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Rest

Rest refers to rules set by the IRS that describe a sufficient amount of downtime for a transportation employee subject to DOT rules.  This includes trucking industry employees such as a truck driver deducting travel expenses. The rest requirement, along with the requirement that the trucker must be away from his or her tax home, allows professional truck drivers to deduct traveling expenses.

Merely napping while at an outstation does NOT satisfy the rest requirement described in IRS Publication 463.  This is why a truck driver cannot write off travel expenses for local trips. A trucker's or owner-operator's relief from duty should be long enough to get necessary sleep or rest, hence a layover.

The following is a paraphrased example from IRS Publication 463:

A railroad conductor leaves his tax home on a round-trip run between two cities.  The conductor returns back to his tax home sixteen (16) hours later. During the trip, the conductor has six (6) hours off at the turn-around city where he eats a meal and rents a hotel room to get sleep before starting the return trip.

In this example, the 6 hours rest that the conductor received is enough to constitute a necessary rest period to justify deducting travel expenses, including meals and incidental expenses (M&IE) while away from his tax home.

The definition of what constitutes a rest period can be a little gray. Generally, for truckers to deduct travel expenses (including the per diem deduction), they need to be on an overnight trip.


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