Thursday, September 25, 2008

Reference question regarding whether interns' travel expenses are deductible

Yesterday an accounting professor asked for some assistance in finding court cases relating to whether the travel expenses of a summer intern were deductible. (He later said it was for paid internships at a profit making entity and that the student attended school in a different location than the internship, requiring travel.) I searched CCH Tax Research and RIA Checkpoint, Lexis-Nexis and Westlaw Campus.

I learned that there are a lot of facts and issued involved with these cases, including whether the internships are required as part of a course of study, whether the programs are administered by the college/university or are through a private company offering paid employment, what "away from home" means, what being engaged in a "trade or business" means, and that "internships" and "temporary employment" situations differ in their treatment.

I didn't find any case that matched his fact situation, but I found two cases in which students were not successful in deducting expenses for travel to summer jobs:

These can be found at CCH Annotations 2008 Fed 8570.1252

What Is "Away from Home"?: Summertime employment of student

A law student who resided with her husband in Boston and attended law school there was not entitled to deduct the cost of staying in New York while employed at a ten-week summer job. The student's tax home was the city at which she was employed during the summer. (She had been unable to find a summer job in Boston and came to New York for the 10 week summer job.)

S. Hantzis, CA-1, 81-1 USTC ¶9144, 638 F2d 248.

Expenses incurred by an Iowa college student during his summer vacation in traveling to a job in Alaska and living at the job location were not deductible even though the job was temporary. The taxpayer did not travel to the out of state job because of the employer's business needs or interest. (The college student had traveled to Alaska for the construction job and had been told that the company wouldn't pay for his expenses before he went to Alaska.)

P.F. Janss, CA-8, 58-2 USTC ¶9873, 260 F2d 99.

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