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Offline Bud1Bud

At home on the weekends tax
« on: Oct 27, 2011, 06:04 »
Is there any tax relief for the following situation?
I own a home near a city in Georgia.  I live there with my wife.
I rent an apartment near a plant over 200 miles away. (also in Georgia)
On Sunday nights, I drive over 200 miles to the apartment near the plant.
I work at the plant Monday thru Friday, then drive back home 200 miles.

I am a full time employee, exempt (not covered by any collective bargaining agreement, I do not get per diem or overtime.  Just straight salary.

Is there anything I can do on my taxes?
Is there something I can do to somehow be able to "write off" or "deduct" or file some paperwork or hire some tax guy or attorney or both to try to reduce taxes or somethingbased on spending over $4000 per year in "commuting" from my home to the town where the plant is and over $3500 in paying for the apartment?  Can I do anything or is the tax code set up to make sure I can't do anything?
Please help!

Offline HydroDave63

Re: At home on the weekends tax
« Reply #1 on: Oct 27, 2011, 09:18 »
Can I do anything or is the tax code set up to make sure I can't do anything?
Please help!


Set up??? As if it is an X Files conspiracy because the government won't give you free money to commute?   >:(

Offline Nuclear NASCAR

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Re: At home on the weekends tax
« Reply #2 on: Oct 27, 2011, 11:33 »
As was advised in another thread in this forum, your best bet is to contact TravelTax
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Offline Already Gone

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Re: At home on the weekends tax
« Reply #3 on: Oct 30, 2011, 09:05 »
Your tax home is the place where you make your money.  So, as far as the IRS is concerned, you home is the apartment.  Your house is your second home.  There is no tax relief for traveling between your two homes.  Most people just move to where they work.  Those moving expenses would be deductible.
The fact that you decide to maintain a second home 200 miles away from your tax home is a luxury that you have to pay for yourself.

However, if you have a legitimate business reason for that travel, you could deduct the trips between the two homes on dates when you actually perform business related activities at both places.
Let's say that you have a business in the town where you own the house.  You work on Friday, drive 200 miles and work at that business for a time doing things that you can't do elsewhere.  Then, on Sunday, you perform business related work before driving back to your job.  You may be able to take a deduction for your mileage on those days.
The business would have to be a legitimate, income-producing business.  The travel would have to be necessary to the business.  You would have to prove that it was necessary to your business for you to travel home each week and that you actually did work at both places on each day that you are claiming a mileage deduction.
Commuting is never considered a deductible business expense, but business travel is.

Now, if you can establish your house (where you live with your wife) as your tax home, and the job at the plant is temporary, you could deduct the travel and living expenses at the plant as business travel expenses.  For that, your assignment at that plant would have to have a definite end date that is less than a year from the start date.
You could, under those circumstances, deduct the cost of meals and lodging for those days when you are at the temporary location.  You CAN NOT use the per diem allowance for this since you are not paid per diem.  You would have to use, and prove, actual expenses.  You couldn't write off any rent, utilities, meals or other living expense for the weekends that you spend at home.  Somehow, I get the sense that none of this applies to you.  The burden of proof would be on you, and the IRS has been looking out for this kind of thing.  If it isn't exactly true, don't try it.

You were correct in inferring that the tax code is set up to make sure that you don't deduct your personal expenses.  Having those two homes is your choice - even if it seems necessary to you - which makes the cost your responsibility.
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Re: At home on the weekends tax
« Reply #4 on: Oct 31, 2011, 12:18 »
Now, if you can establish your house (where you live with your wife) as your tax home, and the job at the plant is temporary, you could deduct the travel and living expenses at the plant as business travel expenses. 

This is pretty close to what my accountant did for me in 2010. Absolute ton of paperwork to file for it though. Get a professional either way. Figure it will cost you $250-$500 depending on how many hours it takes him to do it which is less than the deduction they'll help you with.

Offline Already Gone

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Re: At home on the weekends tax
« Reply #5 on: Nov 01, 2011, 08:14 »
I should point out that you don't actually need to own your business for this to work.
If you get a part-time job working weekends at "home" you can deduct mileage for the days when you work at both jobs on the same day.
It is difficult to do this on your schedule.  You would actually have to work at both jobs on the same day and travel directly from one to the other.  I don't see how you can do that.  It would require you to work on Monday at one job, then drive 200 miles and be at work on time for your other job also on Monday.  So, it looks like you won't be able to deduct mileage when you go from your house to the apartment on Sunday nights.  But, if you can work it out so that you can drive from the plant to your other job on Friday afternoon and get some hours in on Friday at the second job, you would at least be able to deduct mileage one way.

It looks like you need to sell your house and relocate to Baxley.  In the long-term, that is what you're going to have to do anyway unless you intend to spend the rest of your career as a "geographical bachelor".  You really need to consider the fact that your arrangement has a lot more drawbacks than just the cost of the apartment and the mileage.
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Offline Bud1Bud

Re: At home on the weekends tax
« Reply #6 on: Nov 05, 2011, 09:57 »
Thanks Already Gone for the excellent explanations.
Now I'm clear on the subject.

Offline traveltax

Re: At home on the weekends tax
« Reply #7 on: Nov 11, 2011, 11:44 »
I should point out that you don't actually need to own your business for this to work.
If you get a part-time job working weekends at "home" you can deduct mileage for the days when you work at both jobs on the same day.
It is difficult to do this on your schedule.  You would actually have to work at both jobs on the same day and travel directly from one to the other.  I don't see how you can do that.  It would require you to work on Monday at one job, then drive 200 miles and be at work on time for your other job also on Monday.  So, it looks like you won't be able to deduct mileage when you go from your house to the apartment on Sunday nights.  But, if you can work it out so that you can drive from the plant to your other job on Friday afternoon and get some hours in on Friday at the second job, you would at least be able to deduct mileage one way.

It looks like you need to sell your house and relocate to Baxley.  In the long-term, that is what you're going to have to do anyway unless you intend to spend the rest of your career as a "geographical bachelor".  You really need to consider the fact that your arrangement has a lot more drawbacks than just the cost of the apartment and the mileage.

Actually, the OP does not need to perform their duties on the same day. If the individual has a primary work place (tax home- where the majority of the income is made) and travels to a minor post of duty, the travel expenses for the minor post are deductible or at least some of them can be allocated if the work at the minor post does not constitute the majority of the off days.
This situation is illustrated in IRS Publication 463
« Last Edit: Nov 11, 2011, 11:46 by traveltax »
Joseph Smith EA/MS Tax
Enrolled Agent, Admitted to Practice Before the IRS
TravelTax TravelTax Canada
www.traveltax.com info@traveltax.com

 


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