50% if it's more than 2% of my income.========>>>>>>>>>> In general, you can deduct 50% the cost of your unreimbursed business-related meals and entertainment while traveling away from home, however, the limit does not apply to expenses reimbursed under a U.S. Government expense allowance arrangement. You can deduct a higher percentage of your unreimbursed business-related meal expenses if the meals take place during any period subject to the DOT hours of service limits. The percentage you can claim is 70% for certain railroad employees (such as engineers, conductors, train crews, dispatchers, and control operations personnel) who are under Federal Railroad Administration regulations. You can either use actual cost or standard meal allowance. If you use the actual cost, figured at 70%, you can include tips at 15%. Anything you tip over 15% can not be claimed. For 2013, 80% of meal costs are deductible for the railroad operator subject to the DOT hours of service limits.
If I am able to claim the meal allowance does it matter how much I spent if I go with the standard rate? What I mean is if the standard allowance is $59 and I only spend $16 on my meals for that day do I just claim the $16 or can I claim the whole $59.=======>>correct; you must keep a record as it required anyway for all away-from-home business travel of the time, place, and business purpose of the trips. As long as you have this proof, you may claim the allowance even if your actual costs are less than the allowance! For example, suppose you were in Dallas on business for five full business days excluding the arrival and departure days and you averaged spending only $35 per day for food, beverages and tips totaling $175. Your allowed deduction for those five full business days in Dallas’d be $355 ;5 X $71. In this example, you double your tax deduction by simply doing your meal allowance research and documenting the amounts in your travel journal. If you frequently travel overnight on business, this approach, consistently applied throughout the year, will lower your tax due or increase your refund. the standard meal allowance for 2014 and 2015 is generally $46 per day.However, higher rates apply in major cities and other high-cost locations designated by the government. The basic and high-cost-area meal rats are determined by the federal government's General Services Administration . The IRS allows you to use the applicable rates in figuring your meal allowance deduction. For travel within the continental U.S.,; For example, in 2014, the M&IE rate for both Dallas, TX and San Francisco, CA is $71 per day.





I know that there are different amounts for the different cities that I travel to, but If my schedule for the day requires me to go back and forth between the different states & cities do I just claim my home terminal?===========>>>>>>>>>>>>you need to keep a record that is required anyway for all away-from-home business travel of the time, place, and business purpose of the trips.
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