I have been preparing tax returns for travelers for almost 20 years and one thing that never seems to die is the urban myth of a 50 Mile Rule that recruiters and travelers talk about with religious conviction. The tale goes like this: as long as you drive over 50 miles to get to your assignment, you can get tax free housing allowances. You can even use someone else’s address on your tax forms to get the money, since all the IRS cares about is your permanent residence address.
Really? Wow. If it is really this easy, everyone should live 51 miles a way from their job.
The logic and facts: Why should you get tax free housing allowances without having a lodging expense to reimburse? A trucker who sleeps in their cab can’t get it and we all know long distance truckers are far, far away from home.
It really defies common sense that the IRS could have that much confidence in a mileage benchmark to give up so much tax revenue.
Yet the myth continues to emerge just like a game of Whac a Mole………