Standard mileage rate.(p174)
For 2008, the standard mileage rate for the cost of operating your car for business use is:
- 501/2 cents per mile for the period January 1 through June 30, 2008, and
- 581/2 cents per mile for the period July 1 through December 31, 2008.
Depreciation limits on cars, trucks, and vans.(p174)
For 2008, the first-year limit on the total section 179 deduction, special depreciation allowance, and depreciation deduction for cars has increased to $10,960 ($2,960 if you elect not to claim the special depreciation allowance). For trucks and vans the first-year limit has increased to $11,160 ($3,160 if you elect not to claim the special depreciation allowance). For more information see Depreciation limits in Publication 463.taxmap/pub17/p17-144.htm#en_us_publink10007165
Special depreciation allowance.(p174)
Generally, new cars, trucks, and vans, purchased and placed in service in 2008 qualify for the special depreciation allowance. The special allowance is a depreciation deduction equal to 50% of the adjusted basis of the vehicle. For more information see Special Depreciation Allowance in Publication 463.taxmap/pub17/p17-144.htm#en_us_publink10007166
Meal expenses when subject to "hours of service" limits.(p174)
Generally, you can deduct 50% of your business-related meal expenses while traveling away from home for business purposes. You can deduct a higher percentage if the meals take place during or incident to the Department of Transportation's (DOT) "hours of service" limits. (These limits apply to certain workers who are subject to certain federal regulations.) For 2008, the percentage is increased to 80%. See Exceptions to the 50% limit, under 50% Limit, later.taxmap/pub17/p17-144.htm#TXMP32f88617
You may be able to deduct the ordinary and necessary business-related expenses you have for:
- Gifts, or
An ordinary expense is one that is common and accepted in your trade or business. A necessary expense is one that is helpful and appropriate for your business. An expense does not have to be required to be considered necessary.
This chapter explains the following.
- What expenses are deductible.
- How to report your expenses on your return.
- What records you need to prove your expenses.
- How to treat any expense reimbursements you may receive.
If you are an employee, you will not need to read this chapter if all of the following are true.
- You fully accounted to your employer for your work-related expenses.
- You received full reimbursement for your expenses.
- Your employer required you to return any excess reimbursement and you did so.
- There is no amount shown with a code "L" in box 12 of your Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement.
If you meet all of these conditions, there is no need to show the expenses or the reimbursements on your return. See Reimbursements,
later, if you would like more information on reimbursements and accounting to your employer.
If you meet these conditions and your employer included reimbursements on your Form W-2 in error, ask your employer for a corrected Form W-2.
You may want to see:
Publication 463 Travel, Entertainment, Gift, and Car Expenses 535 Business Expenses 1542 Per Diem Rates Form (and Instructions) Schedule A (Form 1040): Itemized Deductions Schedule C (Form 1040): Profit or Loss From Business Schedule C-EZ (Form 1040): Net Profit From Business Schedule F (Form 1040): Profit or Loss From Farming Form 2106: Employee Business Expenses Form 2106-EZ: Unreimbursed Employee Business Expensestaxmap/pub17/p17-144.htm#en_us_publink100034318 taxmap/pub17/p17-144.htm#en_us_publink100034319
If you temporarily travel away from your tax home, you can use this section to determine if you have deductible travel expenses. This section discusses:
- Traveling away from home,
- Tax home,
- Temporary assignment or job, and
- What travel expenses are deductible.
It also discusses the standard meal allowance, rules for travel inside and outside the United States, and deductible convention expenses.
For tax purposes, travel expenses are the ordinary and necessary expenses (defined earlier) of traveling away from home for your business, profession, or job.
You will find examples of deductible travel expenses in Table 26-1.taxmap/pub17/p17-144.htm#en_us_publink100034320
You are traveling away from home if:
- Your duties require you to be away from the general area of your tax home (defined later) substantially longer than an ordinary day's work, and
- You need to sleep or rest to meet the demands of your work while away from home.
This rest requirement is not satisfied by merely napping in your car. You do not have to be away from your tax home for a whole day or from dusk to dawn as long as your relief from duty is long enough to get necessary sleep or rest.
You are a railroad conductor. You leave your home terminal on a regularly scheduled round-trip run between two cities and return home 16 hours later. During the run, you have 6 hours off at your turnaround point where you eat two meals and rent a hotel room to get necessary sleep before starting the return trip. You are considered to be away from home. taxmap/pub17/p17-144.htm#en_us_publink100034322
You are a truck driver. You leave your terminal and return to it later the same day. You get an hour off at your turnaround point to eat. Because you are not off to get necessary sleep and the brief time off is not an adequate rest period, you are not traveling away from home.taxmap/pub17/p17-144.htm#en_us_publink100034323
If you are a member of the U.S. Armed Forces on a permanent duty assignment overseas, you are not traveling away from home. You cannot deduct your expenses for meals and lodging. You cannot deduct these expenses even if you have to maintain a home in the United States for your family members who are not allowed to accompany you overseas. If you are transferred from one permanent duty station to another, you may have deductible moving expenses, which are explained in Publication 521, Moving Expenses.
A naval officer assigned to permanent duty aboard a ship that has regular eating and living facilities has a tax home aboard ship for travel expense purposes. taxmap/pub17/p17-144.htm#en_us_publink100034324
To determine whether you are traveling away from home, you must first determine the location of your tax home.
Generally, your tax home is your regular place of business or post of duty, regardless of where you maintain your family home. It includes the entire city or general area in which your business or work is located.
If you do not have a regular or a main place of business because of the nature of your work, then your tax home may be the place where you regularly live. See No main place of business or work,
If you do not have a regular or a main place of business or post of duty and there is no place where you regularly live, you are considered an itinerant (a transient) and your tax home is wherever you work. As an itinerant, you cannot claim a travel expense deduction because you are never considered to be traveling away from home. taxmap/pub17/p17-144.htm#en_us_publink100034325
If you have more than one place of business or work, consider the following when determining which one is your main place of business or work.
- The total time you ordinarily spend in each place.
- The level of your business activity in each place.
- Whether your income from each place is significant or insignificant.
You live in Cincinnati where you have a seasonal job for 8 months each year and earn $40,000. You work the other 4 months in Miami, also at a seasonal job, and earn $15,000. Cincinnati is your main place of work because you spend most of your time there and earn most of your income there.taxmap/pub17/p17-144.htm#en_us_publink100034327
You may have a tax home even if you do not have a regular or main place of business or work. Your tax home may be the home where you regularly live.taxmap/pub17/p17-144.htm#en_us_publink100034328
If you do not have a regular or main place of business or work, use the following three factors to determine where your tax home is.
- You perform part of your business in the area of your main home and use that home for lodging while doing business in the area.
- You have living expenses at your main home that you duplicate because your business requires you to be away from that home.
- You have not abandoned the area in which both your historical place of lodging and your claimed main home are located; you have a member or members of your family living at your main home; or you often use that home for lodging.
If you satisfy all three factors, your tax home is the home where you regularly live. If you satisfy only two factors, you may have a tax home depending on all the facts and circumstances. If you satisfy only one factor, you are an itinerant; your tax home is wherever you work and you cannot deduct travel expenses.taxmap/pub17/p17-144.htm#en_us_publink100034329
You are single and live in Boston in an apartment you rent. You have worked for your employer in Boston for a number of years. Your employer enrolls you in a 12-month executive training program. You do not expect to return to work in Boston after you complete your training.
During your training, you do not do any work in Boston. Instead, you receive classroom and on-the-job training throughout the United States. You keep your apartment in Boston and return to it frequently. You use your apartment to conduct your personal business. You also keep up your community contacts in Boston. When you complete your training, you are transferred to Los Angeles.
You do not satisfy factor (1) because you did not work in Boston. You satisfy factor (2) because you had duplicate living expenses. You also satisfy factor (3) because you did not abandon your apartment in Boston as your main home, you kept your community contacts, and you frequently returned to live in your apartment. You have a tax home in Boston. taxmap/pub17/p17-144.htm#en_us_publink100034330
If you (and your family) do not live at your tax home (defined earlier), you cannot deduct the cost of traveling between your tax home and your family home. You also cannot deduct the cost of meals and lodging while at your tax home. See Example 1
If you are working temporarily in the same city where you and your family live, you may be considered as traveling away from home. See Example 2
You are a truck driver and you and your family live in Tucson. You are employed by a trucking firm that has its terminal in Phoenix. At the end of your long runs, you return to your home terminal in Phoenix and spend one night there before returning home. You cannot deduct any expenses you have for meals and lodging in Phoenix or the cost of traveling from Phoenix to Tucson. This is because Phoenix is your tax home. taxmap/pub17/p17-144.htm#en_us_publink100034332
Your family home is in Pittsburgh, where you work 12 weeks a year. The rest of the year you work for the same employer in Baltimore. In Baltimore, you eat in restaurants and sleep in a rooming house. Your salary is the same whether you are in Pittsburgh or Baltimore.
Because you spend most of your working time and earn most of your salary in Baltimore, that city is your tax home. You cannot deduct any expenses you have for meals and lodging there. However, when you return to work in Pittsburgh, you are away from your tax home even though you stay at your family home. You can deduct the cost of your round trip between Baltimore and Pittsburgh. You can also deduct your part of your family's living expenses for meals and lodging while you are living and working in Pittsburgh. taxmap/pub17/p17-144.htm#en_us_publink100034333
You may regularly work at your tax home and also work at another location. It may not be practical to return to your tax home from this other location at the end of each work day.taxmap/pub17/p17-144.htm#en_us_publink100034334
If your assignment or job away from your main place of work is temporary, your tax home does not change. You are considered to be away from home for the whole period you are away from your main place of work. You can deduct your travel expenses if they otherwise qualify for deduction. Generally, a temporary assignment in a single location is one that is realistically expected to last (and does in fact last) for 1 year or less.
However, if your assignment or job is indefinite, the location of the assignment or job becomes your new tax home and you cannot deduct your travel expenses while there. An assignment or job in a single location is considered indefinite if it is realistically expected to last for more than 1 year, whether or not it actually lasts for more than 1 year.
If your assignment is indefinite, you must include in your income any amounts you receive from your employer for living expenses, even if they are called travel allowances and you account to your employer for them. You may be able to deduct the cost of relocating to your new tax home as a moving expense. See Publication 521 for more information. taxmap/pub17/p17-144.htm#en_us_publink100034335
If you are a federal employee participating in a federal crime investigation or prosecution, you are not subject to the 1-year rule. This means you may be able to deduct travel expenses even if you are away from your tax home for more than 1 year, provided you meet the other requirements for deductibility.
For you to qualify, the Attorney General (or his or her designee) must certify that you are traveling:
- For the federal government,
- In a temporary duty status, and
- To investigate or prosecute, or provide support services for the investigation or prosecution of a federal crime.
You must determine whether your assignment is temporary or indefinite when you start work. If you expect an assignment or job to last for 1 year or less, it is temporary unless there are facts and circumstances that indicate otherwise. An assignment or job that is initially temporary may become indefinite due to changed circumstances. A series of assignments to the same location, all for short periods but that together cover a long period, may be considered an indefinite assignment. taxmap/pub17/p17-144.htm#en_us_publink100034337
If you go back to your tax home from a temporary assignment on your days off, you are not considered away from home while you are in your hometown. You cannot deduct the cost of your meals and lodging there. However, you can deduct your travel expenses, including meals and lodging, while traveling between your temporary place of work and your tax home. You can claim these expenses up to the amount it would have cost you to stay at your temporary place of work.
If you keep your hotel room during your visit home, you can deduct the cost of your hotel room. In addition, you can deduct your expenses of returning home up to the amount you would have spent for meals had you stayed at your temporary place of work. taxmap/pub17/p17-144.htm#en_us_publink100034338
If you take a job that requires you to move, with the understanding that you will keep the job if your work is satisfactory during a probationary period, the job is indefinite. You cannot deduct any of your expenses for meals and lodging during the probationary period. taxmap/pub17/p17-144.htm#en_us_publink100034339
Once you have determined that you are traveling away from your tax home, you can determine what travel expenses are deductible.
You can deduct ordinary and necessary expenses you have when you travel away from home on business. The type of expense you can deduct depends on the facts and your circumstances.
Table 26-1 summarizes travel expenses you may be able to deduct. You may have other deductible travel expenses that are not covered there, depending on the facts and your circumstances.
When you travel away from home on business, you should keep records of all the expenses you have and any advances you receive from your employer. You can use a log, diary, notebook, or any other written record to keep track of your expenses. The types of expenses you need to record, along with supporting documentation, are described in Table 26-2, later.
If you have one expense that includes the costs of meals, entertainment, and other services (such as lodging or transportation), you must allocate that expense between the cost of meals and entertainment and the cost of other services. You must have a reasonable basis for making this allocation. For example, you must allocate your expenses if a hotel includes one or more meals in its room charge.taxmap/pub17/p17-144.htm#en_us_publink100034342
If a spouse, dependent, or other individual goes with you (or your employee) on a business trip or to a business convention, you generally cannot deduct his or her travel expenses. taxmap/pub17/p17-144.htm#en_us_publink100034343
You can deduct the travel expenses of someone who goes with you if that person:
- Is your employee,
- Has a bona fide business purpose for the travel, and
- Would otherwise be allowed to deduct the travel expenses.
If a business associate travels with you and meets the conditions in (2) and (3) above, you can deduct the travel expenses you have for that person. A business associate is someone with whom you could reasonably expect to actively conduct business. A business associate can be a current or prospective (likely to become) customer, client, supplier, employee, agent, partner, or professional advisor. taxmap/pub17/p17-144.htm#en_us_publink100034345
A bona fide business purpose exists if you can prove a real business purpose for the individual's presence. Incidental services, such as typing notes or assisting in entertaining customers, are not enough to make the expenses deductible. taxmap/pub17/p17-144.htm#en_us_publink100034346
Jerry drives to Chicago on business and takes his wife, Linda, with him. Linda is not Jerry's employee. Linda occasionally types notes, performs similar services, and accompanies Jerry to luncheons and dinners. The performance of these services does not establish that her presence on the trip is necessary to the conduct of Jerry's business. Her expenses are not deductible.
Jerry pays $199 a day for a double room. A single room costs $149 a day. He can deduct the total cost of driving his car to and from Chicago, but only $149 a day for his hotel room. If he uses public transportation, he can deduct only his fare.
Table 26-1. Travel Expenses You Can Deduct
This chart summarizes expenses you can deduct when you
travel away from home for business purposes.
|IF you have expenses for...||THEN you can deduct the cost of...|
|transportation||travel by airplane, train, bus, or car between your home and your business destination. If you were provided with a ticket or you are riding free as a result of a frequent traveler or similar program, your cost is zero. If you travel by ship, see Luxury Water Travel and Cruise ships (under Conventions) in Publication 463 for additional rules and limits. |
|taxi, commuter bus, and airport limousine||fares for these and other types of transportation that take you between: |
- The airport or station and your hotel, and
- The hotel and the work location of your customers or clients, your business meeting place, or your temporary work location.
|baggage and shipping||sending baggage and sample or display material between your regular and temporary work locations.|
|car||operating and maintaining your car when traveling away from home on business. You can deduct actual expenses or the standard mileage rate as well as business-related tolls and parking. If you rent a car while away from home on business, you can deduct only the business-use portion of the expenses. |
|lodging and meals||your lodging and meals if your business trip is overnight or long enough that you need to stop for sleep or rest to properly perform your duties. Meals include amounts spent for food, beverages, taxes, and related tips. See Meals and Incidental Expenses for additional rules and limits. |
|cleaning||dry cleaning and laundry.|
|telephone||business calls while on your business trip. This includes business communication by fax machine or other communication devices.|
|tips||tips you pay for any expenses in this chart.|
|other||other similar ordinary and necessary expenses related to your business travel. These expenses might include transportation to or from a business meal, public stenographer's fees, computer rental fees, and operating and maintaining a house trailer. |
You can deduct the cost of meals in either of the following situations.
- It is necessary for you to stop for substantial sleep or rest to properly perform your duties while traveling away from home on business.
- The meal is business-related entertainment.
Business-related entertainment is discussed under Entertainment Expenses,
later. The following discussion deals only with meals (and incidental expenses) that are not business-related entertainment.
You cannot deduct expenses for meals that are lavish or extravagant. An expense is not considered lavish or extravagant if it is reasonable based on the facts and circumstances. Expenses will not be disallowed merely because they are more than a fixed dollar amount or take place at deluxe restaurants, hotels, nightclubs, or resorts. taxmap/pub17/p17-144.htm#en_us_publink100034349
You can figure your meal expenses using either of the following methods.
- Actual cost.
- The standard meal allowance.
Both of these methods are explained below. But, regardless of the method you use, you generally can deduct only 50% of the unreimbursed cost of your meals.
If you are reimbursed for the cost of your meals, how you apply the 50% limit depends on whether your employer's reimbursement plan was accountable or nonaccountable. If you are not reimbursed, the 50% limit applies whether the unreimbursed meal expense is for business travel or business entertainment. The 50% limit is explained later under Entertainment Expenses.
Accountable and nonaccountable plans are discussed later under Reimbursements.
You can use the actual cost of your meals to figure the amount of your expense before reimbursement and application of the 50% deduction limit. If you use this method, you must keep records of your actual cost.taxmap/pub17/p17-144.htm#en_us_publink100034351
Generally, you can use the "standard meal allowance" method as an alternative to the actual cost method. It allows you to use a set amount for your daily meals and incidental expenses (M&IE), instead of keeping records of your actual costs. The set amount varies depending on where and when you travel. In this chapter, "standard meal allowance" refers to the federal rate for M&IE, discussed later under Amount of standard meal allowance
. If you use the standard meal allowance, you still must keep records to prove the time, place, and business purpose of your travel. See Recordkeeping
The term "incidental expenses" means:
- Fees and tips given to porters, baggage carriers, bellhops, hotel maids, stewards or stewardesses and others on ships, and hotel servants in foreign countries,
- Transportation between places of lodging or business and places where meals are taken, if suitable meals can be obtained at the temporary duty site, and
- Mailing costs associated with filing travel vouchers and payment of employer-sponsored charge card billings.
Incidental expenses do not include expenses for laundry, cleaning and pressing of clothing, lodging taxes, or the costs of telegrams or telephone calls.
You can use an optional method (instead of actual cost) for deducting incidental expenses only. The amount of the deduction is $3 a day for incidental expenses paid or incurred for travel away from home in 2008. You can use this method only if you did not pay or incur any meal expenses. You cannot use this method on any day that you use the standard meal allowance.
Federal employees should refer to the Federal Travel Regulations at www.gsa.gov
. Click on "Federal Travel Regulation (FTR)" for changes affecting claims for reimbursement of these expenses.
If you use the standard meal allowance method for meal expenses and you are not reimbursed or you are reimbursed under a nonaccountable plan, you can generally deduct only 50% of the standard meal allowance. If you are reimbursed under an accountable plan and you are deducting amounts that are more than your reimbursements, you can deduct only 50% of the excess amount. The 50% limit is explained later under Entertainment Expenses.
Accountable and nonaccountable plans are discussed later under Reimbursements.
There is no optional standard lodging amount similar to the standard meal allowance. Your allowable lodging expense deduction is your actual cost.
You can use the standard meal allowance whether you are an employee or self-employed, and whether or not you are reimbursed for your traveling expenses. taxmap/pub17/p17-144.htm#en_us_publink100034358
You can use the standard meal allowance to figure your meal expenses when you travel in connection with investment and other income-producing property. You can also use it to figure your meal expenses when you travel for qualifying educational purposes. You cannot use the standard meal allowance to figure the cost of your meals when you travel for medical or charitable purposes. taxmap/pub17/p17-144.htm#en_us_publink100034359
The standard meal allowance is the federal M&IE rate. For travel in 2008, the rate for most small localities in the United States is $39 a day from January 1 through December 31, 2008.
Most major cities and many other localities in the United States are designated as high-cost areas, qualifying for higher standard meal allowances. Locations qualifying for these rates are listed in Publication 1542 which is available on the Internet at www.irs.gov
You can also find this information (organized by state) on the Internet at www.gsa.gov
. Click on "Per Diem Rates," then select "2008" for the period January 1, 2008 – September 30, 2008, and select "2009" for the period October 1, 2008 – December 31, 2008. However, you can apply the rates in effect before October 1, 2008, for expenses of all travel within the United States for 2008 instead of the updated rates. You must consistently use either the rates for the first 9 months for all of 2008 or the updated rates for the period of October 1, 2008, through December 31, 2008.
If you travel to more than one location in one day, use the rate in effect for the area where you stop for sleep or rest. If you work in the transportation industry, however, see Special rate for transportation workers,
The standard meal allowance rates above do not apply to travel in Alaska, Hawaii, or any other location outside the continental United States. The Department of Defense establishes per diem rates for Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam, Midway, the Northern Mariana Islands, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Wake Island, and other non-foreign areas outside the continental United States. The Department of State establishes per diem rates for all other foreign areas.taxmap/pub17/p17-144.htm#en_us_publink100034363
You can use a special standard meal allowance if you work in the transportation industry. You are in the transportation industry if your work:
- Directly involves moving people or goods by airplane, barge, bus, ship, train, or truck, and
- Regularly requires you to travel away from home and, during any single trip, usually involves travel to areas eligible for different standard meal allowance rates.
If this applies to you, you can claim a standard meal allowance of $52 a day ($58 for travel outside the continental United States) from January 1 through December 31, 2008.
Using the special rate for transportation workers eliminates the need for you to determine the standard meal allowance for every area where you stop for sleep or rest. If you choose to use the special rate for any trip, you must use the special rate (and not use the regular standard meal allowance rates) for all trips you take that year. taxmap/pub17/p17-144.htm#en_us_publink100034364
For both the day you depart for and the day you return from a business trip, you must prorate the standard meal allowance (figure a reduced amount for each day). You can do so by one of two methods.
- Method 1: You can claim 3/4 of the standard meal allowance.
- Method 2: You can prorate using any method that you consistently apply and that is in accordance with reasonable business practice.
Jen is employed in New Orleans as a convention planner. In March, her employer sent her on a 3-day trip to Washington, DC, to attend a planning seminar. She left her home in New Orleans at 10 a.m. on Wednesday and arrived in Washington, DC, at 5:30 p.m. After spending two nights there, she flew back to New Orleans on Friday and arrived back home at 8:00 p.m. Jen's employer gave her a flat amount to cover her expenses and included it with her wages.
Under Method 1, Jen can claim 21/2 days of the standard meal allowance for Washington, DC: 3/4 of the daily rate for Wednesday and Friday (the days she departed and returned), and the full daily rate for Thursday.
Under Method 2, Jen could also use any method that she applies consistently and that is in accordance with reasonable business practice. For example, she could claim 3 days of the standard meal allowance even though a federal employee would have to use method 1 and be limited to only 21/2 days.taxmap/pub17/p17-144.htm#en_us_publink100034366
The following discussion applies to travel in the United States. For this purpose, the United States includes the 50 states and the District of Columbia. The treatment of your travel expenses depends on how much of your trip was business related and on how much of your trip occurred within the United States. See Part of Trip Outside the United States,
You can deduct all your travel expenses if your trip was entirely business related. If your trip was primarily for business and, while at your business destination, you extended your stay for a vacation, made a personal side trip, or had other personal activities, you can deduct your business-related travel expenses. These expenses include the travel costs of getting to and from your business destination and any business-related expenses at your business destination. taxmap/pub17/p17-144.htm#en_us_publink100034368
You work in Atlanta and take a business trip to New Orleans. On your way home, you stop in Mobile to visit your parents. You spend $1,920 for the 9 days you are away from home for travel, meals, lodging, and other travel expenses. If you had not stopped in Mobile, you would have been gone only 6 days, and your total cost would have been $1,620. You can deduct $1,620 for your trip, including the cost of round-trip transportation to and from New Orleans. The deduction for your meals is subject to the 50% limit on meals mentioned earlier.taxmap/pub17/p17-144.htm#en_us_publink100034369
If your trip was primarily for personal reasons, such as a vacation, the entire cost of the trip is a nondeductible personal expense. However, you can deduct any expenses you have while at your destination that are directly related to your business.
A trip to a resort or on a cruise ship may be a vacation even if the promoter advertises that it is primarily for business. The scheduling of incidental business activities during a trip, such as viewing videotapes or attending lectures dealing with general subjects, will not change what is really a vacation into a business trip. taxmap/pub17/p17-144.htm#en_us_publink100034370
If part of your trip is outside the United States, use the rules described later under Travel Outside the United States
for that part of the trip. For the part of your trip that is inside the United States, use the rules for travel in the United States. Travel outside the United States does not include travel from one point in the United States to another point in the United States. The following discussion can help you determine whether your trip was entirely within the United States.
If you travel by public transportation, any place in the United States where that vehicle makes a scheduled stop is a point in the United States. Once the vehicle leaves the last scheduled stop in the United States on its way to a point outside the United States, you apply the rules under Travel Outside the United States.
You fly from New York to Puerto Rico with a scheduled stop in Miami. You return to New York nonstop. The flight from New York to Miami is in the United States, so only the flight from Miami to Puerto Rico is outside the United States. Because there are no scheduled stops between Puerto Rico and New York, all of the return trip is outside the United States. taxmap/pub17/p17-144.htm#en_us_publink100034373
Travel by private car in the United States is travel between points in the United States, even when you are on your way to a destination outside the United States. taxmap/pub17/p17-144.htm#en_us_publink100034374
You travel by car from Denver to Mexico City and return. Your travel from Denver to the border and from the border back to Denver is travel in the United States, and the rules in this section apply. The rules under Travel Outside the United States
apply to your trip from the border to Mexico City and back to the border.
If any part of your business travel is outside the United States, some of your deductions for the cost of getting to and from your destination may be limited. For this purpose, the United States includes the 50 states and the District of Columbia.
How much of your travel expenses you can deduct depends in part upon how much of your trip outside the United States was business related.
See chapter 1 of Publication 463 for information on luxury water travel.taxmap/pub17/p17-144.htm#en_us_publink100034376
You can deduct all your travel expenses of getting to and from your business destination if your trip is entirely for business or considered entirely for business.taxmap/pub17/p17-144.htm#en_us_publink100034377
If you travel outside the United States and you spend the entire time on business activities, you can deduct all of your travel expenses. taxmap/pub17/p17-144.htm#en_us_publink100034378
Even if you did not spend your entire time on business activities, your trip is considered entirely for business if you meet at least one of the following four exceptions.taxmap/pub17/p17-144.htm#en_us_publink100034379
Your trip is considered entirely for business if you did not have substantial control over arranging the trip. The fact that you control the timing of your trip does not, by itself, mean that you have substantial control over arranging your trip.
You do not have substantial control over your trip if you:
- Are an employee who was reimbursed or paid a travel expense allowance,
- Are not related to your employer, and
- Are not a managing executive.
A "managing executive" is an employee who has the authority and responsibility, without being subject to the veto of another, to decide on the need for the business travel.
A self-employed person generally has substantial control over arranging business trips. taxmap/pub17/p17-144.htm#en_us_publink100034380
Your trip is considered entirely for business if you were outside the United States for a week or less, combining business and nonbusiness activities. One week means 7 consecutive days. In counting the days, do not count the day you leave the United States, but do count the day you return to the United States. taxmap/pub17/p17-144.htm#en_us_publink100034381
Your trip is considered entirely for business if:
- You were outside the United States for more than a week, and
- You spent less than 25% of the total time you were outside the United States on nonbusiness activities.
For this purpose, count both the day your trip began and the day it ended.
Your trip is considered entirely for business if you can establish that a personal vacation was not a major consideration, even if you have substantial control over arranging the trip. taxmap/pub17/p17-144.htm#en_us_publink100034383
If you travel outside the United States primarily for business but spend some of your time on nonbusiness activities, you generally cannot deduct all of your travel expenses. You can only deduct the business portion of your cost of getting to and from your destination. You must allocate the costs between your business and nonbusiness activities to determine your deductible amount. These travel allocation rules are discussed in chapter 1 of Publication 463.
You do not have to allocate your travel expense deduction if you meet one of the four exceptions listed earlier under Travel considered entirely for business. In those cases, you can deduct the total cost of getting to and from your destination.
If you travel outside the United States primarily for vacation or for investment purposes, the entire cost of the trip is a nondeductible personal expense. If you spend some time attending brief professional seminars or a continuing education program, you can deduct your registration fees and other expenses you have that are directly related to your business. taxmap/pub17/p17-144.htm#en_us_publink100034386
You can deduct your travel expenses when you attend a convention if you can show that your attendance benefits your trade or business. You cannot deduct the travel expenses for your family.
If the convention is for investment, political, social, or other purposes unrelated to your trade or business, you cannot deduct the expenses.
Your appointment or election as a delegate does not, in itself, determine whether you can deduct travel expenses. You can deduct your travel expenses only if your attendance is connected to your own trade or business.
The convention agenda or program generally shows the purpose of the convention. You can show your attendance at the convention benefits your trade or business by comparing the agenda with the official duties and responsibilities of your position. The agenda does not have to deal specifically with your official duties and responsibilities; it will be enough if the agenda is so related to your position that it shows your attendance was for business purposes. taxmap/pub17/p17-144.htm#en_us_publink100034389
See chapter 1 of Publication 463 for information on conventions held outside the North American area.