Deducting Travel As a Business Expense

As a general rule, travel expenses are deductible as a business expense as long as the expense is considered by the IRS to be an ordinary and necessary business expense under (IRC section 162). But when you incur a travel expense outside the United States, that is when the rules begin to change. Do not assume that 100% of your foreign travel expenses are tax deductible. And better yet, consult with your CPA during the planning phase of your foreign travel in order to maximize your opportunity for a tax deduction.General Rules Regarding Travel Expenses:Travel expenses traditionally includes the following categories of expenses associated with at least one overnight stay (i.e. where sleep is required while away from home):1. Transportation Costs – Transportation includes airplane, train, bus, car, or ship between your home and business destination. It also includes commuter bus, taxi and limousine transportation.2. Baggage and Shipping Costs- This category includes the cost of sending baggage, samples, display materials between regular and temporary work locations.3. Lodging Costs – Such costs include overnight hotel stays and temporary housing costs.4. Meals – Allowable meals expenses include food, beverage, tips and tax. If the meals qualify for a tax deduction they may be 50% or 100% deductible. Meals between employees/employers are generally not deductible unless a business purpose can be substantiated. In cases in which there is a business purpose, the meal is eligible for a 50% tax deduction. Meals also include customer-related meals in which business is discussed (50% deduction).Also allowed are meals related to business-related travel that includes an overnight stay (50% deductible. If the overnight travel is related to an employer-sponsored social or recreational event the meals are 100% deductible. If the meal is related to promotional activities that are made available by the business to the public such costs are 100% deductible.5. Cleaning – This category includes dry cleaning and laundry expenses incurred during your travel period.6. Telephone – Business calls, fax costs or other communication costs associated with the business travel are deductible.7. Tips paid for any travel expense category are allowed as a tax deduction8. Other – Other costs related to the business travel might include internet fees, computer rental fees, equipment rental fees, supplies etc.Travel expenses must be temporary in nature. What this means is that the travel period cannot last more than one year. If the travel lasts more than one year all of the travel expenses become non-deductible.Special Rules:1. Conventions – In order for travel costs associated with a convention to be tax deductible, such costs must be directly related to your company’s business and must benefit your company’s business. Conventions outside North America are allowed, however, there is reasonableness test that must be met. Reasonableness is based on the purpose of the meeting, activities taking place at the meeting, activities of any sponsors, homes of sponsors and other material facts and circumstances that the IRS will consider in determining eligibility for the tax deduction.2. Cruise Ship Conventions – If the convention meets the ordinary and necessary business purpose test and the reasonableness test then the IRS will permit a tax deduction equal to $2,000 per person, per year for travel expenses incurred in connection with the cruise ship convention as long as the ship is a U.S. flagship and all ports of call are located within the United States or its possessions. In order to deduct cruise ship convention travel expenses the business must attach two written statements to their tax return. Statement #1 must be signed by the business owner. This statement specifies the number of hours each day that were devoted to business activities, total days of the trip and the program of business activities on the ship. Statement #2 must be signed by an officer of the cruise ship convention organization and provide detailed schedules of the meetings and the number of hours the taxpayer attended.3. Travel Outside the United States – Only costs associated with the days in which business was conducted are allowed as a travel tax deduction. Business days include days spent traveling to and from the business destination. Days spent on non-business activities are not counted as business days. Weekends and holidays are considered business days if they fall between the business days. Where part of the foreign travel includes non-business days, travel costs must be prorated by dividing the number of business days by the number of total days. This
percentage is then applied to the total travel costs in arriving at the tax deductible travel expense deduction.4. Non-Convention Cruise Ship Travel – The travel deduction allowed for this type of travel is determined by the IRS every year, so it changes every year. IRS publication 463 lists the daily deductible amounts allowed(called per diem rates). You multiply the per diem rate by the number of travel days in arriving at your tax deductible travel expense amount. If meals are a separate charge you are allowed to deduct 50% of the meal costs in addition to the per diem amount.For more information please consult with a tax advisor or attorney.

Allowing the Travel Dream

The travel business is incredible. It is filled with multiple opportunities to investigate on line. Look at the multitude of sites dedicated to travel on the web, in magazines, on television and or radio. Advertisers bombard us with their “Best Price!, Exotic locations and the hottest deals”. When you travel, what are your main concerns? Is it the costs, or types of accommodations, or what can we do with the kids? Maybe your trip is for business travel, which has completely different concerns than vacations. Just to be in a financial position to actually get away for short or long periods of time these days may be a perk.The economy dictates so much of the details a person has to consider if planning to travel. Businesses are re-thinking the associated costs of sending associates or sales teams out of the office vs. using new technology to conduct office web-conferences. But I am wanting to discuss mental vacations for this article. My question then is does the internet provide all of the necessary options?By searching the web, the destinations are bountiful. Where in the United States can we go? Just a click and maybe it is skiing in Colorado or Utah; or golfing in Arizona or Florida; or the many parks and natural treasures throughout all the states can be invigorating. Maybe it is to site-see in South America or Australia; run on the Great Wall; tour the vineries of Portugal. Now that would be a fabulous trip to take. With technology today, one can ‘see’ these areas on the internet. The current economy makes this more of an option at this time.The volatility of oil prices this year, which is less today due the supply being greater than demand, there are cost effective options to look at to possibly take some sort of trip. If you reside in the western portion of the United States, traveling to the Rocky Mountains for skiing is viable. The amount of snow at many resorts has been ahead of years past that powdered eyebrows and ice cycles dangling from one’s nose, are truly in reach. Availability at most lodges can still be found even though it may take some researching. But that is what makes the internet so impressive.Or maybe your idea of getting away would be a warmer climate. I know that the older I get, the more warmth I can be surrounded by, the less ‘snap-like’ the bones become. Weather in the Phoenix/Scottsdale (not to mention the current excitement for their beloved football team) is perfect for swinging those metal implements of frustration. Or Florida would be more practical due to your proximity. Can you imagine lounging on the beaches along the coast of Florida? With winter weather, imagining can be such a powerful mental exercise. Feeling the comfortable breezes crossing the tops of the ears, the grainy sands captivating your toes, and umbrella drinks that color the tongue. Can you just feel it?Decisions, decisions.So let’s look at this for a moment. Every travel site I clicked upon had many interesting destinations. One of the places I would love to get to is Portugal. Watching the European Golf Tour, which has a few events there, has tingled the desire to visit. This area of the world just intrigues me. I went to Portugal online. What a trip! The scenes of traditional villages, narrow streets winding through vibrant cities, the expanse of vineyards scattered in the country. The views along the Atlantic with dramatic windswept cliffs and sun-drenched backdrops, it is one dream that I am aspiring for.See how simple the mental imagery and the power of the internet can supplement actually making the trip? No, it’s not like the real thing however, it does provide me the visionary motivation needed to plan a visit within two years.Could a vision of a sunrise conjure up serenity by watching the unwrapping of those brilliant red rock vortexes that reach up from around Sedona, Arizona? The reflection of the reddish cliffs from the waters of Oak Creek at Red Rock Crossing can mysteriously energize the soul. This area truly has mystical sources of energy that previously could only be found on the prairies after enjoying peyote around the campfire.Just a few mental exercises like these can plant a seed to plan a vacation so simple or outlandishly exotic. Would you be able to put one on your 2009 agenda? Why not! We are not getting any younger. Many places we want to see and experience, even before you begin to fill out a ‘Bucket List , can be within reach provided a plan is formulated. Now would be a great time to begin the mental process by getting on-line to start researching ideas. This is the early stages of the planning process and provides the best time to fantasize about the exotics locations before wandering back to the practical.Look for a trip you never thought of. The web can provide this type of entertainment as we deluge our fantasy of being at that far away place. Maybe our own little “Lost” adventure, only with umbrella drinks, doting pool boys or scantily clad bunnies, clean beaches, gentle ocean breezes with waves seducing us to sleep. Oh the dreamy thoughts one can conjure now. Allow your mind to wander. Go to places, mentally, that you have always dreamed about. By taking this first step, the mental vacation, the coming days, afternoons, or evenings of coming weeks may create a happier time. Because this is all about relaxing.Now let us look at the coming year. Could there be a short trip in say, the near future, for anyone of us? Or maybe a shorter four day outing in the early summer. The ideas are abundant. To treat ourselves from time to time is necessary when most of what we hear or read is negative. Now with the ‘hope’ that has been touted for nearly two years and put in place this past January 20th, why not “HOPE” a vacation is in your future. Some would say that if we all spend a little more money, pumping it in to the economy, we might get things going again. “Hope springs eternal”.Most people believe they are not able to believe a vacation is possible. They are choosing to hold out for some period of time till things improve. Lets say that time may be on your side to plan a vacation. Time may be on your side to save and/or make the money needed to do so. If a second income could encourage a trip, a goal within reach, investigate any opportunity and achieve that goal. If your dream trip would be an ultimate goal, it could behoove you to research a multitude of opportunity, and you just may reach that dream much sooner.

How to Start a Web Directory

This question of How to make a Directory has been posted again and again on various directory forums. So I planned to write a small blog post to getting started on your own directory. Now let us get familiar with the term “directory”. The prime motive of any directory to organize various resources, so that they can be easily found instead of searching on various search engines.So below are the steps listed to eventually becoming a directory webmaster.1. Hosting : With so many hosting companies you can easily sign up for a shared hosting account to set up your directory. Once your directory starts getting some huge traffic and becomes popular then you can move your directory on a dedicated server.2. Selection of Directory Script : This is really most crucial step and with many directory scripts around like PhpLD, Esyndicat, SiteSift and PhpLynx or for PhpLinkBid for bidding directories you will not be having a tough time deciding the script as per your needs. Again all these scripts also come in with a free version and also paid version. It is quite obvious that there is a better support and more features with the paid version of the script. So It will be really your decision, how you would like to scale your directory. There is always a upgrade from the free version of the script to the paid version.Tip : I will highly recommend you to start on with PhpLD, not because I am affiliated with them in any way. But It is the most popular directory script and has largest number of mods, templates and a very big support forum.3. Niche Selection for your directory : Now after that you have decided on the directory script. It is important to decide up on the fact that whether you want to start a general directory, bidding directory or a niche directory. So accordingly you can modify the category structure as per your needs.4. Installation of the Directory Script : Most of the directory scripts are easy to install, But if you are not good with the installation or find installation difficult. You can get the script installed by paying some one on the Services forums or various directory forums. Please do not use a category dumps available with the scripts to create categories, instead use unique category structures and that will help you rank better on search engines.5. Templates and Mods for your directory : Directory scripts generally come up with some default templates and you can use them or you can use many of the free templates available online and the same goes with mods for the directories.
Directory mods really enhance the directory functionality.6. Promotion of your Directory : Congrats and welcome to the world of directories. There is actually no rule as to how you can promote your directory. You will have get quality backlinks for your directories, do lot of link building, social
book marking and hang around with other directory web masters for more tips on directory submission.