Can You Deduct Any of Your Summer Vacation Costs?

How can you deduct summer vacation expenses?

How can you deduct summer vacation expenses?

Are you taking a family vacation this summer to go hiking in Yellowstone? Do you plan to treat yourself to a trip to New York City where you’ll catch some Broadway shows? Are a few days in the Caribbean on your agenda between now and the fall? No matter where your summer vacation takes you in the world this year, you might be able to write off some of the costs associated with it.

In general, you can take advantage of a deduction by mixing vacation and relaxation time with a little bit of business. The basic rule of thumb is that as long as the majority of a trip involves conducting some type of business, you can deduct many of the costs you incur for it. This means if you’re gone for a week and spend four days doing business and three on the beach, you can claim most of the expenses during this entire weeklong trip as a write-off on your IRS tax return.

The three primary groups of expenses under this deduction umbrella include:

  • Transportation: You can deduct all transportation costs if your trip is considered primarily for business purposes. These expenses include airfare, taxi fares, train tickets, rental car costs, and use of a personal vehicle. Remember that deducting personal car expenses involves either using the standard mileage rate (56 cents per mile for 2014) or actual expenses like gas, tolls, and maintenance.
  • Hotel: You’ll need a place to stay when you are out of town, and hotels are certainly not cheap. But the IRS does allow hotel costs to be deducted. The caveat is that you can only write off each night you stay in a hotel during the business-related portion of a vacation. So, if you spend six days on a trip and use four of them for business-related activities, you can only deduct the cost of four nights in a hotel.
  • Meals and entertainment: A portion of business-related meals and entertainment is deductible, even when you’re away from home on vacation. You can write off 50% of a meal or entertainment event, as long as some type of business is discussed during it. This means $25 of a $50 meal would qualify for the write-off. Keep all relevant receipts and record information about these outings so that you are prepared when filing your taxes with Uncle Sam.

If you bring a spouse or children with you on a vacation that includes business activities, the basic rule is that you can’t write off any expenses they incur. Instead, you can only deduct those for yourself. For instance, you can write off the base cost of a hotel room, but you can’t deduct the fees for additional guests in the room. If you get a rental car, there’s typically no per-person charge here, so you can often deduct the entire cost of using the vehicle to get around while transporting your family at the same time.

1800Accountant is here to assist you in determining which summer vacation expenses you can deduct as business-related costs on your IRS tax return. To learn more, call 1-888-749-0117 or visit www.1800accountant.com.

Why Small Business Owners Should Be Blogging

The concept of blogging is ingrained in our technological communication these days. If you aren’t blogging, you probably aren’t being noticed. That is why blogging is an absolute must for small business owners trying to make a name for themselves – and, ultimately, increase their bottom line. 1800Accountant explains why you should be tapping into the “blogosphere” if you aren’t already.

– It won’t cost you anything

Entrepreneurs love free stuff. With so many expenses to cover over time, they’ll never turn down something that is complimentary. Blogging falls right into this category. There are countless free blogging platforms out there, many of which come with cool features and snazzy graphics at no extra charge. Of course, you could always spend just a little money for some of the best blogging tools around. Why wouldn’t you have a blog if it won’t take any bite out of your business budget?

– It provides small businesses with a voice

A small business itself can only “speak” to customers through marketing, advertising, and perhaps the way it does business. You could also argue that those who work for the company make up its overall voice. However, by having a company blog, small business owners can literally communicate directly with customers in a more informal fashion. You can blog about company news, new products/services, industry-relevant information, and anything else you feel your website readers would be interested in learning about. If your blog contains well-researched and high-quality content, others will view your small business in a higher light in terms of its authority within a particular field.

– It can improve your online visibility through search engine optimization (SEO)

When starting a business, it takes time to get noticed by the masses. Blogging is a perfect tool to help boost the visibility of your website and company in general on the “information superhighway.” By implementing relevant keywords into the content you post, it can help put your site higher up in search results, such as on the first page of Google instead of the 10th page when people search for you. SEO might sound Greek to you, but the concept behind this acronym is fairly straightforward. For instance, if you run a cleaning service in Chicago, be sure to use phrases like “cleaning service in Chicago,” “cleaning company in Chicago,” or “cleaners in Chicago, IL.”

– It’s great for interacting with potential or current customers

Customer interaction builds relationships. These relationships can lead to long-time customers who essentially serve as the primary financial supporters of your small business. It’s easy and convenient to interact with customers through blogging and other online communication tools. When you post something, visitors to your blog can comment on it and offer their opinions. This can also spark conversations and interactions among several current or potential customers. When people are talking about your company – even if it’s all online – it creates a buzz. Customers also love having a name or a face to associate with a business. So even if you aren’t actually blogging as the business owner, make sure someone else is doing so for you who people can easily contact through blogging or other means.

When Should You Start A Small Business?

Timing is everything, especially when it comes to starting a new small business.

Timing is everything, especially when it comes to starting a new small business. (Image credit: Flickr Creative Commons)

We all know how timing is everything in life. It is amazing how some people do something at a certain time, and when looking back, they realize how fortunate they were to have done it at that exact moment. Starting a business is about timing as well. Even though circumstances vary among entrepreneurs, there are still a few critical factors to account for on when the most appropriate time is to dive into a brand new venture. Consider the following factors before taking this big leap of faith:

– When you’re experienced enough in a particular industry

While lots of entrepreneurs may not have any experience running a small business, they should have a significant background working in a particular field before becoming their own boss. Small business owners are generally experts in their lines of work, which is why they believe they can go out on their own and find enough customers to support a company. Let’s say you have worked for an employer for over 15 years in an information technology firm. You’ve mastered a ton of skills, and you feel like you could handle working on IT-related projects for outside clients yourself. This would be a good time to consider self-employment.

– When you have ample time to manage it

A company’s startup phase typically involves night-time and weekend work, in addition to the occasional sleepless night to get everything rolling. The schedule you’ll be on during this timeframe may seem a little overwhelming, but it is generally necessary to cover the wide array of responsibilities involved in getting a small business off the ground. This is why you should have a significant amount of time ahead of you to dedicate it to this process. If you hold a day job, be sure getting the business operating will not get in the way. If you’re married or have children, be sure you’ll still have enough time to spend with your family. Just don’t be shocked when you realize how much time it’ll take in the initial stages of doing business – and on an ongoing basis as well.

– When you have substantial funding for it

A primary reason startups fail is because they aren’t supported with ample funding. Regardless of whether you intend to personally fund a company, take out a loan, use crowdfunding, or use any other capital-raising method, it is absolutely essential to ensure your financial projections are within reason. You must be certain that you have enough capital to finance your startup costs and other countless expenses.

– When your self-driven motivation has reached a high enough level

Until you have finally convinced yourself that running a small business is exactly what you wish to do in your life, then your motivation level and entrepreneurial spirit are probably high. This is the best time to set up a company due to the incredibly hectic schedule you’ll find yourself with as time goes on. If you are not motivated enough to take on this challenging proposition, the chances of your business succeeding will be greatly reduced.

– When you’ve crafted a top-notch business plan

Starting a business that has a great chance at being profitable ultimately boils down to having a solid business plan on paper. This plan of action should contain specific details about what the company is, what it will sell, how much money it will generate, and how you’ll market it. Once your business plan is in good shape, you should feel confident about moving forward and turning your idea into a reality.

For all of your small business accounting and development needs, work with the experienced professionals at 1800Accountant. Call 1-888-749-0117 or click over to www.1800accountant.com.