10 Common Miscellaneous Expense Deductions

Employee Travel
If your employer isn't reimbursing you for travel, you may be able to deduct it. iStockphoto/ThinkStock

Traveling for work is a lot more fun if you get paid to do it. But if your company isn't footing the bill for a work-related trip, you still might be in luck. If you're itemizing your deductions, add in the expenses of the trip to help lower that tax bill. Transportation, meals, lodging -- go ahead and put 'em all in.

But the IRS does have some rules about these deductions. First of all, don't think you can write off an indefinite work assignment. In other words, if your boss sends you to Saudi Arabia for "as long as it takes to seal the deal," forget writing off that luxury condo and first-class airfare. More specifically, the assignment must be expected to last less than a year. But other than that, there's quite a bit to list as a deduction, including things like dry cleaning or the cost of business phone calls.

In general, you can only deduct 50 percent of your meals, or you can take the standard meal allowance [source: IRS]. That will let you take a flat amount for the "going rate" of meals in the area.