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Convention Tax Rebate 101

By: Lisa Patrick

 

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Acquiring knowledge, having fun, and benefiting your business in a single business trip is ideal. Having your travel expenses eligible for tax deduction? That’s even better. If you attend conferences and conventions for your business, the government offers income tax deductions on the expenses that were incurred during the trip. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in the US has increased the tax benefits offered, so that the government takes care of a huge portion of your expenses during conventions (and veterinary) meetings. Similar rules and benefits in Canada exist from Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).

 
Like all rebates, this also comes with certain terms and conditions. It is not applicable if the meeting is associated with investments or anything that generates income. The intent is to help trips that are to the benefit of your business. Here, you will get information about which the expenses the government is liable to reimburse.
 
Basic Expenses
 
All your essential travelling cost will fall under the wing of tax-deductible expenses. This means that the amount you have spent on your car, bus, train, or plane to reach your destination will be tax deductible. The transportation costs during the convention, like the taxi or bus fare, and the cost incurred on moving your display materials or samples, can also be claimed. The government even takes care of your conference fees, hotel bills, meals, laundry, phone and other such essential expenses. If the organizers of the conference provide all your meals and transportation, you will only be eligible to claim $3 per day.
 
Entertainment Expenses
 
Since interaction with colleagues and business prospects happen mostly during meals, the government considers meals a form of entertainment, even if it is work related. The tax rules for expenses on meals come with certain constraints. Though meals are inclusive of food, drinks, taxes, tips, and others, the compensation is restricted to 50% of the actual amount spent, as it comes under the label of entertainment.
 
The government gives you the option of filing the real amount you spent or using the standard rate that has been fixed by the government for meals. Once you exhaust this meal allowance, you need to carry your bills with you. If your employer is related to you, then you are not eligible for the standard meal allowance.
 
Reimbursement for Companion
 
If you are travelling with your spouse, friend or family member for such an event, you will be able to refund their travelling expense, only if that person is your employee or plays a crucial business role in the trip.
 
Suppose you are travelling with your spouse who does not contribute to the business, you can still file all your individual travelling expenses. For example, if you have taken a double room, you can still deduct the cost of a single room, which you would have taken if you did not have company. Your individual commuting cost also stands for compensation, and you can use the standard allowance for your meals.
 
You can plan a vacation or a break during your business trip. Since the government offers you tax rebate for all business related trips, you will be able to claim the business related expenses.
 
Things to Remember
 
Always remember to maintain a record of all expenses incurred. Keep all bills for your hotel and meals, business related gifts and expenses intact. Since the IRS is aware that the benefits provided can be misused, you will have to provide evidence for your claims. These records will also act as a substantial proof of your presence at the time of the conference or convention.
 
This article was originally published by Convention Business Travel
Published: August 12, 2013
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Lisa Patrick

Lisa Patrick is the Chairman and CEO of Convention Business Travel. She is a savvy, innovative, business-focused executive with a strong network and proven track record with corporate and strategy. Lisa started her career in law enforcement and is now the founder of several successful startups. Lisa prides herself on building relationships first and conducting business next. Today, she successfully balances business, marriage and motherhood.

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