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New York Vacation Write-Off
3

New York Vacation Write-Off

New York Vacation Write-Off

(OP)
Just went to NYC for 5 days with the family. What an amazing place! I was totally impressed and humbled by the Architecture and Structural Engineering.
Part of my reason for wanting to go was to check out the structures. Is it reasonable to write off a portion of the trip? (I am a sole proprietor)
Maybe 1/2 of what it would have cost me to do the trip on my own?

Thanks

RE: New York Vacation Write-Off

Make a photo-log/write-up that you can use for marketing and you're IRS legal (no shots of the kids, however).

ps: Did you walk the Geo Washington Bridge? Sully just missed it.

RE: New York Vacation Write-Off

(OP)
Thanks Buggar.
We walked the Brooklyn Bridge but not the GW.

RE: New York Vacation Write-Off

Sight seeing doesn't seem like a legitimate business expense. However, the IRS didn't write the moral code. If you think you can make a case that would withstand an audit - go for it. you might just track the expense and check with your accountant when tax time comes around.

RE: New York Vacation Write-Off

I'm guessing that you're asking because you do NOT have an adequate record of what you did for work; had you planned it as a working vacation, you would have had at least one day of solid work-related photos, calculations, etc. Your kids will probably testify that they saw nothing that resembled you working.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

RE: New York Vacation Write-Off

(OP)
I wasn't considering it work - more on the lines of professional development.

RE: New York Vacation Write-Off

Heck, they have cruises for doctors where they take their families, go to a couple of seminars (no breathalyzer required), claim the pdh's (or whatever they call them) and I'm sure they deduct the whole thing.
It ain't cheating if you don't get caught. And if you can explain it, you're not caught.

RE: New York Vacation Write-Off

"I wasn't considering it work - more on the lines of professional development"

> Nevertheless, can you show a portfolio of photos, calculations, etc.? I'm guessing not.
> Will your children's social media show them complaining about having to visit and tour a bunch of boring buildings?

"It ain't cheating if you don't get caught"

That's just a sad commentary on current morality. It is cheating if you break the law; rationalization is the slippery slope. The reality is that you are indeed unlikely to get caught, particularly if you are not greedy; if you allocate 20% of your personal expenses, the dollar amount is likely too low to interest the IRS in chasing you. However you wish to slice it, you would be cheating the law.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

RE: New York Vacation Write-Off

Honestly? "checking out structures" is not professional development. I'd say good try, but nope.

Please remember: we're not all guys!

RE: New York Vacation Write-Off

(OP)

Quote (SLTA)

Honestly? "checking out structures" is not professional development. I'd say good try, but nope.
Honestly, I got alot more out of that trip than I do taking online PDH courses.
Would it be different if I was an Architect?

RE: New York Vacation Write-Off

(OP)

Quote (IRstuff)

pictures ?
diaries/notes ?
calculations ?
OK, I'll post my 100 pages of calcs. that determined 432 Park ave. will not fall down - sheesh!
You seem angry.

RE: New York Vacation Write-Off

XR250, you seem defensive.

You asked for opinions on whether or not you could write off a vacation as a business expense. I personally feel that what you are asking to do is not ethically acceptable, so that was my response. If you don't want others' opinions, then no need to ask.

If you really want a useful answer, call your tax preparer and ask.

Please remember: we're not all guys!

RE: New York Vacation Write-Off

(OP)
SLTA,

Not defensive, just don't understand why IRstuff thinks calculations would be required for this. I just took an online PDH class that I can write off that did not require calculations, notes or pictures.
There was certainly alot to see in New York regarding means and methods as there was construction going on everywhere. Check out my post in the main group about 432 Park. Learned something new about that. Many unique buildings I saw I Wiki'ed to learn their structural systems. If you have not been there, I highly recommend it.

RE: New York Vacation Write-Off

XR250....did the trip enhance your understanding of structures? Did it improve your appreciation for variation in structural design approaches and did it gain you information that you might apply to your practice?....if you can honestly answer positively, then the answer to your question is "yes", as a sole proprietor. You are not asking for licensing renewal continuing education credits, just whether it was something that you gained knowledge from that will help you in your profession.

RE: New York Vacation Write-Off

Maybe "Yes":

Quote (IRS Publication 463, Travel, Entertainment, Gift, and Car Expenses)

Trip Primarily for Business

You can deduct all of your travel expenses if your trip was entirely business related. If your trip was primarily for business and, while at your business destination, you extended your stay for a vacation, made a personal side trip, or had other personal activities, you can deduct only your business-related travel expenses. These expenses include the travel costs of getting to and from your business destination and any business-related expenses at your business destination.

Maybe "No":

Quote (IRS Publication 463, Travel, Entertainment, Gift, and Car Expenses)

Trip Primarily for Personal Reasons

If your trip was primarily for personal reasons, such as a vacation, the entire cost of the trip is a nondeductible personal expense. However, you can deduct any expenses you have while at your destination that are directly related to your business.

A trip to a resort or on a cruise ship may be a vacation even if the promoter advertises that it is primarily for business. The scheduling of incidental business activities during a trip, such as viewing videotapes or attending lectures dealing with general subjects, will not change what is really a vacation into a business trip.

www.SlideRuleEra.net idea
www.VacuumTubeEra.net r2d2

RE: New York Vacation Write-Off

suggest you call the IRS help line for a clarifications. If you truly believe your trip is legit, than nothing to worry about


Quote ( )

IRS Offers New Toll-Free Numbers to Assist Taxpayers 800-829-1040

RE: New York Vacation Write-Off

I cringed when I read the OP, but I decided at the time to stay out of it... then I changed my mind.

If you have to work hard at defending the reasoning, or if you need to ask if something like this should count, that should tell you something. Is it valid? IMHO, no... it was a vacation that you're now trying to get dual use out of. While I understand the desire to do so, a few minutes of reflection should tell you how much of a stretch that is.

I don't have respect for what those doctors do (counting cruise time as PDH), and I certainly don't gain any for other professions attempting to do similar. I'm sure you learned a lot of tidbits looking around, but to place that on the same level as professional learning is disingenuous. To that point, I think a lot of the material people use for PDH is less than useful, but that's another matter.

"Getting caught" implies it was unethical behavior in the first place, so take those comments appropriately...

Dan - Owner
http://www.Hi-TecDesigns.com

RE: New York Vacation Write-Off

(OP)
Thanks for everyone's insight. As stated in my original post was "Part of my reason for wanting to go was to check out the structures". - so it was not an after-the-fact decision.

I'm glad Ron chimed in to say "did the trip enhance your understanding of structures? Did it improve your appreciation for variation in structural design approaches and did it gain you information that you might apply to your practice?....if you can honestly answer positively, then the answer to your question is "yes", as a sole proprietor. "
I can certainly answer part A as wholeheartedly "Yes". Can I apply it to my practice - not sure as I mostly do small stuff.


RE: New York Vacation Write-Off

lets be realistic, regardless of what ron says (he is a good engineer, but not an accountant), you need to be able to defend this when you get audited. good luck, because any IRS auditor will likely discount this trip.

RE: New York Vacation Write-Off

(OP)
Possibly, but probably not worth it for the $300 or so in tax savings.

RE: New York Vacation Write-Off

Just an FYI, meals and business use of personal vehicles are 2 of the more common audit flags for IRS. Documentation, as others have said.

It is better to have enough ideas for some of them to be wrong, than to be always right by having no ideas at all.

RE: New York Vacation Write-Off

(OP)
I have heard that as well. When I worked out of my house, I never wrote off any of it as that is another red flag. Plus it is an accounting nightmare when you go to sell it.

RE: New York Vacation Write-Off

2
Wow, some of these responses are just dripping with judgement. I guess IRstuff does think the IRS wrote the code for morality. The tax code has nothing to do with morality. Do you think corporations evaluate the morality of what they write off? It's just a matter of whether the write-off is allowed or not. Period. Keep the record and ask the tax professional. All these pseudo accusations of cheating/lying are ridiculous. If you don't know the answer to a tax code question, you shouldn't just assume the question is a bad/immoral one as MacGyver alludes. Would you say the same thing about a legal or engineering question? Of course not. Because you don't have the illusion that these topics are moral in nature. Uncle Sam did a good job of brainwashing the middle and lower class portion of society about tax morals. Richer and smarter people are not fooled by it, though. As Donald Trump said, not paying taxes just makes him smart.

RE: New York Vacation Write-Off

"I guess IRstuff does think the IRS wrote the code for morality"

When did I even mention morality? Breaking the law has nothing to do with morality; it has everything to do with lawlessness. I was merely commenting that not getting caught is not equivalent to not breaking the law. I think that one should simply be clear in one's thinking; breaking the law is just that; anything else is rationalization.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

RE: New York Vacation Write-Off

(OP)
Maybe "IRstuff" should be written IRS-tuff :>

RE: New York Vacation Write-Off

XR250 LOL!

IRstuff - you stated "That's just a sad commentary on current morality".

RE: New York Vacation Write-Off

Go ahead and use a deduction. With the way things are going, expect an audit. In the many years I was self employed I never pushed it. No lunches were deducted, very few office expenses were used, etc. As I saw it there was no point in even getting close to something questionable. Result, never an audit.

RE: New York Vacation Write-Off

Audit trail.

you should have taken a professional engineer out to dinner (prefereably a friend!) and put it down to market research. copy of his business card helps

RE: New York Vacation Write-Off

(OP)

Quote (oldestguy)

Go ahead and use a deduction. With the way things are going, expect an audit. In the many years I was self employed I never pushed it. No lunches were deducted, very few office expenses were used, etc. As I saw it there was no point in even getting close to something questionable. Result, never an audit.
Actually, the way things are going, I would not expect an audit. Funding for the IRS is at an all time low. Also, if it simply ended up in my "travel" category. It would get lost in the noise. The only time this would likely come up is if I actually got audited either randomly or for another reason. That being said, as I stated previously, it likely ain't worth the $300 or so in tax savings.

I'm with you, however, I try to avoid writing off red-flag areas.

RE: New York Vacation Write-Off

So XR, you decided not to write off your vacation?

RE: New York Vacation Write-Off

(OP)
Yup, just not worth it for the minimal tax savings

RE: New York Vacation Write-Off

Didn't see mention of formal professional development requirements in the preceding discussion. Many professional bodies expect you to train yourself (and others) and report this activity every year to maintain registration status. You may find a basis for including this experience with whatever Pro Eng organization you belong to in that regard... the criteria are probably more slack than tax codes. And this sounds more appropriate, ethically, than turning a family vacation into a tax w/off.

STF

RE: New York Vacation Write-Off

(OP)
I actually thought about that as I believe my board allows things like that if you can somehow justify it.
Not worth it IMHO as it is simply too easy to get PDH's online instead.

RE: New York Vacation Write-Off

Well, _I_ could probably get away with that deduction, even though I don't do structural or architectural work for a living.

... but that's due to special circumstances.


For a long time, I computed my income tax due by means of a homemade spreadsheet, comprising the usual stuff and a couple of lookup tables.

It worked okay mostly, but it was also a pita because every year the threshold numbers changed, and pretty regularly the structure implied by the tax return's instructions also changed. ... so you had to read the whole damn set of instructions every damn year.

Sure enough, one year I screwed up.
... and overpaid my taxes.
... which I did not discover until I was reviewing my return in response to an audit request.

I sent in a polite letter, and an amended return.
... which made my tax due less, by more than $3000, so the letter requested a refund.

The refund arrived without comment in less than two weeks.

My accountant friend said that IRS auditors are ranked and motivated by how much _more_ money they can squeeze out of you, so that transaction surely put me on the
"Do Not Audit This Person Ever Again" list.

Mike Halloran
Pembroke Pines, FL, USA

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