Reservists eligible for travel tax deduction

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Shayna Hodge
  • 512th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Reservists who travel more than 100 miles from their home to accomplish Reserve-component requirements are eligible to deduct unreimbursed travel expenses on their tax return.

Reservists may also be able to amend past tax returns for three years, as well as for time spent on deployments to qualifying locations, to claim unreimbursed travel expenses.

According to the Internal Revenue Service website, eligible reservists should complete IRS Form 2106, Employee Business Expenses, to claim all unreimbursed travel, including meals, from the time they leave their residence until their return. Parking fees, tolls, ferry fares, train tickets and airfare also can be listed as travel expenses.

When calculating total mileage costs, reservists will benefit most from using the standard mileage rate.

For example, if a member drives 120 miles one way to drill eight times a year for a total of 1,920 miles traveled, at the rate of 0.60 cents per mile, a $1,152 adjustment to income would occur. If the member’s highest tax bracket is between 15%-25%, the member would save $288-$480 in federal income tax payments.

If claiming meal costs, reservists should remember only 50% of meals are deductible.

After completing Form 2106, reservists should complete Schedule 1 (Form 1040) and include, up to the federal per diem rate, all unreimbursed travel expenses from Form 2106.

Per diem rates vary by location, so reservists should use the current rate for the area where travel costs are incurred. Federal per diem rates can be found on here.

For additional information on how to report reserve-related travel expenses, reservists can review the Armed Forces’ Tax Guide on the IRS website, or contact tax experts at Military OneSource to receive access to free tax preparation and tax counselors.