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How do pilots and flight attendants calculate meal expenses for taxes?

Meal expenses are the cost of eating while on work-related travel. The reason the term meals is listed as an AviationTaxGlossary term is that there are some important considerations pilots and flight attendants must understand about meal expenses and the per diem deduction.

  1. Meal expenses are included in the M&IE calculation along with incidental expenses.
  2. Meal expenses can be calculated using the standard per diem rates for each layover location, though it is generally better to use a per diem calculator like EZPerDiem or a flight crew tax service to use the city-by-city method.
  3. Only meals while on trips that involve a rest period (typically a layover) are deductible.
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