Mixing vacation and business travel

November 8th, 2012 → 6:06 pm @ // No Comments

Hi, Carol,

I have a couple of questions, for which I will gladly pay a suitable consulting feel

I’m going to England to do research for a novel. The book is set in London and I will be visiting actual places that are in the book. But the trip is also a vacation. Is there any rule of thumb as to what percentage can be deducted?

If I pay for dinner with my British publisher, that’s obviously deductible. But what about air fare?

I wouldn’t be there without it. (This is only $300 for me because frequent flyer miles paid for part of it. I presume I wouldn’t deduct my wife’s ticket.)

I’m skittish about deducting more than I’m entitled to. Any advice?

Thanks!
Dan Andriacco

Author of the Sebastian McCabe – Jeff Cody Mysteries
www.danandriacco.com
www.facebook.com/DanAndriaccoMysteries

Dan,

Try to separate the personal expenses (your wife’s airfare) from business related expenses. Sometimes it’s difficult. Yes, 100% of your airfare can be a business tax deduction. There is no rule of thumb percentage.

You might want to deduct the meals based on a per diem rate instead of actual expenses.

Self employed people can take a per diem expense for meals and incidentals (water, a drink, snack, etc) when they travel away from their “tax home” (i.e. out of town requiring an overnight stay). Or you can deduct actual meal expenses.

The per diem can vary by city, but it is a minimum of $46/day for meals and incidentals in the US.  $46 a day is a lot  to eat (!), but that’s what you can deduct and not mess with receipts!

The meal per diem for various cities can be found in IRS Publication 1542. Some cities go as high as $71/day. On the day you leave and return home, you can deduct 75% of the per diem rate.

Keep a log of the date, place, and purpose of each expense.

Watch my YouTube video where the IRS denied the travel expenses of an author: http://youtu.be/Nvdbt7IJqL4

Enjoy the trip!
Carol Topp, CPA


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