Railroad Employee Income Tax Preparation

At Buffalo Tax Service, we specialize in income tax preparation for railroad employees. We are very familiar with the transportation employee tax deductions and will make sure you receive everything you are entitled to.

What paperwork do I need?

When you have your tax appointment, be sure to have the following:

  • Final Pay Stub
  • Out of Service Insurance Amount Paid
  • Union Dues Amount Paid
  • Cell Phone Total (for you, not the whole family)
  • Amount paid for Cold Weather Gear and Safety Gear (do not include regular Jeans / Shirts / Sweatshirts).
  • Railroad Grip, etc…
  • Road Trip Figures (see directly below)

The important part – Road Trips

For figuring out your deduction for “Road Trips” – the IRS’s Partial Day method yields the best deduction for railroaders. I’m going to explain it in detail below. For new clients, in the past you may have added up “quarters” or “days away” – but if you follow this guideline, your deduction will be higher than any other allowed method.

First, simply list the cities you went to. For instance:


Next, you’ll figure out the number of ONE, TWO, THREE and FOUR day round trips for each city (Below the example I will explain HOW this is figured)

Write them under to the cities you listed. It will look like this:


  • 2-Day Round Trips – 8
  • 3-Day Round Trips – 33


  • 2-Day Round Trips – 23
  • 3-Day Round Trips – 9


  • 2-Day Round Trips – 0
  • 3-Day Round Trips – 14
  • 4-Day Round Trips – 4


  • 2-Day Round Trips – 18
  • 3-Day Round Trips – 7

Trip Length

Trip Length is determined by how many CALENDAR DAYS your trip spanned. A trip BEGINS when you get called.  It ENDS when you arrive back at your home terminal.

For instance:

Most common trip lengths:

A 2-DAY trip means – you get called today and get back tomorrow.

A 3-DAY trip means – you get called today and don’t get back to your home terminal until the day after tomorrow.

A 4-DAY trip means you get called today – are gone the rest of today, ALL of tomorrow, ALL of the next day and get back on the FOURTH day.

Other possible trip length:

A 1-DAY trip means you get called in the morning for a short run (say to Syracuse), take your train there, get your rest and manage to get back to your home terminal before midnight.

Last, I will need to know the number of times your trips “Overlapped.” That is to say… how many times you got back your home terminal and got called for a trip in the same day. This is very important to know because if we’re not careful, we could count the same day twice! Although I need to know the number of overlapping trips please do not remove any trips from your calculation! I will figure out the compensation for the overlapping days.

Please feel free to ask us anything you wish by text, phone, or e-mail. If you’ve been referred by another client, please mention their name!


Buffalo Tax Service

Professional Income Tax Preparation for Individuals and Businesses

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