Weekend Travel Expense Tax Breaks

Generally you can deduct business travel expenses if the “primary purpose” of the trip is business-related.  But the number of business days versus personal days is critical. Hotels and airlines often have incentives for staying an extra day with reduced rates and reduced airfares. 
 
Here’s an example:  You’re scheduled to fly into town on business Wednesday and return on Friday night.  The round-trip airfare is $1,200 but if you return on Saturday, it is a $500 airfare.  Additionally, the hotel normally costs $200 a night, but the rate is cut in half for a Friday night stay.  If you spend $100 on meals each day, the three-day business trip would cost $1,900 ($1,200 airfare $400 lodging $300 on meals). 
 
Now assume you stay Friday night and return on Saturday, the cost is now only $1,200 ($500 airfare $500 lodging $400 on meals).  You save $700 with a small change in travel plans.
The IRS has said a taxpayer in this situation can deduct lodging costs and 50% of the meals for all four days if he or she is staying longer to qualify for discounted airfare.  It doesn’t matter if the extra day is just spent relaxing.
 
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