Members of the Armed Forces reserves (Reserves and National Guard) are eligible for an above-the-line deduction for travel expenses when service requires that an individual travel more than 100 miles from home. Practically speaking, this applies to a member who is traveling from home to drill or for training. This does not included travel paid for, or supplied, by the government. Expenses may not exceed the federal government’s per diem rate.
Why is this a good thing?
- Above-the-line deductions directly reduce the gross income of a taxpayer. In most cases, unreimbursed employee expenses are not deductible because they are classified as miscellaneous itemized deductions that are subject to the 2% of AGI floor, which are not deductible between tax years 2018 and 2025.
What do I need to do?
- Keep records! Make sure to keep a travel log for mileage and keep receipts that provide the evidence for your meals and lodging expense. I also recommend keeping a copy of the drill schedule or orders for a special training. This will further support your claim to your deductions and provide all the information you need if you were ever audited.
What if I travel less than 100 miles for training?
- Unfortunately, you do not qualify for an above-the-line deduction. Furthermore, you can’t take your travel expense as miscellaneous itemized deductions until tax year 2026.
How do I get more information?
- Internal Revenue Service Publication 3, Armed Forces’ Tax Guide, is a great place to read more about this topic and others that pertain to military members. The best place to go for specific questions is to a trusted tax advisor, such as the CPAs at Robert F. Murray and Co.