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IRS Rules for Deducting Transportation Expenses for Business Conventions or Seminars

So you have a small side business and you want to combine business with pleasure as you travel to a seminar or convention. The rules governing transportation deductions for this kind of travel are different than any other kind of travel.
To understand these rules, I’ll use my example traveler, Loni again. Remember Loni was traveling to Las Vegas to attend a tradeshow (convention). She planned to work the tradeshow for two days and play the other three days of the convention. Loni took one day to travel the 650 miles from Evanston, Wyoming to Las Vegas and one day to travel back. Those two travel days can also be considered business days, so Loni spent four days on business and three days playing, for a total of seven days.
She needs to answer the following questions to determine how much of her transportation costs are deductible:

  1. Is this a business trip? Yes.
  2. Is it a trip to a business convention or seminar? Yes.
  3. Is Las Vegas outside the defined North American area? No.
  4. Were more than 50 percent of trip days, including travel days, spent on business? Yes (four days is more than 50 percent of seven days).

Loni’s gasoline and other car transportation expenses to and from the Las Vegas tradeshow are 100 percent deductible.
The tax-saving tip to remember about travel for conventions or seminars is:
Spend more than 50 percent of your days on business and you can deduct 100 percent of your transportation costs.

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