business trip tax deductions

Make Your Next Trip Tax Deductible


4 September,2012

Later this week, I’m headed to the Financial Blogger Conference, being held in Denver. I look forward to an awesome weekend of meeting with fellow bloggers, and seeing a little bit of Denver, since it’s not a city I’ve spent a lot of time in. And I’m excited that it will be mostly tax deductible.

One of the great things about owning a business is that there are a number of ways to help you reduce your tax liability. If you want to deduct some of your travel expenses, do yourself a favor and conduct a little business while you’re there.

Tax Deductible Travel Business Expenses

If you are traveling for business, you can deduct related expenses, which include:

  • Airfare
  • Mileage if you drive
  • Hotel
  • Conference registration fees
  • Shuttle and cab rides
  • Car rental
  • Dry cleaning
  • 50% of what you spend on meals

You do have to be careful, though. Make sure that what you deduct actually relates to business. If you bring your family along, their costs don’t count as business expenses, and they aren’t tax deductible. Back in June, I went to the New Media Expo (formerly BlogWorld). The conference was located in New York City, so I brought my son along to stay upstate with his grandparents for a couple of days. While my airfare was tax deductible, my son’s wasn’t. I made sure to keep his costs separate from my business expenses.

Also, don’t forget that you should document everything. Keep your receipts. Make notes. I save all my receipts and put them in my “tax receipts” folder once I get home. This helps me keep my taxes organized all year, and I know right where my documentation is, so it makes it easier on me come tax time.

Another good idea is to use a business account. When I travel for business purposes, I use my business bank account. You can also get a business credit card to pay for business travel expenses. When you have a separate business account that you can use to better define which costs are business related, and which are personal, that can help a great deal. Try to keep your expenses separated as much as possible in order to make your record-keeping easier, and to provide better documentation and evidence for the IRS.

Planning Your Travel

I know a business owner that always plans his family vacations alongside business travel. While he has to pay for the cost of his family, his own travel — provided he does more business than personal activity — is tax deductible. It means a working vacation for him, but it also means that his family is along, and they can have some fun in between.

Not everyone likes to plan travel this way, but it can be one way to reduce your costs when you are on vacation. Carefully consider your options, and whether or not your trip has anything to do with business. As a professional blogger, blogging conferences can be considered related to my business. Think about whether it makes sense for you to go on this business trip, as well as whether or not it can be considered tax deductible.