Turn The Road Trip Of Your Dreams Into Tax-Deductible Business Travel: Seven Offbeat Ideas
Itching to travel far away or stay away for a long time? Drastically cut the impact of the costs by having a legitimate business purposes for your trip and deducting the travel expenses from your taxes. Check with your own tax advisor first, of course, before you go, and consider these seven offbeat ideas.
1. Conferences and trade shows. Business owners rarely attend enough of these anyway, in order to keep up with what’s happening in their industry, see what competitors are up to, put their company’s wares on display or soak in educational offerings. All of the above are legitimate business activities, so why not string together a long series of these in locations where you’ve always been yearning to go?
2. Scout business relocation sites. If you’ve ever had the thought that maybe the grass was greener elsewhere, create a trip to explore your top possibilities. Make an appointment with the Chamber of Commerce or a Small Business Development Center in each city or area you’re touring, and keep notes on the pros and cons of each location for your business as you explore.
3. Subscriber get-togethers. If you publish an ezine with a sizeable list, announce your itinerary a month or two in advance and ask if anyone on your route would be willing to host a subscriber schmooze session. Offer to bring the refreshments for the session and plan to give the host an appropriate gift. Then announce the scheduled meetings in your ezine two or three weeks before they take place. You don’t need any particular agenda or program – a “meet and greet” works well and serves the purpose of business development.
4. Blog. Create a blog and write about your business-related observations along your trip route in a way that would be interesting to potential clients. Or blog in relation to a long-time hobby, whether that’s miniature golf, mountain climbing or regional cooking. When you set up such a blog to earn Google Adsense commissions from those who click on ads running alongside your blog, the travel that’s instrumental to the blog content counts as a business endeavor.
5. State of the industry report. Research your industry by setting up interviews or other fact-finding activities along your trip route, taking notes and photos of your findings. Then when you come home, create a state of the industry report from what you learned and either sell it or give it away to key clients and prospects.
6. Podcast interviews. Using audio or video, record interviews with industry leaders who happen to live in the areas where you’re itching to visit. When you return home, turn your interviews into a product for sale or something you offer in connection with lead-generating efforts.
7. Wacky guidebook. People have published guides to factory tours, classic diners, golf resorts, birdwatching or skinny-dipping spots, pubs, castles, indoor swimming pools and so much more. Think of a theme that fits your travel destinations and take notes for the guidebook while you travel. Create a web page from which you sell the guidebook when you come home and voila, your trip was business travel.
In one of its publications, the IRS says, “Count as a business day any day your presence in required at a particular place for a specific business purpose. Count it as a business day even if you spend most of the day on nonbusiness activities.” Nowhere is it written that having a good time disqualifies what you do from counting as business!