If you are like most investors, you enjoy talking to and learning from other industry professionals at real estate conferences. But an investor’s busy schedule doesn’t always leave much time for both conference travel and vacation travel. Fortunately, if carefully planned and carried out, it is possible to combine a real estate convention trip and a vacation, using them both as a tax write-off for your investing business. In this way, that next real estate convention trip could save you both time and money in the end.
Find a Convention
The first step is finding a convention in a location you might actually want to visit. Not all real estate conventions are held at times or in places that could double as a vacation destination, but some will. It is equally important to pay attention to the dates of the convention, and decide whether the timing works for both your business and leisure plans.
What Can You Deduct
After you choose a convention, the next step is to understand which parts of your trip you can legitimately deduct. Convention registration fees, airfare, and your hotel stay adjacent to convention or business meeting days are all tax-deductible expenses. So, for example, if you arrived the day before the start of the convention and then scheduled to leave the day after it ends, you could turn those extra days into a mini-vacation and still write the hotel costs off as a business expense. Depending on the timing of the convention, you could also try to include a weekend in your travel plans. If the convention and other business meetings occur on both a Friday and the following Monday, you could potentially deduct your hotel expenses for the weekend in between. If you want to stay longer than your business plans last, it is also possible to simply pay for any vacation-related days yourself, deducting only those related to the convention itself.
Combining your real estate convention trip into a tax-deductible mini-vacation also requires some careful advance planning. For example, be sure to register for the convention in advance, as well as schedule as many business meetings as you can before you leave. To deduct a business trip, you need to have what the IRS calls a “prior set business purpose” for your travel costs. As long as at least some of each day is spent doing business-related activities, you can also deduct expenses like car rental and often 50 percent of your meals. In this way, you can legitimately classify many of the related costs as tax-deductible expenses.
What You Cannot Deduct
However, there are a few things that you will not be able to deduct, regardless of the purpose of your trip. For example, airfare for any non-employees accompanying you to the convention location are not tax-deductible expenses, and neither are meals or additional hotel expenses for such persons. Entrance fees to parks, museums, and tourist attractions are also non-deductible, and neither are parking or transportation costs to and from such activities. To avoid running afoul of the IRS, it is a good idea to carefully document your business-related expenses. In fact, many wise business owners will use separate accounts or credit cards to pay for business-related and vacation-related expenses to avoid any questions about which is which.
No matter when or how often you attend real estate conventions, you can travel confidently knowing Real Property Management is taking care of your rental properties for you. Our property management experts can shift the burned of property maintenance off your shoulders, leaving you free to grow your knowledge and wealth at real estate conventions – and beyond. Visit our What We Do section to learn more about the services we provide.
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