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Free tax calculator 1. Free tax calculator   Travel Table of Contents Traveling Away From HomeTax Home Tax Home Different From Family Home Temporary Assignment or Job What Travel Expenses Are Deductible?Employee. Free tax calculator Business associate. Free tax calculator Bona fide business purpose. Free tax calculator Meals Travel in the United States Travel Outside the United States Luxury Water Travel Conventions If you temporarily travel away from your tax home, you can use this chapter to determine if you have deductible travel expenses. Free tax calculator This chapter discusses: Traveling away from home, Temporary assignment or job, and What travel expenses are deductible. Free tax calculator It also discusses the standard meal allowance, rules for travel inside and outside the United States, luxury water travel, and deductible convention expenses. Free tax calculator Travel expenses defined. Free tax calculator   For tax purposes, travel expenses are the ordinary and necessary expenses of traveling away from home for your business, profession, or job. Free tax calculator   An ordinary expense is one that is common and accepted in your trade or business. Free tax calculator A necessary expense is one that is helpful and appropriate for your business. Free tax calculator An expense does not have to be required to be considered necessary. Free tax calculator   You will find examples of deductible travel expenses in Table 1-1 , later. Free tax calculator Traveling Away From Home You are traveling away from home if: Your duties require you to be away from the general area of your tax home (defined later) substantially longer than an ordinary day's work, and You need to sleep or rest to meet the demands of your work while away from home. Free tax calculator This rest requirement is not satisfied by merely napping in your car. Free tax calculator You do not have to be away from your tax home for a whole day or from dusk to dawn as long as your relief from duty is long enough to get necessary sleep or rest. Free tax calculator Example 1. Free tax calculator You are a railroad conductor. Free tax calculator You leave your home terminal on a regularly scheduled round-trip run between two cities and return home 16 hours later. Free tax calculator During the run, you have 6 hours off at your turnaround point where you eat two meals and rent a hotel room to get necessary sleep before starting the return trip. Free tax calculator You are considered to be away from home. Free tax calculator Example 2. Free tax calculator You are a truck driver. Free tax calculator You leave your terminal and return to it later the same day. Free tax calculator You get an hour off at your turnaround point to eat. Free tax calculator Because you are not off to get necessary sleep and the brief time off is not an adequate rest period, you are not traveling away from home. Free tax calculator Members of the Armed Forces. Free tax calculator   If you are a member of the U. Free tax calculator S. Free tax calculator Armed Forces on a permanent duty assignment overseas, you are not traveling away from home. Free tax calculator You cannot deduct your expenses for meals and lodging. Free tax calculator You cannot deduct these expenses even if you have to maintain a home in the United States for your family members who are not allowed to accompany you overseas. Free tax calculator If you are transferred from one permanent duty station to another, you may have deductible moving expenses, which are explained in Publication 521, Moving Expenses. Free tax calculator   A naval officer assigned to permanent duty aboard a ship that has regular eating and living facilities has a tax home (explained next) aboard the ship for travel expense purposes. Free tax calculator Tax Home To determine whether you are traveling away from home, you must first determine the location of your tax home. Free tax calculator Generally, your tax home is your regular place of business or post of duty, regardless of where you maintain your family home. Free tax calculator It includes the entire city or general area in which your business or work is located. Free tax calculator If you have more than one regular place of business, your tax home is your main place of business. Free tax calculator See Main place of business or work , later. Free tax calculator If you do not have a regular or a main place of business because of the nature of your work, then your tax home may be the place where you regularly live. Free tax calculator See No main place of business or work , later. Free tax calculator If you do not have a regular or main place of business or post of duty and there is no place where you regularly live, you are considered an itinerant (a transient) and your tax home is wherever you work. Free tax calculator As an itinerant, you cannot claim a travel expense deduction because you are never considered to be traveling away from home. Free tax calculator Main place of business or work. Free tax calculator   If you have more than one place of work, consider the following when determining which one is your main place of business or work. Free tax calculator The total time you ordinarily spend in each place. Free tax calculator The level of your business activity in each place. Free tax calculator Whether your income from each place is significant or insignificant. Free tax calculator Example. Free tax calculator You live in Cincinnati where you have a seasonal job for 8 months each year and earn $40,000. Free tax calculator You work the other 4 months in Miami, also at a seasonal job, and earn $15,000. Free tax calculator Cincinnati is your main place of work because you spend most of your time there and earn most of your income there. Free tax calculator No main place of business or work. Free tax calculator   You may have a tax home even if you do not have a regular or main place of work. Free tax calculator Your tax home may be the home where you regularly live. Free tax calculator Factors used to determine tax home. Free tax calculator   If you do not have a regular or main place of business or work, use the following three factors to determine where your tax home is. Free tax calculator You perform part of your business in the area of your main home and use that home for lodging while doing business in the area. Free tax calculator You have living expenses at your main home that you duplicate because your business requires you to be away from that home. Free tax calculator You have not abandoned the area in which both your historical place of lodging and your claimed main home are located; you have a member or members of your family living at your main home; or you often use that home for lodging. Free tax calculator   If you satisfy all three factors, your tax home is the home where you regularly live. Free tax calculator If you satisfy only two factors, you may have a tax home depending on all the facts and circumstances. Free tax calculator If you satisfy only one factor, you are an itinerant; your tax home is wherever you work and you cannot deduct travel expenses. Free tax calculator Example 1. Free tax calculator You are single and live in Boston in an apartment you rent. Free tax calculator You have worked for your employer in Boston for a number of years. Free tax calculator Your employer enrolls you in a 12-month executive training program. Free tax calculator You do not expect to return to work in Boston after you complete your training. Free tax calculator During your training, you do not do any work in Boston. Free tax calculator Instead, you receive classroom and on-the-job training throughout the United States. Free tax calculator You keep your apartment in Boston and return to it frequently. Free tax calculator You use your apartment to conduct your personal business. Free tax calculator You also keep up your community contacts in Boston. Free tax calculator When you complete your training, you are transferred to Los Angeles. Free tax calculator You do not satisfy factor (1) because you did not work in Boston. Free tax calculator You satisfy factor (2) because you had duplicate living expenses. Free tax calculator You also satisfy factor (3) because you did not abandon your apartment in Boston as your main home, you kept your community contacts, and you frequently returned to live in your apartment. Free tax calculator Therefore, you have a tax home in Boston. Free tax calculator Example 2. Free tax calculator You are an outside salesperson with a sales territory covering several states. Free tax calculator Your employer's main office is in Newark, but you do not conduct any business there. Free tax calculator Your work assignments are temporary, and you have no way of knowing where your future assignments will be located. Free tax calculator You have a room in your married sister's house in Dayton. Free tax calculator You stay there for one or two weekends a year, but you do no work in the area. Free tax calculator You do not pay your sister for the use of the room. Free tax calculator You do not satisfy any of the three factors listed earlier. Free tax calculator You are an itinerant and have no tax home. Free tax calculator Tax Home Different From Family Home If you (and your family) do not live at your tax home (defined earlier), you cannot deduct the cost of traveling between your tax home and your family home. Free tax calculator You also cannot deduct the cost of meals and lodging while at your tax home. Free tax calculator See Example 1 , later. Free tax calculator If you are working temporarily in the same city where you and your family live, you may be considered as traveling away from home. Free tax calculator See Example 2 , later. Free tax calculator Example 1. Free tax calculator You are a truck driver and you and your family live in Tucson. Free tax calculator You are employed by a trucking firm that has its terminal in Phoenix. Free tax calculator At the end of your long runs, you return to your home terminal in Phoenix and spend one night there before returning home. Free tax calculator You cannot deduct any expenses you have for meals and lodging in Phoenix or the cost of traveling from Phoenix to Tucson. Free tax calculator This is because Phoenix is your tax home. Free tax calculator Example 2. Free tax calculator Your family home is in Pittsburgh, where you work 12 weeks a year. Free tax calculator The rest of the year you work for the same employer in Baltimore. Free tax calculator In Baltimore, you eat in restaurants and sleep in a rooming house. Free tax calculator Your salary is the same whether you are in Pittsburgh or Baltimore. Free tax calculator Because you spend most of your working time and earn most of your salary in Baltimore, that city is your tax home. Free tax calculator You cannot deduct any expenses you have for meals and lodging there. Free tax calculator However, when you return to work in Pittsburgh, you are away from your tax home even though you stay at your family home. Free tax calculator You can deduct the cost of your round trip between Baltimore and Pittsburgh. Free tax calculator You can also deduct your part of your family's living expenses for meals and lodging while you are living and working in Pittsburgh. Free tax calculator Temporary Assignment or Job You may regularly work at your tax home and also work at another location. Free tax calculator It may not be practical to return to your tax home from this other location at the end of each work day. Free tax calculator Temporary assignment vs. Free tax calculator indefinite assignment. Free tax calculator   If your assignment or job away from your main place of work is temporary, your tax home does not change. Free tax calculator You are considered to be away from home for the whole period you are away from your main place of work. Free tax calculator You can deduct your travel expenses if they otherwise qualify for deduction. Free tax calculator Generally, a temporary assignment in a single location is one that is realistically expected to last (and does in fact last) for 1 year or less. Free tax calculator    However, if your assignment or job is indefinite, the location of the assignment or job becomes your new tax home and you cannot deduct your travel expenses while there. Free tax calculator An assignment or job in a single location is considered indefinite if it is realistically expected to last for more than 1 year, whether or not it actually lasts for more than 1 year. Free tax calculator   If your assignment is indefinite, you must include in your income any amounts you receive from your employer for living expenses, even if they are called travel allowances and you account to your employer for them. Free tax calculator You may be able to deduct the cost of relocating to your new tax home as a moving expense. Free tax calculator See Publication 521 for more information. Free tax calculator Exception for federal crime investigations or prosecutions. Free tax calculator   If you are a federal employee participating in a federal crime investigation or prosecution, you are not subject to the 1-year rule. Free tax calculator This means you may be able to deduct travel expenses even if you are away from your tax home for more than 1 year provided you meet the other requirements for deductibility. Free tax calculator   For you to qualify, the Attorney General (or his or her designee) must certify that you are traveling: For the federal government, In a temporary duty status, and To investigate, prosecute, or provide support services for the investigation or prosecution of a federal crime. Free tax calculator Determining temporary or indefinite. Free tax calculator   You must determine whether your assignment is temporary or indefinite when you start work. Free tax calculator If you expect an assignment or job to last for 1 year or less, it is temporary unless there are facts and circumstances that indicate otherwise. Free tax calculator An assignment or job that is initially temporary may become indefinite due to changed circumstances. Free tax calculator A series of assignments to the same location, all for short periods but that together cover a long period, may be considered an indefinite assignment. Free tax calculator   The following examples illustrate whether an assignment or job is temporary or indefinite. Free tax calculator Example 1. Free tax calculator You are a construction worker. Free tax calculator You live and regularly work in Los Angeles. Free tax calculator You are a member of a trade union in Los Angeles that helps you get work in the Los Angeles area. Free tax calculator Your tax home is Los Angeles. Free tax calculator Because of a shortage of work, you took a job on a construction project in Fresno. Free tax calculator Your job was scheduled to end in 8 months. Free tax calculator The job actually lasted 10 months. Free tax calculator You realistically expected the job in Fresno to last 8 months. Free tax calculator The job actually did last less than 1 year. Free tax calculator The job is temporary and your tax home is still in Los Angeles. Free tax calculator Example 2. Free tax calculator The facts are the same as in Example 1, except that you realistically expected the work in Fresno to last 18 months. Free tax calculator The job actually was completed in 10 months. Free tax calculator Your job in Fresno is indefinite because you realistically expected the work to last longer than 1 year, even though it actually lasted less than 1 year. Free tax calculator You cannot deduct any travel expenses you had in Fresno because Fresno became your tax home. Free tax calculator Example 3. Free tax calculator The facts are the same as in Example 1, except that you realistically expected the work in Fresno to last 9 months. Free tax calculator After 8 months, however, you were asked to remain for 7 more months (for a total actual stay of 15 months). Free tax calculator Initially, you realistically expected the job in Fresno to last for only 9 months. Free tax calculator However, due to changed circumstances occurring after 8 months, it was no longer realistic for you to expect that the job in Fresno would last for 1 year or less. Free tax calculator You can only deduct your travel expenses for the first 8 months. Free tax calculator You cannot deduct any travel expenses you had after that time because Fresno became your tax home when the job became indefinite. Free tax calculator Going home on days off. Free tax calculator   If you go back to your tax home from a temporary assignment on your days off, you are not considered away from home while you are in your hometown. Free tax calculator You cannot deduct the cost of your meals and lodging there. Free tax calculator However, you can deduct your travel expenses, including meals and lodging, while traveling between your temporary place of work and your tax home. Free tax calculator You can claim these expenses up to the amount it would have cost you to stay at your temporary place of work. Free tax calculator   If you keep your hotel room during your visit home, you can deduct the cost of your hotel room. Free tax calculator In addition, you can deduct your expenses of returning home up to the amount you would have spent for meals had you stayed at your temporary place of work. Free tax calculator Probationary work period. Free tax calculator   If you take a job that requires you to move, with the understanding that you will keep the job if your work is satisfactory during a probationary period, the job is indefinite. Free tax calculator You cannot deduct any of your expenses for meals and lodging during the probationary period. Free tax calculator What Travel Expenses Are Deductible? Once you have determined that you are traveling away from your tax home, you can determine what travel expenses are deductible. Free tax calculator You can deduct ordinary and necessary expenses you have when you travel away from home on business. Free tax calculator The type of expense you can deduct depends on the facts and your circumstances. Free tax calculator Table 1-1 summarizes travel expenses you may be able to deduct. Free tax calculator You may have other deductible travel expenses that are not covered there, depending on the facts and your circumstances. Free tax calculator When you travel away from home on business, you should keep records of all the expenses you have and any advances you receive from your employer. Free tax calculator You can use a log, diary, notebook, or any other written record to keep track of your expenses. Free tax calculator The types of expenses you need to record, along with supporting documentation, are described in Table 5-1 (see chapter 5). Free tax calculator Separating costs. Free tax calculator   If you have one expense that includes the costs of meals, entertainment, and other services (such as lodging or transportation), you must allocate that expense between the cost of meals and entertainment and the cost of other services. Free tax calculator You must have a reasonable basis for making this allocation. Free tax calculator For example, you must allocate your expenses if a hotel includes one or more meals in its room charge. Free tax calculator Travel expenses for another individual. Free tax calculator    If a spouse, dependent, or other individual goes with you (or your employee) on a business trip or to a business convention, you generally cannot deduct his or her travel expenses. Free tax calculator Employee. Free tax calculator   You can deduct the travel expenses of someone who goes with you if that person: Is your employee, Has a bona fide business purpose for the travel, and Would otherwise be allowed to deduct the travel expenses. Free tax calculator Business associate. Free tax calculator   If a business associate travels with you and meets the conditions in (2) and (3), earlier, you can deduct the travel expenses you have for that person. Free tax calculator A business associate is someone with whom you could reasonably expect to actively conduct business. Free tax calculator A business associate can be a current or prospective (likely to become) customer, client, supplier, employee, agent, partner, or professional advisor. Free tax calculator Bona fide business purpose. Free tax calculator   A bona fide business purpose exists if you can prove a real business purpose for the individual's presence. Free tax calculator Incidental services, such as typing notes or assisting in entertaining customers, are not enough to make the expenses deductible. Free tax calculator Table 1-1. Free tax calculator Travel Expenses You Can Deduct   This chart summarizes expenses you can deduct when you travel away from home for business purposes. Free tax calculator IF you have expenses for. Free tax calculator . Free tax calculator . Free tax calculator THEN you can deduct the cost of. Free tax calculator . Free tax calculator . Free tax calculator transportation travel by airplane, train, bus, or car between your home and your business destination. Free tax calculator If you were provided with a free ticket or you are riding free as a result of a frequent traveler or similar program, your cost is zero. Free tax calculator If you travel by ship, see Luxury Water Travel and Cruise Ships (under Conventions) for additional rules and limits. Free tax calculator taxi, commuter bus, and airport limousine fares for these and other types of transportation that take you between: The airport or station and your hotel, and The hotel and the work location of your customers or clients, your business meeting place, or your temporary work location. Free tax calculator baggage and shipping sending baggage and sample or display material between your regular and temporary work locations. Free tax calculator car operating and maintaining your car when traveling away from home on business. Free tax calculator You can deduct actual expenses or the standard mileage rate, as well as business-related tolls and parking. Free tax calculator If you rent a car while away from home on business, you can deduct only the business-use portion of the expenses. Free tax calculator lodging and meals your lodging and meals if your business trip is overnight or long enough that you need to stop for sleep or rest to properly perform your duties. Free tax calculator Meals include amounts spent for food, beverages, taxes, and related tips. Free tax calculator See Meals for additional rules and limits. Free tax calculator cleaning dry cleaning and laundry. Free tax calculator telephone business calls while on your business trip. Free tax calculator This includes business communication by fax machine or other communication devices. Free tax calculator tips tips you pay for any expenses in this chart. Free tax calculator other other similar ordinary and necessary expenses related to your business travel. Free tax calculator These expenses might include transportation to or from a business meal, public stenographer's fees, computer rental fees, and operating and maintaining a house trailer. Free tax calculator Example. Free tax calculator Jerry drives to Chicago on business and takes his wife, Linda, with him. Free tax calculator Linda is not Jerry's employee. Free tax calculator Linda occasionally types notes, performs similar services, and accompanies Jerry to luncheons and dinners. Free tax calculator The performance of these services does not establish that her presence on the trip is necessary to the conduct of Jerry's business. Free tax calculator Her expenses are not deductible. Free tax calculator Jerry pays $199 a day for a double room. Free tax calculator A single room costs $149 a day. Free tax calculator He can deduct the total cost of driving his car to and from Chicago, but only $149 a day for his hotel room. Free tax calculator If he uses public transportation, he can deduct only his fare. Free tax calculator Meals You can deduct the cost of meals in either of the following situations. Free tax calculator It is necessary for you to stop for substantial sleep or rest to properly perform your duties while traveling away from home on business. Free tax calculator The meal is business-related entertainment. Free tax calculator Business-related entertainment is discussed in chapter 2 . Free tax calculator The following discussion deals only with meals that are not business-related entertainment. Free tax calculator Lavish or extravagant. Free tax calculator   You cannot deduct expenses for meals that are lavish or extravagant. Free tax calculator An expense is not considered lavish or extravagant if it is reasonable based on the facts and circumstances. Free tax calculator Expenses will not be disallowed merely because they are more than a fixed dollar amount or take place at deluxe restaurants, hotels, nightclubs, or resorts. Free tax calculator 50% limit on meals. Free tax calculator   You can figure your meals expense using either of the following methods. Free tax calculator Actual cost. Free tax calculator The standard meal allowance. Free tax calculator Both of these methods are explained below. Free tax calculator But, regardless of the method you use, you generally can deduct only 50% of the unreimbursed cost of your meals. Free tax calculator   If you are reimbursed for the cost of your meals, how you apply the 50% limit depends on whether your employer's reimbursement plan was accountable or nonaccountable. Free tax calculator If you are not reimbursed, the 50% limit applies whether the unreimbursed meal expense is for business travel or business entertainment. Free tax calculator Chapter 2 discusses the 50% Limit in more detail, and chapter 6 discusses accountable and nonaccountable plans. Free tax calculator Actual Cost You can use the actual cost of your meals to figure the amount of your expense before reimbursement and application of the 50% deduction limit. Free tax calculator If you use this method, you must keep records of your actual cost. Free tax calculator Standard Meal Allowance Generally, you can use the “standard meal allowance” method as an alternative to the actual cost method. Free tax calculator It allows you to use a set amount for your daily meals and incidental expenses (M&IE), instead of keeping records of your actual costs. Free tax calculator The set amount varies depending on where and when you travel. Free tax calculator In this publication, “standard meal allowance” refers to the federal rate for M&IE, discussed later under Amount of standard meal allowance . Free tax calculator If you use the standard meal allowance, you still must keep records to prove the time, place, and business purpose of your travel. Free tax calculator See the recordkeeping rules for travel in chapter 5 . Free tax calculator Incidental expenses. Free tax calculator   The term “incidental expenses” means fees and tips given to porters, baggage carriers, hotel staff, and staff on ships. Free tax calculator   Incidental expenses do not include expenses for laundry, cleaning and pressing of clothing, lodging taxes, costs of telegrams or telephone calls, transportation between places of lodging or business and places where meals are taken, or the mailing cost of filing travel vouchers and paying employer-sponsored charge card billings. Free tax calculator Incidental-expenses-only method. Free tax calculator   You can use an optional method (instead of actual cost) for deducting incidental expenses only. Free tax calculator The amount of the deduction is $5 a day. Free tax calculator You can use this method only if you did not pay or incur any meal expenses. Free tax calculator You cannot use this method on any day that you use the standard meal allowance. Free tax calculator This method is subject to the proration rules for partial days. Free tax calculator See Travel for days you depart and return , later in this chapter. Free tax calculator Note. Free tax calculator The incidental-expenses-only method is not subject to the 50% limit discussed below. Free tax calculator Federal employees should refer to the Federal Travel Regulations at www. Free tax calculator gsa. Free tax calculator gov. Free tax calculator Find the “Most Requested Links” on the upper left and click on “Regulations: FAR, FMR, FTR” for Federal Travel Regulation (FTR) for changes affecting claims for reimbursement. Free tax calculator 50% limit may apply. Free tax calculator   If you use the standard meal allowance method for meal expenses and you are not reimbursed or you are reimbursed under a nonaccountable plan, you can generally deduct only 50% of the standard meal allowance. Free tax calculator If you are reimbursed under an accountable plan and you are deducting amounts that are more than your reimbursements, you can deduct only 50% of the excess amount. Free tax calculator The 50% limit is discussed in more detail in chapter 2, and accountable and nonaccountable plans are discussed in chapter 6. Free tax calculator There is no optional standard lodging amount similar to the standard meal allowance. Free tax calculator Your allowable lodging expense deduction is your actual cost. Free tax calculator Who can use the standard meal allowance. Free tax calculator   You can use the standard meal allowance whether you are an employee or self-employed, and whether or not you are reimbursed for your traveling expenses. Free tax calculator Use of the standard meal allowance for other travel. Free tax calculator   You can use the standard meal allowance to figure your meal expenses when you travel in connection with investment and other income-producing property. Free tax calculator You can also use it to figure your meal expenses when you travel for qualifying educational purposes. Free tax calculator You cannot use the standard meal allowance to figure the cost of your meals when you travel for medical or charitable purposes. Free tax calculator Amount of standard meal allowance. Free tax calculator   The standard meal allowance is the federal M&IE rate. Free tax calculator For travel in 2013, the rate for most small localities in the United States is $46 a day. Free tax calculator    Most major cities and many other localities in the United States are designated as high-cost areas, qualifying for higher standard meal allowances. Free tax calculator    You can find this information (organized by state) on the Internet at www. Free tax calculator gsa. Free tax calculator gov/perdiem. Free tax calculator Enter a zip code or select a city and state for the per diem rates for the current fiscal year. Free tax calculator Per diem rates for prior fiscal years are available by using the drop down menu under “Search by State. Free tax calculator ”   Per diem rates are listed by the Federal government's fiscal year which runs from October 1 to September 30. Free tax calculator You can choose to use the rates from the 2013 fiscal year per diem tables or the rates from the 2014 fiscal year tables, but you must consistently use the same tables for all travel you are reporting on your income tax return for the year. Free tax calculator   If you travel to more than one location in one day, use the rate in effect for the area where you stop for sleep or rest. Free tax calculator If you work in the transportation industry, however, see Special rate for transportation workers , later. Free tax calculator Standard meal allowance for areas outside the continental United States. Free tax calculator   The standard meal allowance rates above do not apply to travel in Alaska, Hawaii, or any other location outside the continental United States. Free tax calculator The Department of Defense establishes per diem rates for Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam, Midway, the Northern Mariana Islands, the U. Free tax calculator S. Free tax calculator Virgin Islands, Wake Island, and other non-foreign areas outside the continental United States. Free tax calculator The Department of State establishes per diem rates for all other foreign areas. Free tax calculator    You can access per diem rates for non-foreign areas outside the continental United States at: www. Free tax calculator defensetravel. Free tax calculator dod. Free tax calculator mil/site/perdiemCalc. Free tax calculator cfm. Free tax calculator You can access all other foreign per diem rates at: www. Free tax calculator state. Free tax calculator gov/travel/. Free tax calculator Click on “Travel Per Diem Allowances for Foreign Areas,” under “Foreign Per Diem Rates” to obtain the latest foreign per diem rates. Free tax calculator Special rate for transportation workers. Free tax calculator   You can use a special standard meal allowance if you work in the transportation industry. Free tax calculator You are in the transportation industry if your work: Directly involves moving people or goods by airplane, barge, bus, ship, train, or truck, and Regularly requires you to travel away from home and, during any single trip, usually involves travel to areas eligible for different standard meal allowance rates. Free tax calculator If this applies to you, you can claim a standard meal allowance of $59 a day ($65 for travel outside the continental United States). Free tax calculator   Using the special rate for transportation workers eliminates the need for you to determine the standard meal allowance for every area where you stop for sleep or rest. Free tax calculator If you choose to use the special rate for any trip, you must use the special rate (and not use the regular standard meal allowance rates) for all trips you take that year. Free tax calculator Travel for days you depart and return. Free tax calculator   For both the day you depart for and the day you return from a business trip, you must prorate the standard meal allowance (figure a reduced amount for each day). Free tax calculator You can do so by one of two methods. Free tax calculator Method 1: You can claim 3/4 of the standard meal allowance. Free tax calculator Method 2: You can prorate using any method that you consistently apply and that is in accordance with reasonable business practice. Free tax calculator Example. Free tax calculator Jen is employed in New Orleans as a convention planner. Free tax calculator In March, her employer sent her on a 3-day trip to Washington, DC, to attend a planning seminar. Free tax calculator She left her home in New Orleans at 10 a. Free tax calculator m. Free tax calculator on Wednesday and arrived in Washington, DC, at 5:30 p. Free tax calculator m. Free tax calculator After spending two nights there, she flew back to New Orleans on Friday and arrived back home at 8:00 p. Free tax calculator m. Free tax calculator Jen's employer gave her a flat amount to cover her expenses and included it with her wages. Free tax calculator Under Method 1, Jen can claim 2½ days of the standard meal allowance for Washington, DC: 3/4 of the daily rate for Wednesday and Friday (the days she departed and returned), and the full daily rate for Thursday. Free tax calculator Under Method 2, Jen could also use any method that she applies consistently and that is in accordance with reasonable business practice. Free tax calculator For example, she could claim 3 days of the standard meal allowance even though a federal employee would have to use Method 1 and be limited to only 2½ days. Free tax calculator Travel in the United States The following discussion applies to travel in the United States. Free tax calculator For this purpose, the United States includes the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Free tax calculator The treatment of your travel expenses depends on how much of your trip was business related and on how much of your trip occurred within the United States. Free tax calculator See Part of Trip Outside the United States , later. Free tax calculator Trip Primarily for Business You can deduct all of your travel expenses if your trip was entirely business related. Free tax calculator If your trip was primarily for business and, while at your business destination, you extended your stay for a vacation, made a personal side trip, or had other personal activities, you can deduct only your business-related travel expenses. Free tax calculator These expenses include the travel costs of getting to and from your business destination and any business-related expenses at your business destination. Free tax calculator Example. Free tax calculator You work in Atlanta and take a business trip to New Orleans in May. Free tax calculator Your business travel totals 850 miles round trip. Free tax calculator On your way, you stop in Mobile to visit your parents. Free tax calculator You spend $2,120 for the 9 days you are away from home for travel, meals, lodging, and other travel expenses. Free tax calculator If you had not stopped in Mobile, you would have been gone only 6 days, and your total cost would have been $1,820. Free tax calculator You can deduct $1,820 for your trip, including the cost of round-trip transportation to and from New Orleans. Free tax calculator The deduction for your meals is subject to the 50% limit on meals mentioned earlier. Free tax calculator Trip Primarily for Personal Reasons If your trip was primarily for personal reasons, such as a vacation, the entire cost of the trip is a nondeductible personal expense. Free tax calculator However, you can deduct any expenses you have while at your destination that are directly related to your business. Free tax calculator A trip to a resort or on a cruise ship may be a vacation even if the promoter advertises that it is primarily for business. Free tax calculator The scheduling of incidental business activities during a trip, such as viewing videotapes or attending lectures dealing with general subjects, will not change what is really a vacation into a business trip. Free tax calculator Part of Trip Outside the United States If part of your trip is outside the United States, use the rules described later in this chapter under Travel Outside the United States for that part of the trip. Free tax calculator For the part of your trip that is inside the United States, use the rules for travel in the United States. Free tax calculator Travel outside the United States does not include travel from one point in the United States to another point in the United States. Free tax calculator The following discussion can help you determine whether your trip was entirely within the United States. Free tax calculator Public transportation. Free tax calculator   If you travel by public transportation, any place in the United States where that vehicle makes a scheduled stop is a point in the United States. Free tax calculator Once the vehicle leaves the last scheduled stop in the United States on its way to a point outside the United States, you apply the rules under Travel Outside the United States . Free tax calculator Example. Free tax calculator You fly from New York to Puerto Rico with a scheduled stop in Miami. Free tax calculator You return to New York nonstop. Free tax calculator The flight from New York to Miami is in the United States, so only the flight from Miami to Puerto Rico is outside the United States. Free tax calculator Because there are no scheduled stops between Puerto Rico and New York, all of the return trip is outside the United States. Free tax calculator Private car. Free tax calculator   Travel by private car in the United States is travel between points in the United States, even though you are on your way to a destination outside the United States. Free tax calculator Example. Free tax calculator You travel by car from Denver to Mexico City and return. Free tax calculator Your travel from Denver to the border and from the border back to Denver is travel in the United States, and the rules in this section apply. Free tax calculator The rules under Travel Outside the United States apply to your trip from the border to Mexico City and back to the border. Free tax calculator Travel Outside the United States If any part of your business travel is outside the United States, some of your deductions for the cost of getting to and from your destination may be limited. Free tax calculator For this purpose, the United States includes the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Free tax calculator How much of your travel expenses you can deduct depends in part upon how much of your trip outside the United States was business related. Free tax calculator Travel Entirely for Business or Considered Entirely for Business You can deduct all your travel expenses of getting to and from your business destination if your trip is entirely for business or considered entirely for business. Free tax calculator Travel entirely for business. Free tax calculator   If you travel outside the United States and you spend the entire time on business activities, you can deduct all of your travel expenses. Free tax calculator Travel considered entirely for business. Free tax calculator   Even if you did not spend your entire time on business activities, your trip is considered entirely for business if you meet at least one of the following four exceptions. Free tax calculator Exception 1 - No substantial control. Free tax calculator   Your trip is considered entirely for business if you did not have substantial control over arranging the trip. Free tax calculator The fact that you control the timing of your trip does not, by itself, mean that you have substantial control over arranging your trip. Free tax calculator   You do not have substantial control over your trip if you: Are an employee who was reimbursed or paid a travel expense allowance, and Are not related to your employer, or Are not a managing executive. Free tax calculator    “Related to your employer” is defined later in chapter 6 under Per Diem and Car Allowances . Free tax calculator   A “managing executive” is an employee who has the authority and responsibility, without being subject to the veto of another, to decide on the need for the business travel. Free tax calculator   A self-employed person generally has substantial control over arranging business trips. Free tax calculator Exception 2 - Outside United States no more than a week. Free tax calculator   Your trip is considered entirely for business if you were outside the United States for a week or less, combining business and nonbusiness activities. Free tax calculator One week means 7 consecutive days. Free tax calculator In counting the days, do not count the day you leave the United States, but do count the day you return to the United States. Free tax calculator Example. Free tax calculator You traveled to Brussels primarily for business. Free tax calculator You left Denver on Tuesday and flew to New York. Free tax calculator On Wednesday, you flew from New York to Brussels, arriving the next morning. Free tax calculator On Thursday and Friday, you had business discussions, and from Saturday until Tuesday, you were sightseeing. Free tax calculator You flew back to New York, arriving Wednesday afternoon. Free tax calculator On Thursday, you flew back to Denver. Free tax calculator Although you were away from your home in Denver for more than a week, you were not outside the United States for more than a week. Free tax calculator This is because the day you depart does not count as a day outside the United States. Free tax calculator You can deduct your cost of the round-trip flight between Denver and Brussels. Free tax calculator You can also deduct the cost of your stay in Brussels for Thursday and Friday while you conducted business. Free tax calculator However, you cannot deduct the cost of your stay in Brussels from Saturday through Tuesday because those days were spent on nonbusiness activities. Free tax calculator Exception 3 - Less than 25% of time on personal activities. Free tax calculator   Your trip is considered entirely for business if: You were outside the United States for more than a week, and You spent less than 25% of the total time you were outside the United States on nonbusiness activities. Free tax calculator For this purpose, count both the day your trip began and the day it ended. Free tax calculator Example. Free tax calculator You flew from Seattle to Tokyo, where you spent 14 days on business and 5 days on personal matters. Free tax calculator You then flew back to Seattle. Free tax calculator You spent 1 day flying in each direction. Free tax calculator Because only 5/21 (less than 25%) of your total time abroad was for nonbusiness activities, you can deduct as travel expenses what it would have cost you to make the trip if you had not engaged in any nonbusiness activity. Free tax calculator The amount you can deduct is the cost of the round-trip plane fare and 16 days of meals (subject to the 50% limit), lodging, and other related expenses. Free tax calculator Exception 4 - Vacation not a major consideration. Free tax calculator   Your trip is considered entirely for business if you can establish that a personal vacation was not a major consideration, even if you have substantial control over arranging the trip. Free tax calculator Travel Primarily for Business If you travel outside the United States primarily for business but spend some of your time on other activities, you generally cannot deduct all of your travel expenses. Free tax calculator You can only deduct the business portion of your cost of getting to and from your destination. Free tax calculator You must allocate the costs between your business and other activities to determine your deductible amount. Free tax calculator See Travel allocation rules , later. Free tax calculator You do not have to allocate your travel expenses if you meet one of the four exceptions listed earlier under Travel considered entirely for business . Free tax calculator In those cases, you can deduct the total cost of getting to and from your destination. Free tax calculator Travel allocation rules. Free tax calculator   If your trip outside the United States was primarily for business, you must allocate your travel time on a day-to-day basis between business days and nonbusiness days. Free tax calculator The days you depart from and return to the United States are both counted as days outside the United States. Free tax calculator   To figure the deductible amount of your round-trip travel expenses, use the following fraction. Free tax calculator The numerator (top number) is the total number of business days outside the United States. Free tax calculator The denominator (bottom number) is the total number of business and nonbusiness days of travel. Free tax calculator Counting business days. Free tax calculator   Your business days include transportation days, days your presence was required, days you spent on business, and certain weekends and holidays. Free tax calculator Transportation day. Free tax calculator   Count as a business day any day you spend traveling to or from a business destination. Free tax calculator However, if because of a nonbusiness activity you do not travel by a direct route, your business days are the days it would take you to travel a reasonably direct route to your business destination. Free tax calculator Extra days for side trips or nonbusiness activities cannot be counted as business days. Free tax calculator Presence required. Free tax calculator   Count as a business day any day your presence is required at a particular place for a specific business purpose. Free tax calculator Count it as a business day even if you spend most of the day on nonbusiness activities. Free tax calculator Day spent on business. Free tax calculator   If your principal activity during working hours is the pursuit of your trade or business, count the day as a business day. Free tax calculator Also, count as a business day any day you are prevented from working because of circumstances beyond your control. Free tax calculator Certain weekends and holidays. Free tax calculator   Count weekends, holidays, and other necessary standby days as business days if they fall between business days. Free tax calculator But if they follow your business meetings or activity and you remain at your business destination for nonbusiness or personal reasons, do not count them as business days. Free tax calculator Example 1. Free tax calculator Your tax home is New York City. Free tax calculator You travel to Quebec, where you have a business appointment on Friday. Free tax calculator You have another appointment on the following Monday. Free tax calculator Because your presence was required on both Friday and Monday, they are business days. Free tax calculator Because the weekend is between business days, Saturday and Sunday are counted as business days. Free tax calculator This is true even though you use the weekend for sightseeing, visiting friends, or other nonbusiness activity. Free tax calculator Example 2. Free tax calculator If, in Example 1, you had no business in Quebec after Friday, but stayed until Monday before starting home, Saturday and Sunday would be nonbusiness days. Free tax calculator Nonbusiness activity on the way to or from your business destination. Free tax calculator   If you stopped for a vacation or other nonbusiness activity either on the way from the United States to your business destination, or on the way back to the United States from your business destination, you must allocate part of your travel expenses to the nonbusiness activity. Free tax calculator   The part you must allocate is the amount it would have cost you to travel between the point where travel outside the United States begins and your nonbusiness destination and a return to the point where travel outside the United States ends. Free tax calculator   You determine the nonbusiness portion of that expense by multiplying it by a fraction. Free tax calculator The numerator (top number) of the fraction is the number of nonbusiness days during your travel outside the United States and the denominator (bottom number) is the total number of days you spend outside the United States. Free tax calculator Example. Free tax calculator You live in New York. Free tax calculator On May 4 you flew to Paris to attend a business conference that began on May 5. Free tax calculator The conference ended at noon on May 14. Free tax calculator That evening you flew to Dublin where you visited with friends until the afternoon of May 21, when you flew directly home to New York. Free tax calculator The primary purpose for the trip was to attend the conference. Free tax calculator If you had not stopped in Dublin, you would have arrived home the evening of May 14. Free tax calculator You do not meet any of the exceptions that would allow you to consider your travel entirely for business. Free tax calculator May 4 through May 14 (11 days) are business days and May 15 through May 21 (7 days) are nonbusiness days. Free tax calculator You can deduct the cost of your meals (subject to the 50% limit), lodging, and other business-related travel expenses while in Paris. Free tax calculator You cannot deduct your expenses while in Dublin. Free tax calculator You also cannot deduct 7/18 of what it would have cost you to travel round-trip between New York and Dublin. Free tax calculator You paid $750 to fly from New York to Paris, $400 to fly from Paris to Dublin, and $700 to fly from Dublin back to New York. Free tax calculator Round-trip airfare from New York to Dublin would have been $1,250. Free tax calculator You figure the deductible part of your air travel expenses by subtracting 7/18 of the round-trip fare and other expenses you would have had in traveling directly between New York and Dublin ($1,250 × 7/18 = $486) from your total expenses in traveling from New York to Paris to Dublin and back to New York ($750 + $400 + $700 = $1,850). Free tax calculator Your deductible air travel expense is $1,364 ($1,850 − $486). Free tax calculator Nonbusiness activity at, near, or beyond business destination. Free tax calculator   If you had a vacation or other nonbusiness activity at, near, or beyond your business destination, you must allocate part of your travel expenses to the nonbusiness activity. Free tax calculator   The part you must allocate is the amount it would have cost you to travel between the point where travel outside the United States begins and your business destination and a return to the point where travel outside the United States ends. Free tax calculator   You determine the nonbusiness portion of that expense by multiplying it by a fraction. Free tax calculator The numerator (top number) of the fraction is the number of nonbusiness days during your travel outside the United States and the denominator (bottom number) is the total number of days you spend outside the United States. Free tax calculator   None of your travel expenses for nonbusiness activities at, near, or beyond your business destination are deductible. Free tax calculator Example. Free tax calculator Assume that the dates are the same as in the previous example but that instead of going to Dublin for your vacation, you fly to Venice, Italy, for a vacation. Free tax calculator You cannot deduct any part of the cost of your trip from Paris to Venice and return to Paris. Free tax calculator In addition, you cannot deduct 7/18 of the airfare and other expenses from New York to Paris and back to New York. Free tax calculator You can deduct 11/18 of the round-trip plane fare and other travel expenses from New York to Paris, plus your meals (subject to the 50% limit), lodging, and any other business expenses you had in Paris. Free tax calculator (Assume these expenses total $4,939. Free tax calculator ) If the round-trip plane fare and other travel-related expenses (such as food during the trip) are $1,750, you can deduct travel costs of $1,069 (11/18 × $1,750), plus the full $4,939 for the expenses you had in Paris. Free tax calculator Other methods. Free tax calculator   You can use another method of counting business days if you establish that it more clearly reflects the time spent on other than business activities outside the United States. Free tax calculator Travel Primarily for Personal Reasons If you travel outside the United States primarily for vacation or for investment purposes, the entire cost of the trip is a nondeductible personal expense. Free tax calculator However, if you spend some time attending brief professional seminars or a continuing education program, you can deduct your registration fees and other expenses you have that are directly related to your business. Free tax calculator Example. Free tax calculator The university from which you graduated has a continuing education program for members of its alumni association. Free tax calculator This program consists of trips to various foreign countries where academic exercises and conferences are set up to acquaint individuals in most occupations with selected facilities in several regions of the world. Free tax calculator However, none of the conferences are directed toward specific occupations or professions. Free tax calculator It is up to each participant to seek out specialists and organizational settings appropriate to his or her occupational interests. Free tax calculator Three-hour sessions are held each day over a 5-day period at each of the selected overseas facilities where participants can meet with individual practitioners. Free tax calculator These sessions are composed of a variety of activities including workshops, mini-lectures, role playing, skill development, and exercises. Free tax calculator Professional conference directors schedule and conduct the sessions. Free tax calculator Participants can choose those sessions they wish to attend. Free tax calculator You can participate in this program since you are a member of the alumni association. Free tax calculator You and your family take one of the trips. Free tax calculator You spend about 2 hours at each of the planned sessions. Free tax calculator The rest of the time you go touring and sightseeing with your family. Free tax calculator The trip lasts less than 1 week. Free tax calculator Your travel expenses for the trip are not deductible since the trip was primarily a vacation. Free tax calculator However, registration fees and any other incidental expenses you have for the five planned sessions you attended that are directly related and beneficial to your business are deductible business expenses. Free tax calculator These expenses should be specifically stated in your records to ensure proper allocation of your deductible business expenses. Free tax calculator Luxury Water Travel If you travel by ocean liner, cruise ship, or other form of luxury water transportation for business purposes, there is a daily limit on the amount you can deduct. Free tax calculator The limit is twice the highest federal per diem rate allowable at the time of your travel. Free tax calculator (Generally, the federal per diem is the amount paid to federal government employees for daily living expenses when they travel away from home, but in the United States, for business purposes. Free tax calculator ) Daily limit on luxury water travel. Free tax calculator   The highest federal per diem rate allowed and the daily limit for luxury water travel in 2013 is shown in the following table. Free tax calculator   2013 Dates Highest Federal Per Diem Daily Limit on Luxury Water Travel   Jan. Free tax calculator 1 – Mar. Free tax calculator 31 $367 $734   Apr. Free tax calculator 1 – June 30 312 624   July 1 – Aug. Free tax calculator 31 310 620   Sept. Free tax calculator 1 – Sept. Free tax calculator 30 366 732   Oct. Free tax calculator 1 – Dec. Free tax calculator 31 374 748 Example. Free tax calculator Caroline, a travel agent, traveled by ocean liner from New York to London, England, on business in May. Free tax calculator Her expense for the 6-day cruise was $5,200. Free tax calculator Caroline's deduction for the cruise cannot exceed $3,744 (6 days × $624 daily limit). Free tax calculator Meals and entertainment. Free tax calculator   If your expenses for luxury water travel include separately stated amounts for meals or entertainment, those amounts are subject to the 50% limit on meals and entertainment before you apply the daily limit. Free tax calculator For a discussion of the 50% Limit , see chapter 2. Free tax calculator Example. Free tax calculator In the previous example, Caroline's luxury water travel had a total cost of $5,200. Free tax calculator Of that amount, $3,700 was separately stated as meals and entertainment. Free tax calculator Caroline, who is self-employed, is not reimbursed for any of her travel expenses. Free tax calculator Caroline figures her deductible travel expenses as follows. Free tax calculator Meals and entertainment $3,700   50% limit × . Free tax calculator 50   Allowable meals &     entertainment $1,850   Other travel expenses + 1,800   Allowable cost before the daily limit $3,650 Daily limit for May 2013 $624   Times number of days × 6   Maximum luxury water travel     deduction $3,744 Amount of allowable deduction $3,650 Caroline's deduction for her cruise is limited to $3,650, even though the limit on luxury water travel is slightly higher. Free tax calculator Not separately stated. Free tax calculator   If your meal or entertainment charges are not separately stated or are not clearly identifiable, you do not have to allocate any portion of the total charge to meals or entertainment. Free tax calculator Exceptions The daily limit on luxury water travel (discussed earlier) does not apply to expenses you have to attend a convention, seminar, or meeting on board a cruise ship. Free tax calculator See Cruise Ships under Conventions. Free tax calculator Conventions You can deduct your travel expenses when you attend a convention if you can show that your attendance benefits your trade or business. Free tax calculator You cannot deduct the travel expenses for your family. Free tax calculator If the convention is for investment, political, social, or other purposes unrelated to your trade or business, you cannot deduct the expenses. Free tax calculator Your appointment or election as a delegate does not, in itself, determine whether you can deduct travel expenses. Free tax calculator You can deduct your travel expenses only if your attendance is connected to your own trade or business. Free tax calculator Convention agenda. Free tax calculator   The convention agenda or program generally shows the purpose of the convention. Free tax calculator You can show your attendance at the convention benefits your trade or business by comparing the agenda with the official duties and responsibilities of your position. Free tax calculator The agenda does not have to deal specifically with your official duties and responsibilities; it will be enough if the agenda is so related to your position that it shows your attendance was for business purposes. Free tax calculator Conventions Held Outside the North American Area You cannot deduct expenses for attending a convention, seminar, or similar meeting held outside the North American area unless: The meeting is directly related to your trade or business, and It is reasonable to hold the meeting outside the North American area. Free tax calculator See Reasonableness test , later. Free tax calculator If the meeting meets these requirements, you also must satisfy the rules for deducting expenses for business trips in general, discussed earlier under Travel Outside the United States . Free tax calculator North American area. Free tax calculator   The North American area includes the following locations. Free tax calculator American Samoa Johnston Island Antigua and Barbuda Kingman Reef Aruba Marshall Islands Bahamas Mexico Baker Island Micronesia Barbados Midway Islands Bermuda Netherlands Antilles Canada Northern Mariana Costa Rica Islands Dominica Palau Dominican Republic Palmyra Atoll Grenada Panama Guam Puerto Rico Guyana Trinidad and Tobago Honduras USA Howland Island U. Free tax calculator S. Free tax calculator Virgin Islands Jamaica Wake Island Jarvis Island   The North American area also includes U. Free tax calculator S. Free tax calculator islands, cays, and reefs that are possessions of the United States and not part of the fifty states or the District of Columbia. Free tax calculator Reasonableness test. Free tax calculator   The following factors are taken into account to determine if it was reasonable to hold the meeting outside the North American area. Free tax calculator The purpose of the meeting and the activities taking place at the meeting. Free tax calculator The purposes and activities of the sponsoring organizations or groups. Free tax calculator The homes of the active members of the sponsoring organizations and the places at which other meetings of the sponsoring organizations or groups have been or will be held. Free tax calculator Other relevant factors you may present. Free tax calculator Cruise Ships You can deduct up to $2,000 per year of your expenses of attending conventions, seminars, or similar meetings held on cruise ships. Free tax calculator All ships that sail are considered cruise ships. Free tax calculator You can deduct these expenses only if all of the following requirements are met. Free tax calculator The convention, seminar, or meeting is directly related to your trade or business. Free tax calculator The cruise ship is a vessel registered in the United States. Free tax calculator All of the cruise ship's ports of call are in the United States or in possessions of the United States. Free tax calculator You attach to your return a written statement signed by you that includes information about: The total days of the trip (not including the days of transportation to and from the cruise ship port), The number of hours each day that you devoted to scheduled business activities, and A program of the scheduled business activities of the meeting. Free tax calculator You attach to your return a written statement signed by an officer of the organization or group sponsoring the meeting that includes: A schedule of the business activities of each day of the meeting, and The number of hours you attended the scheduled business activities. Free tax calculator Prev  Up  Next   Home   More Online Publications
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