There are some professions that allow for special tax deductions when you itemize that are not available to the rest of us. If you are a pilot or flight attendant then you are in one of them. Flight attendant tax deductions usually fall into one of two areas:
- out of pocket expenses such as uniforms, cell phone, union dues, etc.
- per diem allowances and deductions.
Both are discussed below.
Flight Attendant Tax Deductions – Out of Pocket Expenses…
Virtually everyone in the corporate world will incur costs associated with their profession. In most cases, those expenses that blur the line between personal and professional tend to fall into the “let’s not try this” zone. By nature of the profession, flight attendants incur expenses that would normally be considered off limits for tax deduction purposes, yet are reasonably standard on most of their 1040’s. These include things like cell phone charges, dry cleaning, luggage, uniforms, taxis from the airport to the hotel in a foreign city, etc.
Flight Attendant Tax Deductions – Per Diem…
This is where things get interesting….
The per diem deduction is a lucrative tax deduction that can be used by flight crew to account for their meals + incidental expenses (M&IE) in lieu of keeping records and receipts. It provides a much easier and more lucrative tax deduction for flight crew members than the cost of the actual meals.
The per diem deduction varies depending on where one lays over. Intuitively this makes sense. If you are in New York City the theoretical cost of a meal is less than say Des Moines.
There is an online tool called EZ PerDiem if you’d like to plug in the necessary variables of tax year, dates and airport codes.
If you have any additional comments or questions on flight attendant tax deductions please feel free to ask us below.