It’s tax season! That means it’s time to pull out all those old business travel expense receipts and see what, exactly, is deductible.
USA Today reports that accountants say they’ve seen it all when it comes to the items business travelers try to deduct during tax season. “Sometimes, they’re legitimate,” the article says. “Often, they’re not.”
Snorkeling expenses accrued while speaking at a seminar in Hawaii? Nice try. $200 business dinner in Hong Kong? Maybe.
“A lot of people just really push the rules, and, actually, they don’t even push the rules; they go over the line,” says Scott Estill, a former IRS trial attorney and author of TaxThis! An Insider’s Guide to Standing Up to the IRS.
What counts as a legitimately deductible expense? Anything that relates to your business is fair game: airfare, gasoline for your car, baggage fees, taxis, lodging, meals, phone calls and supplies. You can even deduct your laundry service, dry cleaning and drinks at the bar.
So while you prepare to file your taxes this year, remember one important thing: it is better to have more documentation than you think you need. If you kept a hand-written log or excel spreadsheet of your expenses and receipts as you went along this year: good for you. Good luck!
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