How do I enter my Home Base?

This is a popular question, because there is NO place to enter a home base.  The reason is simple.  In IRS Pub 463 and through several conversations with tax attorneys, it is advisable to use the 3/4 day method for calculating the first and last day of your trip.  The first day is based on your first overnight, so it doesn't matter where your "home base" is because you are not eligible for perdiem deductions while at home.  On the last day the calculation is based on the previous night, which is also away from home.  As you can see, neither case is dependent on your home base.... which is why you never enter it.

From IRS Pub 463

Travel for days you depart and return.   For both the day you depart for and the day you return from a business trip, you must prorate the standard meal allowance (figure a reduced amount for each day). You can do so by one of two methods.
  • Method 1: You can claim 3/4 of the standard meal allowance.

  • Method 2: You can prorate using any method that you consistently apply and that is in accordance with reasonable business practice.

 

Example.

Jen is employed in New Orleans as a convention planner. In March, her employer sent her on a 3-day trip to Washington, DC, to attend a planning seminar. She left her home in New Orleans at 10 a.m. on Wednesday and arrived in Washington, DC, at 5:30 p.m. After spending two nights there, she flew back to New Orleans on Friday and arrived back home at 8:00 p.m. Jen's employer gave her a flat amount to cover her expenses and included it with her wages.

Under Method 1, Jen can claim 2½ days of the standard meal allowance for Washington, DC: 3/4 of the daily rate for Wednesday and Friday (the days she departed and returned), and the full daily rate for Thursday.

Under Method 2, Jen could also use any method that she applies consistently and that is in accordance with reasonable business practice. For example, she could claim 3 days of the standard meal allowance even though a federal employee would have to use Method 1 and be limited to only 2½ days.

Notes from IRS example

Notice the bold in the example provided by the IRS above.  Jen is allowed a 3/4 deduction for Washington on Day 1, then a full deduction on Day 2 and another 3/4 deduction  on day 3.  Notice, all 3 days are taken based on the Washington, DC rate even though day 1 and 3 involve her "home base".

avPerDiem example:

Description of Travel Actual Entries in the PerDiem app or website
Jan 1st - leave home and stay in KJFK KJFK
Jan 2nd - Travel to KMIA KMIA
Jan 3rd - Travel Home  

 

The 3rd day is left blank.  When you request a detailed report you will see a 3/4 day entry on the 3rd of January, but no entry is required on the 3rd.  The goal is to keep entry simple.

What about Method #2?

From the advice of several tax attorney's, method #2 is certainly available for your use, but open to vague interpretation and you will need to be prepared to plead your case in an audit.  Method #1 is black & white.