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Richard, Tax Attorney
Category: Tax
Satisfied Customers: 55134
Experience:  29 years of experience as a tax, real estate, and business attorney.
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I am just beginning as a independent consultant. I have an

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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
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!


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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.

Customer: 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:
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