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T. R. Miller, The SunTaxMan
T. R. Miller, The SunTaxMan, Public Accountant , Tax Preparer
Category: Tax
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Experience:  30+ years in Public Accounting and Tax Preparation
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offshore oil field taxes and deductions

Customer Question

What write offs and per diem can I deduct from my taxes for living in North Carolina and working on oil rigs in the gulf of Mexico. Offshore,in the shop,standby per diems. Can I take off mileage for going from my home state of NC to work. Where can i find this information and under what tax code is it listed
Submitted: 12 years ago.
Category: Tax
Expert:  Tammy F. replied 12 years ago.
Employee Business Deductions Checklist

As an employee, you can deduct quite a few business expenses—as long as your boss didn’t reimburse you for them.

Check off possible deductions here, then make sure you keep careful records to prove you spent that money, and that the expense meets the IRS criteria—just in case the IRS asks.

What you can Deduct if You’re an Employee
Books for your trade or profession
Business liability insurance premiums
Damages you pay to a former employer for a breach of employment contract
Depreciation on job-related equipment that you purchased. (For info on the mysteries of depreciation, see IRS Publication 946, How to Depreciate Property).
Dry cleaning costs for your uniforms or protective clothing (not for your everyday clothing, though)
Dues to a professional organization — if the organization represents people in your profession
Dues to chambers of commerce and similar organizations if the membership helps you carry out your job duties and the organization&#rsquo;s main purpose isn’t to provide entertainment or entertainment facilities
Educational expenses related to your present job
Entertaining costs (only 50% of the cost is deductible)
Expenses for an office in your home if part of the home is used regularly and exclusively for your work, and use of your home office is for the convenience of your employer. (This deduction raises the IRS’s eyebrows, so make sure you really meet these criteria. If in doubt, read Rules for Taking the Home Office Deduction, or IRS Publication 587, Business Use of Your Home.)
Gifts, but only up to $25 per recipient(except for token items such as imprinted pens)
Job dismissal insurance premiums
Job hunting expenses (see details below)
Licenses paid to state or local governments
Meals (only 50% of the cost is deductible)
Medical exams required by your employer
Occupational taxes if they’re charged at a flat rate by your city or other local government for the privilege of working in that area
Protective clothing and gear
Regulatory fees for your profession
Research expenses incurred by a college professor
Safety equipment, such as hard hats, safety glasses, safety boots, and gloves
Specialized clothing designed for your job, as long as they’re not suitable for everyday wear
Subscriptions to publications for your trade or profession
Supplies you use in your job
Tools you use in your job
Transportation between your home and a temporary work location if you have no regular place of work but you ordinarily work in the metropolitan area where you live and the temporary work location is outside that area
Transportation between your home and a temporary work location if you have at least one regular workplace for this employment. It doesn’t matter how far away the temporary location is in this case.
Transportation from one job to another if you work two places in one day
Travel costs incurred while away from home on business for your employer
Travel costs paid in connection with a temporary work assignment
Uniforms (except if you’re full-time active duty in the armed forces)
Union assessments for benefit payments to unemployed union members
Union dues
Union initiation fees

You can get more info here:
Customer: replied 12 years ago.
Response to tfalkner's Post: Good answers but I already have these. What I need to know is there any amount I can take off for per diem for working out of my home state.
Expert:  T. R. Miller, The SunTaxMan replied 12 years ago.

tfaulkner has given you a good answer. All of those items are to be considered as "Employee Business Expenses."

With regard to your question about "per diem" rates while away - the amount and nature of your deductions depend on how long the job assignment is - 1 year or less( "Temporary"), or more than one year ("indefinite"). These situations are described on pages 186 thru 192 of IRS Publication 17, available at

Basically, if your job is "temporary" you tax home does not change and you can deduct travel, meals and lodging. If your job is "indefinite" your tax home changes and you have no deductions.

If your job is "temporary":

 - travel expenses are deductible (Actual cost for air, taxi, train, etc. Regarding your personal car, either actual cost or $.375 per mile for 2004)

 - lodging costs are deductible (Per diem does not apply, only actual cost)

 - meal expenses are deductible, either actual expenses or "per diem." The per diem rate depends on where you are. Different rates apply for different locations and these rates are shown in IRS Publication 1542.

And all of these deduction amounts must be offset by any reimbursement amount received from the employer.

If this does not answer your question, please advise and I can look deeper into what you need.