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Travel and Meal Expenses: What’s Deductible?

If you travel frequently as part of your job, it’s essential at tax time to know what’s deductible and what isn’t, especially if you aren’t reimbursed – or aren’t reimbursed fully – by your employer. 

woman paying billFor business travel to conduct business or attend meetings or conventions within the United States, the following are 100 percent deductible:

  • Hotel expenses
  • Transportation expenses
  • Cleaning and laundry
  • Cost of meeting rooms
  • Registration fees
  • Tips (other than for meals or entertainment)

Other expenses are only 50 percent deductible. They include:

  • Meals and entertainment
  • Tips for meals and entertainment

Transportation workers may deduct 80 percent for meals and entertainment, subject to Department of Transportation hours-of-service limitations.

Lavish or extravagant expenses are not deductible at all.

If you attend a conference or meeting aboard a cruise ship, you may deduct up to $2,000 per employee per year if the ship is registered in the United States and all ports of call are in the United States or its possessions.

Luxury water travel that costs in excess of twice the federal per diem rate is not deductible


The National Association of Public Hospital & Health Systems has been a client of Gelman, Rosenberg & Freedman for many years because of the personalized service we receive from Audit Partner Terri McKnight.

Rhonda Gold |  Assistant Vice President for Financial Operations
National Association of Public Hospital and Health Systems