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Writing Off Your Summer Vacation

  Sanjiv Gupta CPA  Published 
Writing Off Your Summer Vacation

Summer vacations can burn a big hole in one’s pocket; however, avoiding them is not the long term solution. Working without taking any vacations can kill a person’s work-life balance. One has to sneak away to small trips now and then and yet have a check on the travel expenses. Here are a few ways on how to travel yet claim deduction on some of the expenses.

Combine business with pleasure

If a person travels to trips for a business meeting he can also combine the trip to do something for his personal interest. There is no hard and fast rule to identify if a trip is for business or personal purposes. If the time spent for official reasons is more on a trip, then it is a business trip. Airfares are deductible expenses. Driving to the venue of the meeting gives a whopping deduction of 56.5 cents per mile with the added benefits of parking and toll charges. The key to getting travel expenses deducted is excellent documentation.

One must have very good control of his travel expenses and know all the rules of the IRS thoroughly so that he can answer any query regarding his claim for deductions.  Business trips help to write off the entire transportation and lodging expenses can be claimed for deductions. 50% of the meal expenses spent on working days are also deductible. Hence if one travels with his wife, only the meal expenses have to be taken care of. There should be some reasonable justification to be provided before claiming some expenses as deductions.

Learn something

Enrolling in some courses while traveling is another way to save travel expenses. As long as the course is to improvise on one’s skills at work, the education expenses and the travel expenses can be written off.  One has to regularly attend these classes while traveling and have good records about all the paperwork that might be needed while claiming deductions. These courses could be a business-related seminar or a professional course that would help the person climb his corporate ladder effectively.

Lend a hand

Volunteering to do charity work while traveling can help in claiming tax deductions. This is one way to prove that the aim of travel is not for pleasure or personal purposes. One can choose to do charity work after office hours and get a deduction for all the out-of-pocket expenses one spends. Driving one’s car to the venue of the charity work also helps in deducting car expenses of 14 cents per mile. The parking and other toll expenses are also covered in these deductions.

Get healthy

If a person is suffering from a severe obese condition, then he can get himself treated at a spa for weight reduction and improving his general health. These medical expenses are deductable provided there is a statement from the doctor that the treatment was purely medical and not for pleasure. Driving to the medical center can help to deduct up to 24 cents per mile with the combined benefits of parking and toll expenses.