Taking an extended trip away from the office is often a necessary step in getting your business to the next level, but doing so can get expensive.
That’s where expense reports come in.
“For travelling business people, not going overboard is really good advice,” says Pauline Frommer, who travels often in her role as publisher of Frommers.com. “There’s nothing more embarrassing than turning in an expense report with the wrong information.”
The key is to know your company’s expense policies, since they differ from business to business. But for expenses that may not be entirely covered by your company, it helps to be familiar with IRS tax code. Most business travellers know that they can write off their flights, hotels, and meals as necessary travel expenditures.
Here are some things you might not have known were tax-deductible:
Dry cleaning: Sometimes trips last longer than expected. According to the IRS, expenses for dry cleaning and laundry are tax-deductible as a business cost, so there’s no excuse for not looking presentable at meetings when you’re travelling.
Calls and other forms of communication: It may be obvious to charge long-distance calls to your expense account, but you may not know that faxes and Internet connection fees could also be deducted.
Convention travel (even on cruise ships): Travel for workshops, conferences, and seminars are deductible if you can prove that it has a direct business purpose. You can even attend a convention on a cruise ship if it takes place on a U.S.-registered vessel that doesn’t make any stops outside of the country.
Shipping work material: If you’re travelling for a trade show and need to display your products to potential buyers, you can get a tax deduction for the cost of shipping your materials to your destination ahead of time.
Stenographer fees: If, for example, you’ll need to hire a stenographer to transcribe legal documents or keep official records of shareholder votes, you can write off any associated fees as travel expenses.
Computer rental: Things happen, and you may need to rent a computer in a hurry. Computer rental services like services like Rentacomputer.com or Rushcomputer.com will take care of it, and you can write off the cost.
Business travel by RV: If you can prove that travelling by RV is ordinary and necessary for your business, any expenses associated with maintaining and owning a house trailer are tax-deductible.
Keeping track of expenses incurred on your trip is essential to getting reimbursed by your company. Apps like XpenseTracker, Expensify, or Mileage Tracker can help keep you in check and make sure you’re not charging anything that goes beyond tax code or your company’s policies.
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