FLIGHT CREW EXPENSES SUBMIT FORM
There are two types of deductions for pilots and flight attendants. First is out of pocket expenses such as uniforms, cell phone, union dues, etc. The second is the per diem allowance and deduction. We need both to prepare your tax returns.
Please use this online submit form to detail your flight attendant and pilot tax deductions. There are rules, of course, and you should familiarize yourself with them if you are not sure (read our KB articles). However, the expenses listed below are generally allowed for most crewmembers. For example, we won’t ask you about shoes or nylons- these expenses are NOT deductible per a recent Tax Court case (read it here).
Per Diem Deduction Information
The government allows a deduction for each day that you are away from base. The IRS states that you can either itemize each layover city or you may take a standard rate per day (must pick one method for the year). It is to your advantage to provide your 2016 flight schedules so your per diem allowance can be calculated based on your specific flying. We will use the method that maximizes your deduction.
We also understand that obtaining and sending your schedule can be challenging. Therefore we have created an Overnights Worksheet so you can summarize your schedule.
This Flight Crew Expense Report is also available as a fill-able and save-able PDF. Super easy to complete and upload to us!
The Tax Court has repeatedly stated that any required clothing item that is either protective in nature such as flight suits or steel-toed boots, OR cannot be converted to everyday use may be deducted as job-related expense. Shoes, nylons, ties, belts, hair product, etc. can be converted to everyday use and therefore CANNOT be deducted. Read the Tax Court ruling on a Continental Flight Attendant for yourself-
Skirt, Dress, Apron
Company Coat, Jacket
Uniform Accessories, Repairs
When a uniform is required to be worn, maintenance to that uniform is a deductible expense. Home laundering is a small expense related to laundry soap, water and electricity. We usually suggest a flat rate of $50 per year- if you launder your uniform at home, please enter your expenses up to $50.
Lanyard, Badge Holder
Flight Deck, Cabin Expenses
As more airlines move towards electronic flight bags either through proprietary equipment or through iPads, these expenses become deductible beyond the portion reimbursed by the company. Every airline is handling this differently. Some are providing the equipment while others are providing a stipend. Please detail the out of pocket expenses plus any company reimbursements below.
Jepps, Charts, Manuals
Laptop, iPad, Tablet*
Cell Phone, Internet
Mixed use items such as a cell phone that are used both personally and for your job are deductible to the extent of business or job use. For an expense to be deductible, it must be both ordinary as an accepted expense within your industry, AND necessary for you to perform your job. Cell phones and internet connections are continuously used in the airline industry to check schedules, contact dispatch or maintenance, complete required training events, check weather and NOTAMs, etc.
The Watson CPA Group uses a duty day percentage based on your flight schedule to determine the job use portion of these expenses. Therefore, please enter the ANNUAL amounts for Service Charges and Internet Connection. We also discount it a bit for multiple phones, but give you the bulk of the expense based on the cost of just a single phone.
Annual Service Charges
Number of Phones on Plan
Annual Internet, Data Plan
Supplies, Home Expenses
Bid Software (i.e., FLICA)
Fax, Printer, Supplies
Office, Computer Supplies
Overnight, Travel Expenses
Flight Bags, Lunch Coolers
Luggage Purchase, Repair
Clothes Iron, Starch
Non-Commuting Expenses (TDY)
Parking fees, tolls and crashpad expenses CANNOT be deducted in connection with commuting. For example, if you drive to TVC pay a parking fee, commute to ORD and pay for a hotel for your early trip, these expenses are not deductible since there are considering commuting (your domicile becomes your tax home, and travel expenses to and from your tax home are not deductible). This is unfortunate- we get it. Read a Tax Court case to see how the IRS and the Tax Court views commuting expenses-
Having said that, if you are temporarily assigned to a domicile (less than one year) and / or you pick up out-of-domicile trips, these expenses are deductible. Only list those expenses that qualify using this information.
Airport Parking Fees
FAA Medical, Physical
Passport, Foreign Visa
Education, Currency Expenses
The expenses below are used to improve your current work skills, and are therefore deductible. For example, B737 type ratings- if you mention that a particular airline in Texas requires a B737 type rating for an interview, your deduction will be denied. If you state that you earned a B737 type rating to help yourself be more marketable, you will also lose the argument and subsequent deduction. Additional training as a part of a job search is not deductible.
A B737 type rating, or any rating, or any related education such as a foreign language, must be a part of your ongoing improvement or maintenance of your current crewmember skills. Nothing more. Read IRS Publication 529 and Tax Court tidbits here-
Federal Flight Deck Officer
Permit, Range Fees
The IRS allows you to deduct expenses related to job hunting in your current profession or occupation. So, pilot to pilot. Flight attendant to flight ttendant. And, remember, anything that can be converted to everyday use is not a deductible expense, such as an interview suit. While you probably looked dashing, good looks are not a tax deduction. Sorry.
Telephone, Fax Expenses
Publications, Job Forums
Simulator, Interview Prep
Non-rev dues are those monies paid to other airlines for your ability to travel as a non-revenue passenger. These expenses might be considered commuting expense and therefore non-deductible. However, your ability to travel to other domiciles for trips and to travel directly from your residence to training facilities might rely on your ability to travel as a non-revenue passenger. Therefore, we consider these expenses ordinary and necessary for you to perform your job. Please only list the cost for you, and not all your eligibles.
Loss of License Insurance*
* Be careful! Loss of License insurance and similar insurance policies will provide tax-free benefits since you are paying the premiums with after-tax dollars. However, if you deduct these premiums then your benefits might be taxable. Check with your insurance provider or union to ensure you are not changing the color of money accidentally.
Other Flight Crew Expenses
Are there any other expenses associated with your flight crew position that you did not detail above? If so, please describe below-
Per Diem Reimbursements
There are two types of per diem reimbursements- taxable and non-taxable. Taxable per diem reimbursements are paid by airlines for day-trips, turns, or locals depending on your geographical vernacular, and are TAXED as income. The other per diem reimbursement is not taxable since it truly is a reimbursement.
Your non-taxable per diem is usually reported on your W-2 in Box 12 Code L. SkyWest Airlines reports this as Box 14, labeled NTPERDIEM. Frontier Airlines puts the non-taxable per diem on the paystub ONLY. Please review your W2 and/or paystub to find your non-taxable per diem. We need this reported to us.
Non-Tax Per Diem Paid
The rule is simple- any time away from your tax home (domicile) that requires SUBSTANTIAL rest is allowed for a non-taxable per diem reimbursement and subsequent tax deduction. If you cannot get enough, read the famous Bissonnett Tax Court case involving a ship Captain who did local trips, but was able to deduct per diem expenses-
To properly calculate your per diem allowance and subsequent deduction, we need to know your domicile throughout the year including transfers and TDY assignments.
Domicile Jan 1
Domicile Dec 31
Did you transfer domiciles, accept TDY assignments or get displaced during 2016? If so, please describe below by telling us the dates and locations for each transfer or TDY-
Domicile transfers might incur moving expenses even if they are voluntary. As long as your move (domicile transfer) is work-related, those expenses are deductible. Please report those expenses including mileage on our Moving Expenses online submit form-
Please select the tax year that this information is associated with. In addition, please enter your name so we can group your submissions together plus your email address. Click the Submit button below to securely and safely send this information to us. You can submit as many forms as needed. If you later discover an error- simply re-submit your information and check the box below letting us know.
Is this submit form an update to a previous submission? Yes No
Tax Year 2016 2015 2014 2013