What Are Incidentals Expenses (IE)?

Farwah Jafri | March 7 2023

Incidental expenses (IE) are also known as incidentals. They are the minor fee and the main cost of the services, items, or any paid event during business activities.

IE supports the costs of lodging, meals, and transportation costs and is quite common when an employee travels for business. For example, a worker who takes a taxi from the airport to the hotel will incur living space expenses. If it is a local tradition to pay tips to the hotel staff and drivers, it will also be included in incidental expenses. If you need to know more about what are incidentals expenses, their types, methods to check, then you are reading the right piece of writing!

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Per Diem: The word per diem refers to daily allowances paid to the workers. It covers all the costs of business trips.  These payments are useful for employees whose jobs require extensive traveling. 

Methods to check incidental expenses

Now that we know what are incidentals expenses, you might want to explore what methods are used to check incidental expenses.

Employees are subject to the 50% limit when paid without reimbursement regarding travel for business, investment, or income-producing property, education, medical, or charity purpose.

There are many ways to check meal and incidental expenses. The top five of them are as below:

1. Actual cost method

2. High-Low method

3. Only incidental expenses method

4. Per diem travel allowance

5. Standard meal allowance method

The availability of a method depends entirely on specific facts and conditions. The first method provides a straight reimbursement for substantiated out-of-pocket travel expenses. The other four methods provide per diem rates to cover other specific costs. The standard meal allowance rate covers the cost of all meals, cloth pressing, dry cleaning, room services, laundry, and tips for people who provide services, such as waiters and baggage handlers.

Types of Incidental Expenses

Incidental expenses refer to the smaller, often overlooked daily life or travel costs. These expenses may be a small part of your budget, but they can add up quickly and impact your overall financial plan. Here are few types  of incidental expenses you may encounter:

Personal Laundry

If you’re traveling for an extended period, you’ll likely need to do laundry at some point. While many hotels offer laundry services, they can be expensive, and you may prefer to wash your clothes yourself. If you’re staying in an apartment or vacation rental, you may have access to a washer and dryer, but you’ll need to purchase detergent and fabric softener. Be sure to budget for laundry expenses, including any necessary supplies, so you don’t get caught off guard.


In today’s digital age, it’s easy to take for granted that you’ll have access to the internet and a cell phone wherever you go. However, if you’re traveling internationally, you may need to purchase a local SIM card or pay for data roaming to stay connected. Even if you’re staying in your home country, you may incur additional charges if you exceed your monthly data plan. Similarly, you may be charged a fee if you need to make calls from your hotel room. Be sure to factor in these expenses when budgeting for your trip.


When traveling, it’s customary to tip service industry workers, such as waitstaff, bartenders, and housekeeping staff. While the tip amount may vary depending on the country or region, it’s important to budget for these expenses to stay caught up. In addition, tip tour guides or taxi drivers for exceptional service. When budgeting for tips, it’s helpful to research the customs and expectations in the areas you’ll be visiting.

Tax forms for incidental expenses 

The tax payment of incidental expenses reimbursed by the businesses varies from type and taxpayer . Employees must deduct travel expenses on Form 1040’s Schedule A and enter them as job expenses. On the other hand, you might use Form 1040A to 1040EZ for anything equal to 2% of the Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) limit.

Self-employed individuals deduct job-related traveling expenses as business expenses as on section C of Form 1040. For a business dependent upon entity classification, deduct travel expenses as business expenses on Form 1120 or 1120S, or form 1065.

Business Gifts

Incidental expenses, subordinate to the cost of gifts, are quite usual when a company gives gifts to its consumers. Companies that provide will incur incidental expenses of ribbons, bows, wrapping gift papers, and delivery charges.

Note: Business gifts deductions are limited to 25$ per giftee during each tax year. Any expense above 25$ that is been gifted to the giftee cannot be deducted.

Theft or casualty

Incidental expenses support the cost of damaged or stolen property. IE is common when a company goes through a business casualty or theft. In another case, if a company faces a burnout attack, the owners have to pay for repairs or can even replace the factory location. The company might incur IE, like medical treatment for personal injuries, moving and living costs, or rental on a temporary factory basis.

Note: Incidental expenses from theft or casualty, such as medical, fuel, or rentals for temporary living, will not be deducted as casualty losses.

Guidelines of IE

Most of the time, the rules and regulations are written in the employee handbook. From there a person can  identify incidentals and classify them into business or personal expenses.


Incidental expenses can be easy to overlook, but they can add up quickly and impact your overall budget. When planning your travel budget, consider expenses such as personal laundry, telephone and internet charges, and tips and gratuities. By doing so, you’ll be better prepared for unexpected costs and can enjoy your trip without worrying about overspending.

See Also: What Is FTE And How To Calculate It?

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Author Bio

Farwah is the Product Owner of Monily. She has an MBA from Alliance Manchester Business School, UK. She is passionate about helping businesses overcome challenges that hamper their growth, which is why she is working at Monily to facilitate entrepreneurs to efficiently manage business finances and stay focused on growth.