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I am just beginning as a independent consultant. I have an

assignment to write a case...
I am just beginning as a independent consultant. I have an assignment to write a case study that involve three weeks travel in Ethiopia. The company hiring me is giving me a lump sum for the job from which I am to pay my own travel expenses. Will these costs be a 100% deduction from my income -- or if not what are the parameters? I will have airfare, hotel, meals and incidentals, and local travel costs. Can I use State Department foreign per diem rates as the basis for "reasonable expenses" for these categories? What documentation will I need? Thanks you! -- Jeffrey Stark
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Answered in 5 minutes by:
4/1/2011
Richard
Richard, Tax Attorney
Category: Tax
Satisfied Customers: 55,797
Experience: 29 years of experience as a tax, real estate, and business attorney.
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Good morning. Yes...the expenses you incur will be deductible. Deductible travel expenses while away from home include, but are not limited to, the costs of:
  1. Travel by airplane, train, bus, or car between your home and your business destination. If you are provided with a ticket or you are riding free as a result of a frequent traveler or similar program, your cost is zero.
  2. Using your car while at your business destination,
  3. Fares for taxis or other types of transportation between the airport or train station and your hotel, the hotel and the work location, and from one customer to another, or from one place of business to another
  4. Meals and lodging
  5. Tips you pay for services related to any of these expenses.
  6. Dry cleaning and laundry.
  7. Business calls while on your business trip. This includes business communications by fax machine or other communication devices.
  8. Other similar ordinary and necessary expenses related to your business travel. These expenses might include transportation to and from a business meal, public stenographer's fees, computer rental fees, and operating and maintaining a house trailer.

 

And, yes, Instead of keeping records of your meal expenses and deducting the actual cost, you can generally use a standard meal allowance, which varies depending on where you travel.

 

The only limitation you will have is that the deduction for business meals is generally limited to 50% of the unreimbursed cost.

 

 

I hope this has given you the guidance you were seeking. I wish you the best of luck!

 

If you have a follow-up question, please remember that there might be a delay between your follow up questions and my answers because I may be helping other clients or taking a break.

 

If I have adequately answered your question, even though the answer might not have been the one for which you hoped, I would appreciate it if you would please click the GREEN ACCEPT button so that I receive credit for my work; otherwise, though you have made a deposit, I do not receive credit.

 

If you need additional clarification on this question after clicking ACCEPT, please do not hesitate to click Reply and I will be happy to do what I can to help you further. Thanks for allowing me to be of service to you.

 

The information given here is not legal advice. As all states have different intricacies in their laws, the information given is general only. This communication does not establish an attorney-client relationship with you. I hope this answer has been helpful to you.

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Customer reply replied 6 years ago
Just to clarify -- how do I find out what the standard meal allowance that varies from location to location is? Does the IRS have a list for foreign destinations? Or does the IRS officially say someplace (that I can find online) that State Department foreign per diem rates prevail?
The State Department sets the per diem rates outside the continental U.S. You can find this inforamtion at the following website: http://aoprals.state.gov/content.asp?content_id=184&menu_id=78
Richard
Richard, Tax Attorney
Category: Tax
Satisfied Customers: 55,797
Experience: 29 years of experience as a tax, real estate, and business attorney.
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