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Deducting Travel To Conferences and Seminars

Stephen Fishman
Tax expert and contributor MileIQ

You can write off travel to business-related conventions, seminars, or similar meetings with the mileage deduction. This can include deductions for your transportation, lodging, and 50% of your meal expenses while on business. Learn about how to do this, as well as some of the IRS restrictions.    

It is much easier to deduct trips to destinations that are within North America. Such trips need only be an "ordinary and necessary" expense to be deductible.    

That is, these trips must benefit your business in some way. Trips outside North America are deductible only if it was reasonable to hold the event in such a distant location. For example, it would be hard to deduct a convention for New York plumbing contractors held in Tahiti.


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For this reason, you should generally avoid attended business conventions outside North America. Fortunately, the IRS has recently expanded the definition of what constitutes "North America."    

The definition includes the 50 states (and the District of Columbia), Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Northern Mariana Islands, Marshall Islands, Palau, various Pacific Islands that are U.S. territories or trusts, Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, Costa Rica, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Honduras, Jamaica, Netherlands Antilles, Panama, and Trinidad and Tobago.    

Also, the IRS has added Curacao and Saint Lucia to the list. No longer considered part of North America are the British Virgin Islands and the Cayman Islands. (Rev. Rul 2016-16.)  

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