0

I'm considering the following scenario for employment and wondering how it will affect my taxes.

I am a resident of a large city, say Las Vegas, and am considering commuting to another distant city, say San Francisco, for 4 or 5 days a week for my main employment. This means that I have to pay for weekly airfare back and forth as well as a small apartment in SF. At the same time, I'm still paying a mortgage on a home in LV and my spouse is still working a full time job in LV, where I will return every weekend.

Normally, as I understand, this would mean that my tax home is in SF and my travel to/from and living expenses in SF would not be tax deductible. However, I'm also a musician on the side (my main employment is in tech), and I work as a part-time employee at a small establishment in LV by playing there for a few hours on the weekend. This employment adds up to around 10k-15k annually.

What I'm wondering is if this small employment in LV would have any effect on the tax deductible status of my travel expenses (and perhaps even some living expenses in LV).

  • 2
    Why do you think having a side hustle suddenly allows you to deduct travel to/from any job? – D Stanley Jan 18 at 19:07
  • @DStanley, What I meant was that if my tax home is in SF, then any travel from there "for work" would be tax deductible. My side hustle in LV might make it that my travel to and from LV on the weekends is actually "for work". Or it might not. That was my question, but maybe I can make it clearer? – bobert Jan 18 at 19:41
  • I don't think it matters. In my experience (I am not a tax pro) travelling between home and work is not deductible, period. Travelling somewhere else for work is deductible, but travelling from your home is not, regardless of where you live. You might have a better chance getting your SF job to reimburse you for some expenses but that might be a long shot. – D Stanley Jan 18 at 22:37
3

https://www.irs.gov/publications/p463#en_US_2017_publink100033749

For tax purposes, travel expenses are the ordinary and necessary expenses of traveling away from home for your business, profession, or job.

An ordinary expense is one that is common and accepted in your trade or business. A necessary expense is one that is helpful and appropriate for your business. An expense doesn’t have to be required to be considered necessary.

This is certainly a necessary expense, but the IRS may dispute that it is "ordinary".

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.

Presumably, you must be physically in LV, so the first is satisfied, and LV is far enough away from SF that you wouldn't be able to go between them without rest.

If you have more than one regular place of business, your tax home is your main place of business.

So that would be SF.

You can deduct ordinary and necessary expenses you have when you travel away from home on business. The type of expense you can deduct depends on the facts and your circumstances.

Table 1-1 summarizes travel expenses you may be able to deduct. You may have other deductible travel expenses that aren’t covered there, depending on the facts and your circumstances.

You should consult a tax professional, but it looks to me that you would be able to deduct any expenses reasonably necessary for the job. You probably will be limited to the income from the other job, however. That is, if you end up spending $12k on travel expenses, and only make $10k at the other job, you probably will be allowed to deduct only $10k.

Your Answer

By clicking "Post Your Answer", you acknowledge that you have read our updated terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy, and that your continued use of the website is subject to these policies.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.