Vacation to Orlando

Today TaxMama hears from Shaun in the TaxQuips Forum who wants to write off his vacation. “My son and I are traveling to Florida. I have a property in Jacksonville, FL that I need to check on. Can I fly in and out of Jacksonville to take care of business? Then drive to Orlando for a two-day visit? What can I claim as business expense and how much? (ex; airfare, rent a car, hotel, food, gas etc.)

Hi Shaun

If your entire trip to Jacksonville is about checking on the property, all your expenses are deductible.

However, if you’re going to fly in to Jacksonville, spend a couple of hours checking on the property, then drive to Orlando for two days and return to Jacksonville for the flight home…What do you think?

Proportionately, how much of your time was spent in Jacksonville? Not a heck of a lot. It looks more like your primary purpose was a vacation in Orlando, with a stop in Jacksonville on the way.

 I’d say about the only thing deductible on this trip is the mileage from the airport to property – and perhaps equivalent mileage back to the airport. For couple of hours of inspection time, do you even need to stay overnight? Perhaps you could stretch it and get one night and meals for a day. But I’d say, from your itinerary, you’re on thin ice.

On the other hand, if you come in a Friday and spend the whole day working on the property, you could spend the night there. Take the weekend off, drive to Orlando (none of this part is deductible), and return to Jacksonville – finish up some things on the property – and fly out. Now you DO have deductible airfare. The one night in Jacksonville and your meals for about a day or day and half. If your son is old enough to work with you on the property, his meals and airfare, too. And the use of the car and fuel for a day.

Does that clarify the logic for the trip deduction? Have fun! And say “Hello” to Harry Potter.

And remember, you can find answers to all kinds of questions about writing off vacations and other tax issues, free. Where? Where else? At www.TaxMama.com.

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