Let’s say you want to combine a vacation with your business travel and possibly deduct a few expenses on your tax return. Can you do this and not have the IRS look unfavorably at these deductions. Yes, some business travel costs are considered legitimate expenses—you just have to be careful and document everything correctly.
There are many conferences that are held in great getaway places. You might have a seminar to attend in Boston, so how do you go about getting the most out of your trip? To begin with, if your trip is mainly for business, the cost of getting there is fully deductible. Once you are there, you don’t have to work all day and leave when your business is done to make sure that you get the deductions. You can take time to maybe do some kayaking on the Charles River or visit the Aquarium. As long as you are not deducting the expenses for the part of the stay that is vacation, you should be fine.
Now you want to bring along the family. You cannot deduct their travel costs, but that one rental vehicle is fully deductible. And if you should all stay in one room (or maybe not!) then the cost of that single room is fully deductible. Meals are subject to the 50% rule and that means only yours can be written off. There are many incidental costs that seem to appear while on vacation that can be written off on your return. Some of these might include internet fees, phone calls, seminar and conference fees, laundry charges and any other costs that you might consider business related.
The IRS rules for travel related expenses can be complicated and there certainly can be a lot of so-called abuse in this area. Therefore, it is very important that you document everything, keep all receipts and anything else that proves that you were on a business trip. Save the agenda, the pamphlet from the seminar, and any other related receipts. Finally, be reasonable in what you are deducting for business purposes. Be cautious, don't rush out, get vacation package for the family and expect to get tax break.
The economy is down and vacation times are not on the top of everyone’s to do list. It’s not a bad idea to combine business travel with a well-deserved vacation.
Photo of the Charles River in Boston by Paul Keleher from Flickr