FORTUNE Small Business:

Can I write off my international travel?

A home-based travel agent checks in with Ask FSB for advice on what she can deduct.

Subscribe to Top Stories
google my aol my msn my yahoo! netvibes
Paste this link into your favorite RSS desktop reader
See all CNNMoney.com RSS FEEDS (close)

jet_gulfstream_travel.03.jpg
Ask FSB
Get small-business intelligence from the experts. Here's a chance for YOU to ask your pressing small-business questions, and FSB editors will help you get answers from the appropriate experts.
Your name:
* Your e-mail address:
* Your city:
* Your state:
* Your daytime phone #:
* Your questions:

(FORTUNE Small Business) -- Dear FSB: I have a home-based travel agency. Can I deduct my international travel expenses and educational FAM trips?

- Nancy Vollmer, Holloway, Minn.

Dear Nancy: As you know, a FAM or "familiarization" trip, refers to a reduced-cost tour offered by a group of suppliers to educate travel agents about their destination and services.

For example, a resort property in Fiji might team up with local restaurants and tour operators to present a discounted FAM trip for agents from the United States. The idea is that you, the travel professional, can then better share knowledge about these experiences with your clients.

As long as you are a profit-seeking travel agency business - even if you operate out of your home - you can deduct all business-related expenses on the federal Schedule C form.

This applies whether the travel is local or international. Meals and entertainment are generally also deductible, says Martin Chan, a Philadelphia CPA.

Note that the primary purpose of any trip for which you plan to deduct expenses must be business. You cannot deduct expenses from family vacation or leisure trips.

Thoroughly document your expenses with receipts and written records, advises Nina Cunningham of Liberty Tax Service, a nationwide income tax preparation company headquartered in Virginia Beach, Va..

Remember also, Chan says, that travel agents who work from home can deduct the percentage of home utility and maintenance bills used to maintain and run the business. Use form 8829, "Expenses for Business Use of Home."  To top of page

Photo Galleries
My part-time job is a dead end, but it's all I can find CNNMoney profiles 4 of America's 7 million part-time workers unable to find full-time jobs. More
Cool cars from the LA Auto Show There are some of the standout vehicles on display this year at the Los Angeles Auto Show. More
American Dream homes: Prices in 10 cities How much does the American Dream home cost? From $2 million in Los Altos, Calif., to $65,000 in Cleveland, here's what you'll pay for a 4-bedroom, 2-bath house, according to Coldwell Banker's annual survey. More

Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer.

Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved.

Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved.

Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2014 and/or its affiliates.

Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer.

Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved.

Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved.

Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2014 and/or its affiliates.