Despite the rise of Zoom, Webex, and other video calling software, travel is still an important part of many people’s work life. If you are one of the thousands who travel for work, there may be tax deductions available to help you offset the cost of this travel.
What to know about tax deductions for business travel
Business travel deductions may be available when you travel away from your home or main place of work for business reasons. You are “traveling away from home” when you are away for longer than an ordinary day’s work and you need to sleep in a location other than your home to meet the demands of your work while you’re away.
In order to be deductible, a travel expense must be “ordinary and necessary.” It 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 is less than one year.
Travel expenses for conventions are deductible if your attendance benefits the business. There are special rules for conventions held outside of North America.
Deductible travel expenses include:
- Travel by plane, train, bus or car between home and a 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
Keep records of your expenses
If you plan to deduct expenses related to business travel, it’s important that you keep records of those expenses. Records such as receipts, canceled checks, credit card bills, and other documents can help you reconstruct your expenses, and support your deductions when it comes time to file your taxes.