Have you ever considered the fact that mixing business with pleasure need not be a one way trip to a guilt ridden existence? Particularly when Uncle Sam is footing the bill? If you have been delaying a trip weighed down by thoughts of uncontrollable expenses, this is what you can do to have your cake and get to eat it too – you can write off at least some of the expenses on that trip and charge that to your taxes.
The technique doesn’t guarantee instant savings but the benefits will surface when you file your tax return. The trick lies in ensuring you pad the trip with some official work. In fact we can go a step further in stating unambiguously that any item of expenditure deemed “ordinary” and of course absolutely “necessary” to the performance of your official duties can be considered for a tax write off.
Exactly what do we understand by the term deductible?
By definition this is the amount that you can legitimately deduct before paying up your personal taxes. The moot point is carefully itemizing the expenses that you can deduct from your taxes so that you suffer a lower tax cut.
Assuming that you have designated the trip as a business related venture, and you are driving to and from the work destination, you can straight away deduct 50 cents to very mile that you have motored. The math is pretty powerful and it is a valuable saving. The rule can be applied even if pleasure precedes the business portion of the trip. You can calculate the miles from the hotel to the business venue and back using the earlier mentioned yardstick.
Calculate the exact number of days spent on business affairs and deduct the lodging expenses for that period. You have to ensure that leisure days are not counted in the process.
Dining out expenses
You can eat in peace knowing that meals on business days are deductible, and the write off is a decent 50% of the meal, provided the meal is business related. Of course, it would be wiser not to inflate bills with expensive steaks and costly wines that crop up too frequently as that indiscretion could raise Uncle Sam’s heckles. Remember that the write off is restricted to a portion of the meal and you have no business pushing the family banquet into the picture. However, if company associates are gracing the dinner table and you are footing the bill, you are allowed to pare off a 50% deduction on the joint meal.
Attending a business connected event can cost you entry charges and expenses connected to materials that you need for the conference. These expenses can be deducted. What you are not allowed to deduct is material cost that is unconnected to the business event. So if you are holding the seminar in Fullerton, make sure the family’s Disney World bills don’t get included.
The skillful art of carving a business trip out of the vacation
Now that you have a pretty good idea about what can be deducted from the tax payoff and what shouldn’t be included, let’s examine in detail what it takes to ensure the quite vacation has the veneer of a business trip to cash in on valuable write offs.
Make sure you are attending a seminar
Ace Attorneys will tell you that if a seminar or conference is job related and creates any value addition as far as your job or business is concerned, the conference will be eligible for write offs. If the course enhances job skills and is also an integral part of organizational needs, it qualifies for write offs. You can check out the business travel itinerary of the firm to zero in on destinations that are also ideal for vacationing. Needless to say it should be ensured that the business days relating to the seminar should be insulated from the vacationing half so that your private visits do not clash with seminar sessions.
Blogging is a good beginning
Let’s assume you are a travel writer writing a blog on travel related issues and descriptions of exotic destinations. You could consider the benefits of writing an article on a location that has great tourism potential but is hitherto untapped by American visitors. You could blog about that destination and pitch the idea to your travel magazine or travel agency. If the editors or company directors share your enthusiasm and feel you should explore this strange new land, you would have created the basis for visiting the place and writing off some of the connected expenses. It is important to remember that if your trip is an all-expenses paid jaunt sponsored by the company and there is no expenses component that needs to be paid out of your pocket, you have no basis for claiming write offs. To claim a write off you have to necessarily incur the expenditure.
The benefits of volunteer work
Let’s assume that you keep yourself busy doing volunteer work far away from home. It’s a job that gets you to see distant places and to enjoy the sights and sounds, and tastes and treats that go hand in hand with volunteer work. In such instances reasonable expenses can be deducted simply because they are unreimbursed by the charity organization for which you have dedicated your volunteer services. The only note of caution is that the expenses should not reflect leisure travel, recreational activity or pleasurable activities that would be associated with vacationing.
Research expenses are deductible
It is possible that you are a businessman canvasing a new territory for business opportunities or a novelist on the lookout for a locale that inspires a new thought or story. You could also be scouting a new destination for relocating your business. A research experience of this type generates tantalizing opportunities for mixing pleasure with business, but you should take care that only the business research related expenses are claimed for write offs.
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Confabulating with the experts
When you are growing your business it is necessary to engage the services of experts or pick the brains of skilled professionals that may be located in destinations away from your home base. If you visit them or take them out for dinner you would have created grounds for write offs. Of course it would be pertinent not to disclose the fact that you are aiming for a major tax cut. From the point of view of the IRS it would also be prudent to retain and carefully file business trip related bills, receipts and noting connecting the event to what can be proved to be ordinary and necessary business dealings. Keep an updated record of how the trip benefitted you and the company.
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Part paying a vacation by clubbing it with a business trip makes sense because it is the best way of mixing business with pleasure, with Uncle Sam playing the indulgent but stern father figure. To forestall criticism and to avoid disputes it would be wise to segregate leisure days and insulate the business part of the trip and to carefully itemize all expenses so that there is no ambiguity in your claim. Car Title Loans Van Nuys 16461 Sherman Way, Van Nuys, CA 91406 (818) 946-0658
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