Away from Home Test

To be away from home:

  • You must be away from the general area of your tax home substantially longer than a regular day's work, and
  • require sufficient time off to get necessary sleep before returning home.
    • Taking a one-hour nap in the car is not sufficient time off.
    • You don't necessarily have to be away from home 24 hours, you just have to have enough time off to get necessary rest to function properly.

Overnight sleep rule:

This rule, which requires that you get sufficient time off to get the property rest before returning home, prevents you from being able to deduct the cost of your meals on one-day business trips.

Example: Sufficient time off to rest:

  • You own your truck.
  • You use your truck to deliver produce throughout the state.
  • You make a run between two cities.
  • You leave your home base terminal at 2 a.m. and return to it at 6 p.m. (16 hours).
  • Before returning, you take 4 hours off at your turnaround point.
  • You eat and rent a hotel room to sleep before returning.

You meet the away from home test. Your transportation and lodging expenses are 100% deductible. However, only 50% of your meal costs are deductible.

Example: Not sufficient time off to rest:

  • Same facts as above, except you only take one hour off to eat and rest in your truck before returning.

You do not meet the rest test since there was insufficient time to get the proper rest. You are not considered away from home. Your trip is a one-day business trip which means your meal expenses are not deductible.

File your personal and small business taxes (Schedule C)