Whether someone travels for work once a year or once a month, figuring out travel expense tax write-offs might seem confusing. The IRS has information to help all business travelers properly claim these valuable deductions.
Here are some tax details all business travelers should know.
Business travel deductions are available when employees must travel away from their tax home or main place of work for business reasons. A taxpayer is traveling away from home if they are away for longer than an ordinary day's work and they need to sleep to meet the demands of their work while away.
Travel expenses must be ordinary and necessary. They can't be lavish, extravagant or for personal purposes.
Employers can deduct travel expenses paid or incurred during a temporary work assignment if the assignment length does not exceed one year.
Travel expenses for conventions are deductible if attendance benefits the business. There are special rules for conventions held outside North America.
Deductible travel expenses include:
* Travel by airplane, train, bus or car between your home and your business destination.
* Fares for taxis or other types of transportation between an airport or train station and a hotel, or from a hotel to a work location.
* Shipping of baggage and sample or display material between regular and temporary work locations.
* Using a personally owned car for business.
* Lodging and meals.
* Dry cleaning and laundry.
* Business calls and communication.
* Tips paid for services related to any of these expenses.
* Other similar ordinary and necessary expenses related to the business travel.
Self-employed individuals or farmers with travel deductions
* Those who are self-employed can deduct travel expenses on Schedule C (Form 1040), Profit or Loss From Business (Sole Proprietorship).
* Farmers can use Schedule F (Form 1040), Profit or Loss From Farming.
Travel deductions for the National Guard or military reserves
National Guard or military reserve servicemembers can claim a deduction for unreimbursed travel expenses paid during the performance of their duty.
Well-organized records make it easier to prepare a tax return. Keep records such as receipts, canceled checks and other documents that support a deduction.