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Tax Law (Questions About Taxes)/Per Diem and changing Tax Home


QUESTION: I am a contractor working out-of-state. I am single and my last child has left home (for college.) I find that I'm at my otherwise empty apartment only once a month or so for family visits, though intended on returning to it when my contract was done. However, my lease came up for renewal and it seems like a lot of money to spend on an empty apartment so I am exploring options. Can I just change my home address to that of one of my [married] children or ex-wife? Do I need to rent a room from them or pay part of their rent? Or do I need to rent another place just to have one? Again, I fully intend on returning to my home town at the completion of my contract (I much prefer it to where I am now.)


Thanks for your question.

It depends on the length of your contract.  If you are working at this location for more than 12 months, the IRS regulations state that your tax home is the place of employment. Therefore, any travel expenses are not deductible.  Even though it is more than one contract, if you are working on the same project in excess of 12 months, the rule applies.  If this is the case, it does not matter where you actually call home, as that is not applicable.

If the length of your time on the project is less than 12 months, your travel expenses are deductible.  However, to abandon your present home and give another address as your home address if you are not living there, would be a fraud. IF you legitimately can call the place your home (get mail there, pay rent, live there when not at the work location, you would be OK.

Hope this helps.

John Stancil, CPA

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thank you for the fast response and confirming my interpretation of the IRS regulations. I will renew the lease. Something else you said, sparked my interest.

I am a W2 contractor. The company pays me a daily per diem. Can I still deduct my travel expenses?

If the length of the project exceeds 12 months the per diem is taxable and the travel expenses are not deductible. IF 12 months or less the per diem is taxable, but the expenses are deductible as miscellaneous itemized deductions on Schedule A.

Hope this helps.

John Stancil, CPA

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John Stancil, CPA


I can answer questions on personal income taxes, partnerships, and some corporate income taxes. I can deal with some state tax questions. Limited gift and estate tax questions. I am also familiar with ministerial and church tax reporting issues. I am Professor Emeritus at Florida Southern College. Sales taxes and property taxes are state and local issues so I am not likely be be able to give you an in depth answer on those types of taxes. I have maintained a CPA practice, specializing in tax, for over 35 years. I am a member of the National Association of Tax Professionals, The Florida Insititute of CPA's, The NCPE Fellowship. In addition I am a Certified Mentor for SCORE. Visit my website at I also offer seminars and consultations to churches and clergy on their tax issues at Also visit my blog, I am listed on Tax Connections at Prepare and file your own taxes at


I hold a doctorate in Accounting, and am a CPA. My certifications of CIA, CFM, and CMA are inactive. I passed all certification examinations on the first attempt, and received honorable mention for my scores on the CIA exam. I have operated a CPA firm for over 37 years and have taught accounting and tax at the college level for over 35 years.

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The CPA Journal, Florida CPA Today, Green Consumer, Green Business, Global Sustainability as a Business Imperative, Palmetto Review, NATP TaxPro Quarterly, Mustang Journal of Finance and Accounting.

DBA University of Memphis MBA University of Georgia BS in Accounting Mars Hill University

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