More articles from Credits & Deductions
The subject of taxes has been of huge interest lately. However, most of that talk has been centered on the perceived inequality of the tax laws. Unless you do a large amount of winnowing through the available stories, you’re not going to find much that tells you how someone making less than $100,000 a year can save money by using completely legal tax deduction, especially while on vacation. This disparity in the news stories doesn’t mean that there aren’t any ways you can save a little money. On the contrary, there are quite a few.
You’re probably already aware that if you take a client to dinner and discuss business issues, you can deduct that. However, did you know that you can do the same thing while on vacation? Yep, you can deduct the cost of meals for yourself while on vacation if you conduct at least a little business during the meal. Just remember, if you have your family with you, it’s not very likely that you can deduct their meal expenses unless they are part of your business.
Most industries routinely hold seminars and conferences during the summer months. Check out industry trade publications and the like to find out if there are any conferences that your business is eligible to attend and whether they’re being held in a location you’d like to vacation in. If they are, book yourself into the conference and book your flight, as you can write off the cost of your airline ticket (and only yours, unless other members of the family are also members of the business).
Even if you plan on vacationing internationally, you can still get a tax write-off by conducting business while on vacation. However, there are a few more provisos here. First, your international vacation must be at least 75 percent business. Again, only the tickets purchased by members (usually officers of your business can be written off. Additionally, and maybe more importantly, there are percentages rules here. If you conduct business for a few hours on a daily basis while on vacation, you can most likely deduct 100 percent of your ticket’s cost. However, if you only conduct business on eight on ten vacation days, you can only write-off 80 percent of your individual expenses.
Many American families like to take cruises when on vacation. Many professional and business organizations have also been known to schedule conferences and/or seminars on cruise ships. Again, there’s a special proviso here that determines whether or not you can write off the cost of your cruise: Your cruise may not stop in any foreign ports of call.
Everyone knows that the IRS seems to like paperwork. They love documentation. This means that you need to document and record all of your expenses while on vacation. Ideally, you’d be breaking out the expenses and keeping those of the rest of the family separate from yours. Remember, unless the other members of your family are also a part of the business and they are also conducting business, their expenses are not deductible.
The IRS site, like the IRS forms, isn’t easy to navigate and find the information you need, but it’s there. If you plan on renting a vacation house/property, there are rules regarding how much of those expenses can be deducted. For more information in deductible vacation expenses, IRS Form 535 lists almost every possible deduction a business owner or operator is eligible for.