Can I deduct my internet charges as a flight crew expense?
The Tax Court is continuously evolving. In the Continental Flight Attendant case, the Court denied internet expenses but they have since changed their position. Here is a snippet from a Tax Court Memo 2012-272 (not involving flight crew)-
A taxpayer may deduct the cost of home internet service pursuant to section 162 if the expense is ordinary and necessary in the taxpayer’s trade or business. See Fessey v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo. 2010-191, slip op. at 13. To the extent that the taxpayer’s home internet expense is attributable to nonbusiness use, it constitutes a nondeductible personal expense. See sec. 262(a); Fessey v. Commissioner, slip op. at 13. Contrary to the contention of the IRS, home internet expenses are not subject to the strict substantiation rules of section 274(d). See Bogue v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo. 2011-164, slip op. at 41 (strict substantiation does not apply to utility expenses, such as home internet service); Alami v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo. 2009-42, slip op. at 26 (same).
We contend that checking schedules, bidding, answering emails, online training, reviewing policy changes, etc. are all normal everyday activities which are ordinary and necessary to your job, which makes them deductible. We compute the total number of duty days for the year from your flight schedule, and apply a percentage to the overall expense to determine the deductible portion.