Are Commuting Expenses Tax Deductible?

Written by jeffrey joyner
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Are Commuting Expenses Tax Deductible?
You may be able to deduct some of your commuting expenses. (morning commuters image by Aaron Kohr from Fotolia.com)

The Internal Revenue Service allows you to take deductions for qualified unreimbursed business expenses. Under IRS rules, you cannot deduct your commuting expenses between your home and your primary place of business. However, certain situations allow you to take a deduction for expenses you incur while commuting to client sites, second jobs and while on temporary work assignments.

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Commuting Expenses You Cannot Deduct

You cannot deduct your expenses for commuting between your residence and your regular job, including parking fees and tolls. If you have a second job at a different location, you cannot deduct the expenses for returning home from your second job. Your second job can be for a different employer or the same as your regular job. If you work your second job on a day that you do not work your regular job, you cannot deduct commuting expenses between your home and your second job for that day.

Deductible Commuting Expenses for a Second Job

If, on the same day, you regularly travel from your primary job to a second job, you can deduct your transportation costs to go to your second job. Only the expenses for going directly from one job to the other are deductible. As an example, if it is 15 miles between the two jobs and you make a 10-mile detour to shop between jobs, you can only deduct the expenses for the 15 miles.

Deductible Commuting Expenses for a Temporary Work Location

If your employer requires you to work at a different location for a period of less than one year, you can deduct commuting expenses between your home and your temporary work location as well as expenses for commuting between your second job and your temporary work location. If you do not have a regular work location, only commuting expenses to locations beyond your home metropolitan area are deductible. A temporary work location may be a client's site, a work-related training seminar or a school your employer requires you to attend.

Deductible Commuting Expenses for Client Visits

Transportation costs to call on customers or clients are deductible. If your regular workplace is your home, you can deduct commuting expenses from your home to your client's location. However, if you have neither a primary work location nor a home office, you cannot deduct commuting expenses between your home and your first customer call of the day or your last customer call and your home. Your expenses for travelling from one client to another are deductible.

Qualifying Expenses

If you use an automobile, you can deduct actual expenses or use the standard mileage deduction. Tolls and parking fees are deductible if you pay them for business travel that is also deductible, such as a visit to a client's location. You can also include taxi, bus and subway fees as commuting expenses if the travel is for a qualifying purpose, such as travel to a second job or a temporary work location.

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