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Temporary Job Assignments
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Temporary Job Assignment

I am training in Houston, TX for 3 years. My wife is training in Jacksonville, FL. She came to Houston in July of 2012 midway through her residency training to complete a 1-year fellowship. She returned to Jacksonville, FL in June of 2013 to the same program from which she came to finish her residency training there. She is now living in the same house that she lived in before coming to Houston. We own the home. I did rent it out for the time she was in Houston.

I filed for an extension on my 2012 taxes. Now that she is back in Jacksonville, it is confirmed that her time in Houston was in fact definitively a 1-year temporary job assignment. I am now getting documents together to file my 2012 return and want to make sure I maximize this deduction.

I plan to use the standard M&IE deduction of $71/day for Houston. I understand that I can only deduct 50% of this. Is that correct?

I plan to deducted our Houston rent of $2300/month. Obviously, I was living under the same roof. Can I still deduct the full rent? Is the same true for utilities and cell phone bills?

I plan to take the standard mileage deduction rate of 55.5 cents per mile. It is my intent to apply this deduction for every mile driven in her vehicle from our driveway in Jacksonville in July 2012 back to our driveway in Jacksonville in June 2013. Is this the correct way to deduct transportation costs, or should it just be the miles she traveled from home to work and back daily?

Lastly, I plan to deduct her dry-cleaning bills for white coats and garments associated with her work.

Am I missing anything? Are all of the above justifiable deductions, and does it seem as if I am going to be filing them correctly?

Zip Code: 77054

Re: Temporary Job Assignment

I forgot. Can I deduct the moving expenses on both ends?

Zip Code: 77054

Re: Temporary Job Assignment

I read your question a few days ago, but wanted to mull it over for a few days before responding. Most of the issues are pretty easy. I agree that your wife's fellowship qualifies as a temporary job assignment. And as a temporary job assignment, I think you should feel comfortable deducting the daily rate for Meals and Incidentals (which is 50% deductible), the standard mileage rates for 100% of miles driven during the twelve months, and 100% of the other expenses you listed. I would also include the cost of moving to Texas and moving back to Florida as part of the temporary job expenses on the Form 2106.

I'm not sure what advice I would give about the rent. It sounds like you are in an apartment that costs $2300 per month for all three years of the training. I guess if you can demonstrate that you got such an expensive apartment only because your wife was coming for a year, you can then maybe deduct the premium you paid to get this apartment over what you would have rented a smaller apartment for. I don't think I would recommend claiming all $2300 of monthly rent for the twelve month period of our wife's fellowship, however.

According to these rules, the tax rules give people a tax break during a temporary job assignment since most couples need to duplicate living expenses during the assignment. In your case, your are actually reducing living expenses during these twelve months.

I know I didn't give you an exact answer to your question, but I hope you found this response somewhat sufficient. The rules are a little gray here, so you have the opportunity to be a little aggressive with this deduction, or you can choose to be a little conservative instead.

Zip Code: 01801