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2018-07
2018-07

@sumx

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27 Jul '18

Stockholm

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Sweden
 
 3 Jul '1823d26 Jul '1826 Jul '18
3 Jul '18

Budapest

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Hungary

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DNs with US tax homes, how do you deduct travel expenses?


by @sumx |  | 2 comments

First post here, so be gentle :smiley:

I am a half time digital nomad with a US tax home and tax season is coming up. Many of my travel expenses are legitimate business expenses and Iโ€™m sure others here have similar circumstances. I have a tax guy Iโ€™m generally very happy with and their advice is for me to deduct per diem meal & incidental expense (M&IE) rates as posted by the GSA for business travel days within the US, but actual M&IE for business travel days abroad since my out of pocket expenses beyond air / lodging tend to be much much lower while overseas. The logic seems solid, but it seems odd to approach deductions for domestic / international travel completely differently.

Generally, my nicer meals abroad tend to be either comped (press visits) or included in my lodging expense (hello executive lounge). Iโ€™m sure many other digital nomads fit a similar profile.

Iโ€™ve seen a number of resources that emphasize that spending less than the GSA/DOS per diem on meals and incidental expenses effectively gives you a free tax break for being frugal. For this reason (and despite my tax guyโ€™s advice) Iโ€™m finding it hard not to claim the full per diem amount while overseas. Iโ€™ve been in some very expensive locations with very high per diem rates per the Department of State including London, Paris and Dubai that would make for large deductions .

My question for the other digital nomads here with US tax homes is: how do you handle deducting your business related travel expenses? If you were in Dubai on business for a full day and the Department of State per diem meal and incidental rate was $183 / day, but you only paid $20 for food and $10 for cabs - would you still deduct 50% of $183 for the maximum benefit? If another member of your business was travelling with you would you deduct 50% of $183 x2?

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