Absolutely. You can deduct your rent, utilities (including cable &
phone/phone cards), mileage from your VA apt to your job site, and
meals. You can deduct $39-64 per day for meals depending on where in
VA you're living. Your meals deduction will then be reduced by 50%.
You can deduct parking fees, but not parking tickets.
All misc. expenses will be added, then reduced by 2% of your AGI. That
amount is deductible on Schedule A. If you're not already itemizing,
you may lose the benefit of much of the deduction.
Because you are not checking out of a hotel on Friday & checking in
Sunday night, you can deduct the costs of returning home on weekends,
BUT you are limited by the per diem rate you would have incurred if
you had stayed. In other words, if the standard miileage allowance of
48.5 cents per mile would allow you to deduct $220 for returning home
from Alexandria, VA on weekends, your deduction is limited to $128
($64 per diem x 2 days away from VA).
You can also deduct the usual misc expense items like tools &
equipment, a new Palm Pilot, cell phone (business portion only),
work-related education, tax prep fees, investment advice fees (your
motley Fool subscription), account maintenance fees (IRA/brokerage
annual fee), etc. See Pub 529 &
http://www.irs.gov/taxtopics/tc508.html for links & more info. If
you're planning to get a new work computer or other big ticket work
item in January, you might want to buy in Dec instead, so you can
deduct the entire computer on your 2006 taxes. You won't lose most of
the deduction getting over the 2% AGI hurdle.
The key is to keep excellent records. Go to an office supply store &
get a mielage log & keep it in your car, & fill it out religiously.
Save all receipts. Since the costs of returning to VA may be limited,
track those miles separately from the driving-around-in-VA miles.
All of this assumes you really have a temp job (expected to last less
than 1 year AND DOES last less than 1 year). A far better solution for
you is to have your employer pay/reimburse your temp living expenses,
give you a meal per diem, & reimburse you for miles. Since this would
be an "accountable plan", the reimbursement would not be taxable
income to you. Perhaps you could negotiate at least a partial