If you’re planning a late summer
vacation there are ways you may be able to use the tax code to help
subsidize that summer trip to some popular tourist haven. Here are
Mixing vacation with
business. One ticket to tax-deductible travel is to tack
some vacation onto a business trip you’re scheduled to take this
If the primary purpose of your
trip is business, you can deduct the cost of getting to and from
your destination. For example, say you have a five-day professional
convention in Honolulu this summer and you plan to stay an extra few
days to lie on the beach and sample the sea breezes.
You could deduct 100% of your
round-trip airfare to Hawaii. There is no need to prorate the costs
based on the proportion of time you spent vacationing.
In contrast, food and lodging
costs usually must be prorated — only those attributable to your
five-day business convention would be deductible. There are,
however, a couple of situations where you can deduct living expenses
for your vacation days. In you have business to conduct on a Friday
and Monday, you can deduct food and lodging for the Saturday and
Sunday in between, even if you spend the entire weekend sightseeing.
Taking your family on a deductible trip won’t diminish your
write-offs. The IRS allows you to deduct whatever it would have cost
you to travel alone. So when figuring your deduction for lodging,
you can deduct the single-occupancy rate for your room, which will
usually be just slightly less than the double-occupancy rate you
actually pay for you and your family.
If you drive to your destination,
you can deduct the full cost of your round-trip transportation,
because you would incur the same cost traveling alone in the car. Of
course, if you’re traveling by plane or train, only your fare is
Professional seminars offer another chance for deductible travel.
Continuing-education courses and seminars for doctors, lawyers and
other professionals are often held in popular tourist areas. Travel
costs are deductible if the education is needed to maintain or
upgrade skills in your job, and if education is the main purpose of
Volunteer charity work can also lead to deductible travel
opportunities. Travel to an out-of-town convention of a charitable
or religious organization can be deductible — but only if you’re an
official delegate to the convention. If you’re performing charitable
work away from home, you may be able to deduct the travel costs. For
example, scoutmasters who take Boy Scout troops on summer camping
trips can deduct travel expenses as a charitable contribution.
trips. If you own an out-of-town rental property, you can
deduct trips to look after your investment. But be prepared to prove
that the primary purpose of your trip was to manage or work on the
property — not to just vacation there.
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