How to Get the Most Out of Your Tax Deductions for Business Travel and Entertainment

Don't pay more in taxes than necessary by failing to claim all deductions to which you are entitled. This Financial Guide can help you properly account for business-related expenses like meals and transportation.

This financial guide details the various travel and entertainment expenses that are tax-deductible, as well as the percentages that can be deducted for each. The need to maintain records and document costs per IRS guidelines is also emphasized. Discuss your case with an experienced tax planning in Lake Mary, Florida.

Local and "away from home" (or international) business travel expenses are deductible under current tax rules.

To begin, let's look at the cost of local transportation. Expenses like using public transportation, a leased car, or your own vehicle to move from one business site to another are all tax deductible as local transportation. Meals and incidentals are not tax deductible as travel expenditures; however, under some circumstances, you may be able to deduct meals as entertainment expenses.

Second, if you are traveling for work, you can deduct the cost of your meals and other incidentals while you are away from home, but if your employer is paying for your travel, you will have to be more selective about what you can write off.

Value of Local Transportation

To get to town for work, you can take the train or the bus or use your own car and pay for gas and maintenance. If your primary place of business is also your home, all transportation costs incurred getting to and from the house for work purposes are legitimate business expenses, not personal commuting costs.

Fees Connected with Absentee Travel

In 2021 and 2022, due to the economic devastation caused by the coronavirus epidemic, you can deduct the full cost of all business meals and beverages. The standard deduction for meals is 50 percent. Overnight stays in hotels while on business trips are completely tax deductible (no pandemic-related change). As long as your trip is for work, you can deduct your travel costs.

You can deduct travel costs as long as they are "ordinary and necessary," though "necessary" is broadly defined as "helpful and appropriate," not "indispensable." Any portion of a trip that could be considered "lavish" or "extravagant" is not deductible either, though you can still write off things like first-class airfare, five-star hotels, and gourmet dinners (subject to the percentage caps below).