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Robin D.
Robin D., Senior Tax Advisor 4
Category: Tax
Satisfied Customers: 13335
Experience:  15years with H & R Block. Divisional leader, Instructor
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I live in Illinois. I moved to Illinois from Nebraska 2 years

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I live in Illinois. I moved to Illinois from Nebraska 2 years ago. I kept my job that is based out of Lincoln, NE. I work for a road construction company so over 90% of work is out of town. They have various contracts in Nebraska, Kansas and Oklahoma. When we are assigned a job in Oklahoma we are paid a 40 dollar per diem. Out of town in Nebraska it is a 30 dollar per diem. I use ez form to report my taxes. I was told by a fellow employee that I am cheating myself out of tax return money by not claiming out of town pay. He says in some areas, such as Tulsa, Ok and Oklahoma city, OK that we are allowed to claim up to approx. 130 dollars per diem minus what our company pays us. Does this sound right? Or maybe I'm not explaining it right?

Robin D :

Hello and thank you for using Just Answer,

Robin D :

I understand what your friend was telling you, and you explained it fine.

Robin D :

If your employer reimbursed you or gave you an advance or allowance for your employee business expenses that is treated as paid under an accountable plan, the payment should not be shown on your Form W-2 as pay. You do not include the payment in your income, and you may not deduct any of the reimbursed amounts. BUT if your employer paid you less than you actually paid or less than the per diem allowed then you would need to see IF itemizing would benefit you.

Robin D :

Using the Standard deduction on the EZ or using Schedule A and itemizing the amounts needs to be looked at to see which is higher.

Robin D :

The employee expenses are also limited on the Schedule A to what amount is over 2% of your Adjusted Gross Income.

Robin D :

Hey

Robin D :

I see you are in CHAT but I had a lot to explain

Robin D :

Did you want to interject something or just want to wait till I finish?

Customer:

Sounds about the same as what I've read, it's just still confusing to me

Robin D :

Yeah, it can be

Robin D :

The main thing is how much your Adjusted Gross Income is

Robin D :

Let's say $50,000

Robin D :

2% of that is $1000, so any amounts you were not reimbursed for that are over $1000 would actually get to be on the Schedule A

Robin D :

That means that if your expenses were $1050, only $50 would actually show on the Schedule A not the whole $1050

Robin D :

It takes a little time to fill out the Schedule A but sometimes it is worth it

Customer:

my fellow employee says he gets an additional 4k on his tax return because of what he claims. can that be right? sounded fishy to me

Customer:

we both work over 300 days out of town in the same places

Robin D :

It could be possible but he may have other things that you do not or visa versa

Robin D :

Then this year you would want to make sure you try the Schedule A

Robin D :

If you have mortgage interest and charitable deductions that helps too

Customer:

oh yes, for sure. thank you for your help. i will have to get a tax person to help me with my return this year

Robin D :

I was just going to say that

Robin D :

Do not go to the same person he uses though

Robin D :

Just in case they are giving him expenses he is not entitled to

Customer:

ok

Robin D :

Anything else

Customer:

nothing else

Robin D :

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