As this year's Financial Blogger Conference quickly rolls around we've seen a variety of posts talking about how to save on blog conference costs, including the one on this site. One of the points I briefly touched on in that post was that as a blogger you can deduct certain expenses for these conferences on your taxes, saving even more money on expenses you probably would have incurred anyway.
So who can deduct blog conference expenses on their taxes, and what exactly can you deduct?
Blog Conference Tax Deductions
Far too many people don't realize that certain expenses that they incur while traveling to and staying at a blog conference are in fact deductible on their taxes. So what types of expenses are deductible?
What Types Of Expenses Are Deductible?
Expenses that can seen as “ordinary” or “necessary” for your trade, business or profession are tax deductible. So if an expense is common and accepted in your profession, and is both helpful and appropriate, you may be able to claim it.
Whether you are an employee with a W2, self employed and reporting income on Schedule C of form 1040, or working in several other business types, you can probably deduct your expenses.
What Specific Expenses Can You Claim
There are a variety of expenses you can claim as tax deductions when attending a conference.
- Your conference or trade show registration fee
- Standard mileage allowance if you drive a vehicle
- Airfare or busfare
- Lodging, including tips to hotel staff
- Taxis/Shuttles to and from airport
- 50% of meal expenses
- 50% of costs if you entertain customers or clients
What You Can't Claim
It should be noted that certain things can't be claimed as deductions. Among them:
- Family expenses: If your family is traveling with you like mine is, you can't deduct their expenses if they're not also traveling for professional purposes. You can claim what you would have been able to if you traveled alone.
- Sightseeing expenses: Did you go sightseeing while you were at the conference? Costs associated with those trips are not deductible.
What Receipts And Records Do You Need?
Whenever you're claiming something as a business expense it's a good idea to keep detailed records and receipts for everything. If you can charge business expenses on a business credit card, get receipts from taxi drivers and other transportation, and make sure to keep a detailed copy of your hotel bill. For the conference keep a copy of your charges, as well as a copy of the convention schedule/agenda to prove it's relevance to your profession.
When it comes to lodging, meals and other incidental expenses the IRS will allow you to claim a federal “per diem allowance”, which is determined by the location of the trip and/or conference. There is a per diem rate for lodging, and a separate one for meals and incidentals that can be found here:
If you claim the per diem allowance, you don't have to save the receipts for actual expenses. The per diem rate for the meals and incidentals portion will also cover tips given to bellhops, maids, etc so if you claim the per diem, you can't claim the actual out of pocket expenses elsewhere.
Where To Claim The Deductions On Your Taxes
So where do you claim all these tax deductions come tax time?
- If you're a sole proprieter or single member LLC, you can claim on Form 1040, Schedule C.
- Partnerships and multi-party LLCs can claim on Form 1065 on the deductions section.
- Corporations can claim on Form 1120 or 1120S in the deductions section.
- An employee can take miscellaneous deductions on Schedule A, although there are some restrictions.
For more information on the topic of business travel related expenses, check out the IRS Tax Topic 511.
Have you claimed tax deductions for travel and education related expenses before? How much did it allow you to save?