You planned a personal trip to Los Angeles, arriving
on Friday afternoon and leaving on Sunday afternoon.
About a week later, you learn that a vendor you need
to meet with is going to be in L.A. when you are.
You arrange a dinner on Friday night to finalize
negotiations on a large contract.
Can you now deduct 100 percent of your flight
expenses to Los Angeles?
How about meals?
Trouble. You must have business as your primary
purpose for the trip. In general, a business trip can
involve two types of business days:
1. Travel day. You count as business those days
you spend traveling in a reasonably direct
route to your business destination. (Again, note
this is your business not your personal
2. Presence-required day. If someone requires
your presence at a particular place for a
specific and bona fide business purpose, this
counts as a business day. That “someone”
could be any business associate, employee,
partner, client, customer, or vendor.
This trip we created for you works like this:
- Day 1, Friday, is a personal day. (You may
deduct the cost of the business meal with the
vendor whether you pay for it in total or go
- Day 2, Saturday, is a personal day.
- Day 3, Sunday, is a personal day.
But let’s say you had this situation: you travel on
Friday to meet with the vendor on Saturday and return home on Sunday.
Now, you have a deductible trip.