Tax Deductions...Per-Diem

NR133

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Looks like the government made the Per-Diem calculation a bit easier for us this year. NO MORE QUARTER DAY'S TO WORRY ABOUT!!

Pub.463. Travel for days you depart and return. For both the day you depart for and the day you return from a trip, you must prorate the standard meal allowance. You can do so by one of two methods. METHOD 1: You can claim 3/4 of the standard day. METHOD 2: You can prorate using any method that you consistently apply and is in accordance with reasonable business practice.i.e, 3 day trip is now worth 2.5 day's, no matter when you start or finish your trip!

If you're thinking of having your tax return done professionally, check out www.Tax4crews.com. Their specialty is pilots and flight attendants. Great prices. It's all done through the mail and real convenient. You can request their "Tax Guide and Organizer" on the web site.
 

av8instyle

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Taxes

Hey,
Thanks for the craniums-up on the tax link!
 

qxeplt

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Crashpad Deduct

Can I deduct my crashpad? It is not my primary address.
 

Jeff G

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NR133,

This per diem rule has always been the case. Now what'll really send you mad is deciding whether you should use the standard per diem deduction or itemize by city. You can use either one for the year, depending on which gives you a better deal.

For everyone: make sure you look at the rules regarding DOT employees. Believe it or not, that's what we are for the purposes of this rule. We can deduct a larger part of our per diem expenses and also get a larger standard rate. Keep in mind that this stuff only applies if you itemize your deductions and file an employee expense form. Good luck.
 

OTown

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Question:

How does one deduct daily expenses when he receives perdiem? My understanding is that if your daily perdiem allowance is greater than your daily government allowance, you can't deduct a penny. All of us earn more perdiem than the government allowance, so how does everyone deduct daily expenses?

Thanks!
 

zymotic

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Not all of us get more per diem than the cities allowance. I only get one dollar per hour. A NY overnight is worth $46 and I only get $24.
 

Jeff G

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OTown,

You are correct that if you receive more in per diem than you can deduct, you get no deduction. But just because your rate is higher than the average doesn't mean that you can't deduct anything. You have to look at the whole year's deductions and total per diem before you can be sure. For instance, I didn't receive per diem in initial training. So even though my per diem rate is greater than the the deductible allowance, I can also include those 6 weeks or so when I received no per diem. That's roughly $1800 in unreimbursed per diem expenses, which goes a long way to offset all those nights when I stayed at a city that only cost $30 a night vs. $43 in per diem. I should be able to file per diem expenses for 2001, but probably not for 2002. Everything after initial training at JB pays per diem, so unless everywhere I stay has a $46 allowance (the domestic maximum), I'll receive more in per diem overall than the maximum deduction allowed, and get no deduction. Thanks for bringing that up.
 

bin LAAidoff

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re: Deducting Crashpad

You will get lots of "yes" and even "hell yes" on deducting crashpad. However, should you get audited, the IRS may very likely determine your crashpad to be your "tax home". Residency and tax home can be two different places. If you've had your crashpad in the same city/area for more than a year, it probably would fail in an audit. That does not mean thousands have not claimed their crashpads for years...

See http://www.irs.gov/prod/forms_pubs/pubs/p4630101.htm

Always figured we are glorified truck drivers, excerpt below is from IRS link above.

Example 1. You are a truck driver and you and your family live in Tucson. You are employed by a trucking firm that has its terminal in Phoenix. At the end of your long runs, you return to your home terminal in Phoenix and spend one night there before returning home. You cannot deduct any expenses you have for meals and lodging in Phoenix or the cost of traveling from Phoenix to Tucson. This is because Phoenix is your tax home.
 

F18-FDX

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Website?

Does anyone know of a good website that summarizes airline pilot specific tax rules? Maybe a site by pilots for pilots or something like that w/ gouge. I'd like to review a bit myself and hopefully pick up some tips on what I can/cannot deduct. I'm pretty ignorant at the moment. The tax4crews link above looks pretty good, but I'd like to do it myself if possible. Thanks for anything!
 

qxeplt

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bin LAAidoff:

Thanks for the info and the link to the IRS. Sounds like I won't be getting that deduction...
 

ualORD

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flight attendant gave me this site skytax.net. It may be some help.
 
Last edited:

atpcliff

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re: Deducting Crashpad

Hi!

This is third-hand, from a aviation tax specialist:
You can deduct your crashpad and all commuting expenses.

My personal view:
If you read the above post, it does sound like you cannot deduct your crashpad, but it's written about someone working for a company that has only one base.
In most pilots' cases, your airline has multiple bases. If you are based in LAX, and your crashpad is there, is there any guarantee that you will be based in LAX next year, or even in two months?
There is another part of the IRS regulation that more accurately (in my opinion) describes the situation when your company has multiple bases, and you may be moving around to the various bases at the companie's discretion, as most of us are.
If you can make a logical, reasoned arguement, based on the IRS regulations, to support your claim, then I would claim it.

I am claiming my crashpad and commuting costs.

Cliff
GB,WI

PS-Please note: I am just a regular guy, not an accouting or tax professional. The above is based on what I have learned, and may not be (entirely) correct.
 

NR133

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It's all in the interpretation and if they ever ask? The only thing they can say is no!
 

TurboS7

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Great post thanks for all the info. It is that time again.
 

NR133

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Here is another Tax Site. They also do flight crews taxes, called CPADALY.com. They look like they would do a good job, but they are very expensive. They start at $245!
 

72Longhorn

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Also, don't forget......

Don't forget:

Cell phones, Interview expenses, moving expenses (milage), uniform costs, dry cleaning, ear-pieces/ headsets, flight bags.

I've even heard of some people deducting their Lap top computers. I don't know how, but they do. Oh, and a home office can also be deducted!

If anyone knows of anything else I can deduct let me know.

72Longhorn
 

atpcliff

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Hi!

You CAN deduct your computer, printer, and all other major items. To do so, you are only allowed to dedect/depreciate the % value of each item that is actually used for the business purpose. For example, if you use your computer/scanner/printer/fax machine 40% of the time with something to do with flying/airline job, you can deduct 40%.

If you are going to deduct 100%, make sure that you ONLY use the item for the business purpose, which may be possible, for example, if you have 2 computers and use the 2nd for all personal/non-business purposes.

Home office deductions are fairly difficult to get, because you have to use the space/equipment in your home ONLY for business. You must not use that physical space for anything except that business use. If you do qualify (we don't), then you can depreciate that % of the house (that % of the square footage), but that then affects the value of the house when you sell it.

I use TurboTax, which sits you down at your computer, like it's the accountant, and then asks you 20 millions questions. When you use it the 2nd year (like most all other tax programs, I assume), it automatically downloads all of last years info/forms/schedules, etc., which saves a lot of time.

The first year my taxes were "complicated", I used a tax attorney. I was asking her to explain the depreciation on my vehicle, and she said she had no idea how it was done, the computer program did it. I thought, why pay her way more that a computer program, when I can buy the program, do it myself, and save $.

Good Luck!!!

NOTE: Once again, I'm just a guy. I'm not a tax professional, so I definitely could be wrong about parts/all of the statements made above.

Cliff
GB,WI

PS-The key to taxes, especially if you have more deductions than the standard deduction, is to keep thorough records throughout the year as you go along. I put ours on one giant spreadsheet. It makes tax time MUCH easier!
 

NR133

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You can deduct your computer! But you have to depreciate it over a 5 year period. If you spent $3000, that's good for $600 for the next 5 years. Just don't forget to use it next year.
 
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