Your travel expenses to out-of-town conferences can be deducted. Find out the way to correctly claim them.
Q: I plan to drive to an out-of-town medical convention and will have to stay in a motel 2 nights each way. In addition to the nights spent at the convention itself, how many other nights does the Internal Revenue Service allow for travel deduction?
A: IRS guidelines permit you to deduct ordinary and necessary expenses incurred traveling to and from out-of-town locations for continuing medical education (CME), as long as they are not lavish (5-star) accommodations. Regardless of whether you travel with another person, only the single room rate is deductible. The purpose of driving cannot relate to personal aspects of the trip (seeing friends or relatives on the way, for example) if these aspects result in a greater cost than would flying. Any non-CME related activities would not be deductible (seeing a play, for example). Meal costs are 50% deductible, including during the road trip, as long as they are not lavish.
The author is a tax attorney in Norristown, Pennsylvania, and a Medical Economics editorial consultant. Send your money management questions to email@example.com. Also engage at www.twitter.com/MedEconomics and www.facebook.com/MedicalEconomics.