Deductions for business travel expenses need support

If you intend to deduct business travel expenses on your income tax return, keep adequate records. If you are later audited, you will be able to substantiate your deductions. Your oral summary of your business expenses will not hold up to an IRS audit. Besides, audits are often a year or so after the events which make it more difficult to recall what took place if you don’t have proper documentation.

The easiest way to keep good records is to do so near the time the expense was incurred. Consider using a large envelope for each trip to keep all receipts and other trip information. Take a few seconds to write the business purpose and/or customer names on the back of appropriate receipts. If you are lacking a specific receipt, write your account of the event, the date, and the money paid out and save it along with your other travel documentation. Take time also to document the business miles traveled.

If you maintain an expense report on a weekly basis for the expenses of that week, it will be considered a timely kept record for IRS purposes. If you account to your employer under an accountable plan, the rules are different.

For assistance in setting up a record system for your business travel, please contact us.

About Brenda J. McGivern, CPA

Brenda McGivern started her own certified public accounting and management consulting firm in October 2001. The full service CPA firm provides tax and accounting solutions to meet the needs of today's small business and individual. Brenda McGivern has become a trusted advisor and valuable resource her clients rely on for timely, accurate assistance when they need it. Before starting the firm, she worked as an accountant for three years at a local firm and prior to that five years at a large international CPA firm in Boston. She has performed the following tax services: federal, state and local tax planning, international tax planning, estate and succession planning, mergers and acquisitions, capital retention and IRS representation. She has also coordinated assurance engagements, such as financial statement audits, reviews and compilations from the planning phase through the reporting phase. She has prepared and reviewed regulatory filings for numerous regulatory agencies including the Security and Exchange Commission. Prior to these positions she was selected from over 2,000 candidates into an eight-person intensive financial management program at an international technology company. The program consisted of graduate level classroom study and two six-month rotational assignments in financial operations. She graduated cum laude from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and holds a Bachelors Degree in Business Administration with a concentration in accounting. McGivern also holds a license in Massachusetts as a Certified Public Accountant and is a member of the American Society of Certified Public Accountants and the Massachusetts Society of Certified Public Accountants. She resides in Stoughton, Massachusetts with her husband Brian, and their sons Sean, Ryan and Conor and their dog, Davis.
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