As we get deeper into the summer, more people are taking the opportunity to take some vacations and do some travel. If some of that travel is happening for business, though, you want to keep things documented to take advantage of the tax deductions you can get for it.
Now of course, this doesn’t mean that every time you travel, things are automatically deductible. Sure, you took your laptop out a couple times while on vacation, but that doesn’t mean you were actually traveling FOR business. So to have travel qualify, you must be traveling for business purposes, be away for longer than an ordinary day’s work, and have to sleep in a location other than your home to meet the demands of your work tasks.
Of course, once you are somewhere, not everything is automatically deductible either. It’s not as if the IRS says you’re allowed to stay an extra day and sightsee – those expenses wouldn’t be related to work and therefore are not deductible. But here is a quick list of things that you will want to keep track of that can be deductible for business travel:
That last piece contains some important information in the “ordinary and necessary” bit, which is essentially the rule for what is acceptable when deducting these expenses. It is understandable that you will need to eat some meals while on the road for work, but it’s less understandable if you are spending thousands of dollars in fine dining establishments for each meal. This doesn’t mean you have to have a gas station sandwich for every meal but be reasonable.
And the most reasonable thing you can do to take advantage of this is to have good recordkeeping. Keep your receipts that back up your expenses, track your mileage, and hold onto whatever other documents support these deductions and let them work for you come tax time.
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