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Publication 3

Itemized Deductions(p16)

To figure your taxable income, you must subtract either your standard deduction or your itemized deductions from adjusted gross income. For information on the standard deduction, see Pub. 501.
Itemized deductions are figured on Schedule A (Form 1040). This section discusses miscellaneous itemized deductions for employee business expenses of particular interest to members of the Armed Forces.For information on other itemized deductions, see the publications listed below. Also see the Instructions for Schedule A (Form 1040).
You must reduce the total of most miscellaneous itemized deductions by 2% of your adjusted gross income. For information on deductions that are not subject to the 2% limit, see Pub. 529.

Employee Business Expenses(p16)

Deductible employee business expenses generally are miscellaneous itemized deductions subject to the 2% limit. Certain employee business expenses are deductible as adjustments to income. For information on many employee business expenses, see Pub. 463.

How do I claim an employee business expense? (p16)

Generally, you must file Form 2106, Employee Business Expenses, or Form 2106-EZ, Unreimbursed Employee Business Expenses, to claim these expenses. You do not have to file Form 2106 or Form 2106-EZ if you are claiming only unreimbursed expenses for uniforms, professional society dues, and work-related educational expenses (all discussed later). You can deduct these expenses directly on Schedule A (Form 1040).

Can I claim the deduction if I received a reimbursement?(p16)

Generally, to receive advances, reimbursements, or other allowances from the government, you must adequately account for your expenses and return any excess reimbursement. Your reimbursed expenses are not deductible.
If your expenses are more than your reimbursement, the excess expenses are deductible (subject to the 2% limit) if you can prove them. You must file Form 2106 to report these expenses.
You can use the shorter Form 2106-EZ if you meet all three of the following conditions.
For 2016, the standard mileage rate is 54 cents a mile for all business miles driven. This rate is adjusted periodically.

Travel Expenses(p16)

You can deduct unreimbursed travel expenses only if they are incurred while you are traveling away from home.
What if I am on a permanent duty assignment?(p16)
If you are a member of the U.S. Armed Forces on a permanent duty assignment overseas, you are not traveling away from home. You cannot deduct your expenses for meals and lodging while at your permanent duty station. 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.
A naval officer assigned to permanent duty aboard a ship that has regular eating and living facilities has a home aboard ship for travel expense purposes.

When am I considered to be away from home?(p16)

Home is your permanent duty station (which can be a ship or base), regardless of where you or your family live. You are away from home if you are away from your permanent duty station substantially longer than an ordinary day's work and you need to get sleep or rest to meet the demands of your work while away from home.

What type of travel expenses can I deduct?(p16)

To be deductible, your travel expenses must be work related. You cannot deduct any expenses for personal travel, such as visits to family while on furlough, leave, or liberty.
Examples of deductible travel expenses include the following.
You cannot deduct any expenses for travel away from home if the temporary assignment in a single location is realistically expected to last (and does in fact last) for more than 1 year. This rule may not apply if you are participating in a federal crime investigation or prosecution. For more information, see Pub. 463 and the Form 2106 instructions.

Transportation Expenses(p17)

These expenses include the unreimbursed ordinary and necessary costs of:
These expenses include the costs of transportation by air, bus, rail, taxi, and driving and maintaining your car. Transportation expenses incurred while traveling away from home are included with your travel expenses, discussed earlier.

What if I travel to a temporary work location?(p17)

If you have one or more regular places of business away from your home and you commute to a temporary work location in the same trade or business, you can deduct the expenses of the daily round-trip transportation between your home and the temporary location.
What makes employment at a work location temporary?(p17)
Generally, if your employment at a work location is realistically expected to last (and does in fact last) for 1 year or less, the employment is temporary.
If your employment at a work location is realistically expected to last for more than 1 year or if there is no realistic expectation that the employment will last for 1 year or less, the employment is not temporary, regardless of whether it actually lasts for more than 1 year. If employment at a work location initially is realistically expected to last for 1 year or less, but at some later date the employment is realistically expected to last more than 1 year, that employment will be treated as temporary (unless there are facts and circumstances that would indicate otherwise) until your expectation changes.
If you do not have a regular place of business, but you ordinarily work in the metropolitan area where you live, you can deduct daily transportation expenses between your home and a temporary work site outside your metropolitan area. However, you cannot deduct daily transportation costs between your home and temporary work sites within your metropolitan area. These are nondeductible commuting costs.

Can I deduct the expenses of commuting from my home to my regular workplace?(p17)

The expenses of getting to and from your regular place of work (commuting) are not deductible.

What if I travel to an Armed Forces reserve unit meeting?(p17)

A meeting of an Armed Forces reserve unit is a second place of business if the meeting is held on a day on which you work at your regular job. You can deduct the expense of getting from one workplace to the other. You usually cannot deduct the expense if the reserve meeting is held on a day on which you do not work at your regular job. In this case, your transportation generally is a nondeductible commuting expense. However, you can deduct your transportation expenses if the location of the meeting is temporary and you have one or more regular places of work.
If you ordinarily work in a particular metropolitan area but not at any specific location and the reserve meeting is held at a temporary location outside that metropolitan area, you can deduct your transportation expenses. If you travel away from home overnight to attend a guard or reserve meeting, you can deduct your travel expenses. If you travel more than 100 miles to get to the meeting, you may be able to take the expenses as an adjustment to income on Form 1040, line 24. See Travel Expenses of Armed Forces Reservists under Adjustments to Income, earlier.


You usually cannot deduct the expenses for uniform cost and upkeep. Generally, you must wear uniforms when on duty and you are allowed to wear them when off duty.

Can I ever deduct my uniform expenses?(p17)

If military regulations prohibit you from wearing certain uniforms when off duty, you can deduct the cost and upkeep of the uniforms, but you must reduce your expenses by any allowance or reimbursement you receive.

Are there specific uniform expenses I can deduct?(p17)

You can deduct unreimbursed expenses for the cost and upkeep of the following articles.

Professional Dues(p18)

You can deduct unreimbursed dues paid to professional societies directly related to your military position. However, you cannot deduct amounts paid to an officers' club or a noncommissioned officers' club.


Lieutenant Margaret Allen, an electrical engineer at Maxwell Air Force Base, can deduct professional dues paid to the American Society of Electrical Engineers.

Education Expenses(p18)

You can deduct the unreimbursed costs of qualifying work-related education. You can deduct these expenses even if the education could lead to a degree. Qualifying work-related education expenses are discussed below, but if you need more details on these expenses, see Pub. 970.

Is my education qualifying work-related education?(p18)

Qualifying work-related education is education that meets at least one of the following two tests.
However, even if the education meets one or both of the above tests, it is not qualifying education if it:

Example 1.(p18)

Lieutenant Colonel Mason has a degree in financial management and is in charge of base finances at her post of duty. She took an advanced finance course. She already meets the minimum qualifications for her job. By taking the course, she is improving skills in her current position. The course does not qualify her for a new trade or business. She can deduct educational expenses that are more than the educational allowance she received.

Example 2.(p18)

Major Williams worked in the military base legal office as a legal intern. He was placed in excess leave status by his employer to attend law school. He paid all his educational expenses and was not reimbursed. After obtaining his law degree, he passed the state bar exam and worked as a judge advocate. His educational expenses are not deductible because the law degree qualified him for a new trade or business, even though the education maintained and improved his skills in his work.

Can I deduct travel expenses incurred to obtain education?(p18)

If you travel to obtain qualifying work-related education, you can deduct the costs of travel if the main purpose of the trip is to obtain the education. Your deductible travel costs will include meals (subject to the 50% limit) and lodging.
You cannot deduct the cost of travel that is itself a form of education, even if it is directly related to your duties in your work or business.
See Travel Expenses, earlier, for more information on that topic.

Can I deduct transportation expenses incurred to obtain education?(p18)

If your work-related education qualifies for a deduction, you can deduct the costs of transportation to obtain that education. However, you cannot deduct the cost of services provided in kind, such as base-provided transportation to or from class. Transportation expenses include the actual costs of bus, subway, cab, or other fares, as well as the costs of using your car.
See Transportation Expenses, earlier, for more information on that topic.

Repayments to Your Employer(p18)

If you had to repay to your employer an amount that you included in your income in an earlier year, you may be able to deduct the repaid amount from your income for the year in which you repaid it. Where you report the repayment on your tax return will depend on the amount of the repayment.

Repayment of $3,000 or less.(p18)

If the amount you repaid was $3,000 or less, deduct it from your income in the year you repaid it. If you reported it as wages, deduct it as a miscellaneous itemized deduction on Schedule A (Form 1040), line 23.

Repayment is over $3,000.(p18)

If the amount you repaid was more than $3,000, see Repayments in Pub. 525.