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Jack Decker 63

How big of a deal is writing off your travel expenses as a business expense?

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I am about to post a job over at Escapee's job listing website but am wondering just how big (or not) a deal is being able to write off one's traveling as a business expense.  Anyone know?

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It is a pretty sure way to get audited. Travel expenses are the most closely watched item in the IRS monitor programs. If a person works from an RV as their only home then travel is only allowed from that home to the place of employment. Fulltimers are generally not legal to deduct travel expenses, but some may get away with it. 

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You can deduct travel expenses paid or incurred in connection with a temporary work assignment away from home. However, you can't deduct travel expenses paid in connection with an indefinite work assignment. Any work assignment in excess of one year is considered indefinite.

For more information check with IRS pub #463.

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But what if the job requires one to travel to do it?  For example, being a sales rep that sells to land-based casinos.  The job requiring one to physically go to casinos to meet with their marketing directors.  How would one be able to deduct travel as a business expense safely?  Just keep good logs and if challenged by the IRS, simply call up the marketing director's secretary to verify that you actually did meet with the marketing director or at least had an appointment with her/him?  Naturally, signed contracts with a marketing director would do but not all sales pitches succeed.

Edited by Jack Decker 63

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10 minutes ago, Jack Decker 63 said:

But what if the job requires one to travel to do it? 

The tax code is pretty specific about being away from home. I have never looked at a paid position like yours, but I did look into travel expenses for those of us who volunteer at parks and wildlife refuges where we travel from one location of volunteering to another and the answer was "no." I suggest that this is a question that needs the advice of a tax attorney and not just from a group of RV folks. I used to have a friend who was an IRS investigator. He used to tell people that you can claim anything that you wish to, but the catch comes in whether or not that item will be allowed. Travel expenses are such a common source of tax fraud that the IRS pays very close attention to the issue. Start by reading Quoting from the IRS site, Topic No. 511:

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Travel expenses are the ordinary and necessary expenses of traveling away from home for your business, profession, or job.

 

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Okay.  I guess it will be up to the person I hire to decide whether or not they want to try to deduct their travel expenses and I will suggest they consult a tax accountant or attorney before doing so.  Thanks for the reply!

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I think that is the wise choice since the giving of legal advice can be very risky and could create some liability for you if you are wrong. I think that I would offer no opinion on tax issues. Are you planning to have the workers as employees with a W-2 or will they be contract employees receiving a 1099? 

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Do not depend on info from here.  Hire a tax accountant and let them review your case.

 

Ken

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Jack, I think part of the catch is that to deduct travel expenses you have to travel away from home. If your RV is your home, and you drive it from casino to casino, then you aren't traveling away from it -- you are taking it with you. But, yes, by all means, your tax advice should come from a tax expert -- and I am not one.

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Some years ago I read about a couple who sold advertising for those RV park booklets/maps, there was something about a % of the RV not being living quarters, rest is a blank.

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We do. One has to have a home, and travel to job with their second home, rv, hotel, house rent, room tent. You can deduct these exspenses, meals, etc. You are not allowed if camper your only home. Must have separate home. Can't write off value of camper because it is personal possession. Now with the current change in the tax code all this maybe out the window. Lest that I'd what I'm hearing. 

 

Edited by GlennWest

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