September 5, 2014
Flying the Friendly Skies: 6 Tax Tips Every Business Traveler Should Know
Social media has changed and perhaps reduced the need for road warrior traveling. As a result, deductions allowed for air travel have changed too. Buckle your seat belts. Here are a few frequent flyer perks you might be missing out on:
1. Wi-Fi, Not Why Fly: New technologies now allow Wi-Fi access on commercial aircraft. Many of the major U.S. airlines have now begun to equip their planes with new in-flight Wi-Fi service. The day of power off before takeoff will soon be a thing of the past. This new freedom allows you to keep working in the air so when you land you will not have missed a beat. However, this connection and convenience may come with a price. Be sure to track your service costs because if access was used for business purposes, then bingo, this is a tax deduction!
2. Upgrade You, Too: BeyoncÃ© sings the tune, “Upgrade U,â€ but business professionals often scream for the best seats with extra leg room. If you’re lucky and can score this perk at no cost, then consider yourself a winner. However, most travelers are mandated to pay. For instance, if you’re traveling Southwest Airlines and forget to check in early, you may be left in boarding group C32 and that may be your opportunity to consider upgrading to Business Select. The cost associated with a service upgrade is tax deductible when traveling on business.
3. Hungry for More: You managed to close the deal, sprinted through the airport because of a last-minute gate change, and finally settled into your seat. By now, you have worked up a hearty appetite. Hold on during takeoff; log your receipt as the meal can be deductible as a business meal.
4. Hit the Ground Running: Transportation to and from airports, tips for drivers, and the cost of vehicle parking are all tax deductible. Whether you select a yellow cab, green shuttle, blue passenger van, or black car service doesn’t change your eligibility to take a tax deduction.
5. Curbside Caution: For many travelers, complimentary curbside baggage checks are a value-added convenience. However, complimentary is not, well, completely complimentary since baggage handlers expect a gratuity. If you want to ensure that your bags end up in the same city you do, it would behoove you to pay up. As with ground transportation, these gratuities are all tax deductible.
6. Sanitation Insanity: For the “sani-phobicâ€ traveler, certain supplies are tax deductible on your business travels, ensuring that you don’t return home with any unwelcome germs. Disinfecting wipes to clean the trays, Lysol for spraying down hotel light switches and remote controls, and bed bug spray to protect yourself or at least to provide peace of mind will help you get the z’s you need to conduct business the following day.
Keep these tips in mind whether you’re on the ground or soaring at 35,000 feet. There are many perks that don’t come with airline tickets these days, but at least it’s good to know that you’ll have some extra benefits to look forward to at the end of the tax year.
You are now free to move about the country.
Marquita Miller owns and operates Five Star Tax and Business Solutions focusing on tax planning and preparation, accounting and payroll, startup planning, financial and performance evaluation planning, and revenue generation. FSTBS is a certified woman-owned and minority-owned business. www.marquitamiller.com. Twitter: @MarquitaMMiller.