Remodeling company owners can claim an income tax deduction for food, lodging, and travel expenses they and their employees incur attending trade shows and conventions.
The deduction for meals and entertainment is limited to 50% of the amount actually spent.
As an alternative, business owners can deduct a per diem amount. The standard per diem includes meals and incidental expenses, or lodging, meals, and incidental expenses. Even with the standard allowance, you must keep a record of the time, place, and business purpose.
No deduction exists for a spouse, even for the expenses for a spouse who provides services but who is not an actual employee. If a spouse accompanies the traveler, the amount it would cost for a single room is tax deductible, but not the added premium for a double room.
If you extend the business trip by a few days for a vacation, so long as the meeting remains the principal reason for the travel, that travel is deductible. However, only those expenses directly connected with the meeting or travel qualify as tax deductions. Travel to another location and personal overnight stays are separate. —Mark Battersby is a tax and financial writer and lecturer based in Philadelphia.