As business owners, traveling outside our city to meet with existing and potential clients is an important part of our company’s success, as it allows us to expand the reach of our brand and build strong relationships with our partners. However, this can represent a significant portion of our budget, as we need to cover several travel expenses, such as transportation, meals, and accommodations. Luckily for us, there are many business-related expenses we can deduct from these trips, and these apply for both domestic and international expenses. This is how you can deduct your international business expenses and the limitations you might need to know.
Eligibility Rules for Business Travel Expenses
The very first thing we need to know regarding deducting our business travel expenses is that the IRS divides these into two different categories, having ordinary and necessary business expenses incurred for travel away from home. According to the IRS, ordinary expenses correspond to those that are common and accepted in your trade or business, and necessary expenses are those considered helpful and appropriate for your work. When it comes to international travel, the expenses incurred away from home during trips that are longer than an ordinary day’s work and that require us to rest or sleep are eligible.
Business Travel Expenses We Can Usually Deduct
If this is the first year we will be deducting business travel expenses, we should become familiar with the types of expenses that tend to be eligible for deductions. The most common types of expenses include transportation expenses, whether we go by plane, train, or automobile; shipping and baggage of any props or materials we need for work purposes; and accommodations if our trip is overnight and we need to stay in a hotel while away from home. We can also deduct half the costs of our meals as long as they are not lavish or extravagant, as well as our communications, dry cleaning, and laundry expenses when away from home on work purposes.
Expenses We Can Deduct from International Business Trips
Deducting international business expenses can get a bit trickier, as the IRS sets expenses into two different categories you must meet in order to be eligible for these deductions. These categories of expenses are from trips that were entirely for business or considered entirely for business. Expenses for international travel entirely for business can be deducted if you spent virtually all waking hours of your trip on business activities. On the other hand, an international trip is considered entirely for business can still qualify for expenses deductions if you didn’t have substantial control in arranging the trip if you spent no more than a week outside of the US, and if you spent at least 76% of your time on business-related activities.
What Limits the Deductions for International Business Expenses
Once you have figured out which of your expenses qualify for international business expenses and which ones do not, you still need to consider the limits of these deductions. If you don’t meet one or more of these conditions, and if your business trip was not entirely work-related, you don’t have to worry. You can still deduct a portion of these expenses, as long as you determine the percentage of business days from your trip. This way, the IRS will have a more accurate and acceptable idea of just how many days you spent on work-related activities, being able to grant the deductions for the expenses on those days only.