Tax Expert: Road Warriors, Business Travelers Bone Up on Expenses

Finances, The Road Warrior
June 1st, 2010 No Comments »

June Walker, a tax advisor to the independent / soloist / self-employed and home office business community since 1979, has guided indies through various tax issues for years.

Today, she offers some guidance on handling business and travel expenses. To June, the questions seem the same: Travel expenses, transportation expenses, vehicle expenses – aren’t they all more or less the same thing?

Well, maybe to you they are, June says. But not to the IRS. There are subtle and there are grand differences. Understanding standard business travel and the expenses related to a typical business trip is the place to start.

Over the river and through the woods to Grandmother’s house goes Pat Personal Trainer. Gram just bought a color laser printer and it’s the cheapest way for Pat to print his new brochures. He leaves Friday afternoon. The bus gets him there in time for dinner. He works at the computer all the next day until the wee hours. (He’s sure these new brochures will get him lots of customers.) Very early the next morning he kisses Grandma good-bye and heads back home on the bus.

Pat was away from his home, for business, overnight. It was BUSINESS TRAVEL. Therefore he may deduct travel expenses.

The IRS says this about BUSINESS TRAVEL . . .

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Home Office Highway: The Financial Recap, Part I

Finances, Uncategorized
July 28th, 2008 2 Comments »

When we decided to take an extended vacation this summer — and divide my attention between work and pleasure, my goal was to work somewhere between 30 to 50 percent of the time.

That’s not to say I’d be working 10am until 2pm, and leaving the shoulders to pleasure (or vice versa). Given my circadian rhythm and generally accepted lousy sleep habits, it’s more likely that I would awaken around 5am, work for four hours or so, then hang with the family for the day. By evening, I’d be back on the PC as everyone else settled into reading the library of books we brought along, or watching a little cable TV or DVDs.

The tally of my output, if measured by dollars, was pretty close to on-target. I ended up billing about 35% of what I otherwise would bill during a normal three-week period. So I didn’t scuttle my ship, as was my most pressing concern. And I was able to keep my billable house in order.

But what else did I learn about remote finances…? Read More »

Home Office Finances from the Road

Finances, The Road Warrior
July 2nd, 2008 No Comments »

Egad, It’s Tax Day!I have this uncle. We’ll call him Sam.

The 15th of every month, Sam wants a little scratch — whether I’m at my home office in South Florida, or playing road warrior somewhere along the Eastern Seaboard. Sam doesn’t really ask for his money. He doesn’t have to. I know to pay him — or else he’ll sic his business-suited henchmen on me. I’ll get a letter saying, “Mr. Zbar, You’re Delinquent.” The mere thought of raising his suspicions is enough to make any home office worker toe a very straight line.

Truth be told, I try to be a stickler about the money owed me, too. I want my money so I can pay myself, my vendors — and the Good Uncle.

Thus, making these two spokes in the money wheel of business spin in sync are core to running a successful enterprise.

Collections are no laughing matter. And tax payments are nothing to mess around with. And just because I’ll be on the road for three weeks doesn’t mean Uncle Sam won’t expect his estimated payroll tax payment, or I won’t expect my clients to pay me. Read More »

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