At some point business trip seemed an activity only available to executives of large companies. When you go to an art show at which your work is being exhibited or engage in field research for a painting, it’s a business trip and, therefore, tax-deductible. The important thing isn’t how much you sold at the show or how successful the trip was, but only that it was for business reasons.
If the trip is primarily for business, all reasonable and necessary business-related expenses, including transportation, lodging, and 50 percent of the cost of meals, are deductible. If the trip is primarily for pleasure or personal reasons, then only the business-related expenses may be deducted. Extending a business trip for pleasure or making a non-business side trip does not qualify for business deductions.
There are many combinations, of course. If you fly to Hawaii for an art exhibition and then spend another week to work on your tan, your travel ex-penses are covered, as well as the allowable expenses during the business portion of the trip. Only the expenses of the vacation week are not deductible.
Expenses for your spouse and family have to be treated very carefully. If your spouse is an active participant in your business, helps you set up and take down your exhibit, etc., the spouse’s al-lowable expenses are deductible. Even if your kids run a lew er-rands for you, however, you’ll have a hard time proving to the tax auditor that they are essential to your business. Automobile ex-penses are usually deductible. They don’t change whether you’re driving alone or transporting the whole family.
You can take several precautions to be able to establish that your trip was for business purposes. First, set up an itinerary which spreads your business contacts along the whole route of the trip. This is not necessary when you travel to an art show, because your exhibit at the show is, in itself, sufficient reason to go that distance. Next, write to all the business contacts you plan to see.
Tell them when you want to see them and what you want to discuss. Keep copies of the letters in your tax file. They may prove your intentions. Make a note of all the business contacts you made during the trip, who you saw, when and where, what the results were. Finally, keep an accurate record of all expenses.
7 Reasons To Travel For Business Trip
Even if your business is small and local, it may be useful to undertake business trips at least once a year. A reminder of some of the reasons why you can get moving and plan your next business trip:
- Weave strategic alliances . Working in a network, through cooperation with other SMEs, can allow you to strengthen your business. You can find new partners, suppliers, clients or companies similar to yours in other locations and explore ways to work together for the development of the group.
- Expand the business Visiting other cities makes it easy for you to find new markets to sell or settle in. Start thinking big and grow your business .
- Compare and learn from other companies. It is true that maybe you can not become Disney or the largest chain in the world in your field, but comparing yourself with companies that do things well can give you perspective to find opportunities for improvement. The bench-marking technique is ideal to apply after visiting other businesses. I asked for interviews or guided tours when I could, or I went through business as a client.
- Participate in fairs and congresses. Keeping up-to-date in the sector, discovering trends, establishing links with potential customers and suppliers, training or making themselves known are some of the main objectives that can be achieved in the many fairs and conferences that are developed in the country or abroad. Even if you do not participate with a stand , there are many ways to take advantage of a fair .
- There is no such thing as being face to face! Although in times of super communications it is possible to listen, see and interact at a distance, there is no such thing as a personal encounter to close a business, an alliance or a commercial agreement. Organize your trips to visit clients and suppliers or participate in work breakfasts, meetings, business dinners, and other events in which physical presence adds points.
- Search for new ideas and inspiration. Travel is always a source of news. Even if they do not have a specific purpose, they facilitate creativity, observation, trend detection and reflection. Immerse yourself in a different culture, meet new people and explore unknown markets (you do not need to travel to the other side of the world, another neighborhood or city can also be inspiring).
- Combine business and pleasure. Perhaps with the day to day of an SME on the shoulders it is difficult to separate the time to take vacations . Business trips are an opportunity to get out of the routine.
- Add to your trip a shopping trip, a guided walk, a visit to a museum, a spa day or some other local experience. If you get the time and money, you can invite a family member or friend and take the trip!