I’m headed to San Diego on business and the beach is calling to me. Since the client is paying for the trip, I might as well add some vacation time and bring the family along. So, what do I have to do to keep this a business trip, while sharing expenses with my family vacation?”
We hear questions like this over and over again. It seems like everyone is turning business travel into vacation time and that makes sense as we look for chances to save money and have new experiences. The IRS is vigilant about business expense tracking, so make sure you follow some simple rules and grab the sunscreen before you leave!
To claim business deductions associated with travel:
– Keep ALL receipts from your business trip.
– Separate business expenses from personal expenses. Split the meal check between business and personal, book airline tickets separately, etc)
– If your domestic trip is primarily a business trip, the price of travel to and from the destination and the business expenses are deductible.
– If the trip is primarily pleasure, transportation to and from the destination is not deductible.
– If you spend less on transportation by staying until Saturday, the IRS has indicated it will generally consider that extra stay time as a business expense.
– Meals are only 50% deductible, even if they’re business meals.
– If you bring your spouse or other guests, the costs they incur are not tax deductible, as they are not “necessary” for your business trip.
– If traveling foreign and adding some pleasure time, a portion of the transportation cost is not deductible. But, if you are staying less than a week, it is deductible.
– If it feels doubtable that it is a business expense, it probably is not a business expense.
Wherever your business travels take you, with a few minutes of planning and extra receipts, you can add vacationing as part of the fun. Enjoy the beach. Surf’s up, dude!