Traveling for Business

Hotel in Spain

I love being in business for myself. One of my favorite aspects of being self-employed is that business travel is deductible from my business income. As long as the primary purpose of the travel is business, with a few exceptions, all my travel expenses are deductible. I have visited many US destinations on business, next, I need to find clients in other parts of the world so I can travel there! Is there anyone in Spain who needs a U.S. tax return prepared?

The rules for business travel are fairly simple. If the primary purpose of your trip is business, you can deduct all your expenses to get to your destination, and all your food, lodging, and incidental expenses related to the business purpose of the trip. So for example, if I go to San Diego for a tax seminar and spend 4 days in the seminar, and 2 days visiting friends, then my airfare is 100% deductible, as well as my lodging and food while I was attending the seminar.

It is important to understand that “Primary Purpose” is determined by how much time you actually spent on each activity, not your main reason for taking the trip. So if I had spent 4 days visiting with friends, and 2 days in seminar, then the primary purpose of my trip was visiting friends, and my airfare and other transportation costs are not deductible. I can still deduct lodging and meals for the 2 seminar days and other direct seminar expenses. For travel within the United States, transportation costs are all or nothing. In the example above, I spent 1/3 of my time on business, but I cannot deduct 1/3 of my transportation costs.

For travel outside the United States, the rules are a little different. When traveling for business outside of the United States, if the primary purpose of your trip is business, you can still deduct all your business related lodging food and incidental expenses, but you have some non-business days, then you MUST prorate your transportation costs and the non-business percentage is not deductible. And just like for domestic travel, if the primary purpose of your trip is not business, then none of your transportation cost are deductible. The good news is, for business travel purposes, travel days, certain weekends, and some holidays are counted as business days, even if you are not attending a business event on those days.

Now back to my travel to Spain. When I find my perfect client in Spain, I am going to want nice lodging at an affordable price. While searching the internet I found a site for Holidays in Spain. There I found that Granada, in the south of Spain, is one of the best tourist destinations. In Granada you can find the Alhambra, a Moorish Citadal and palace. Seville, is the artistic, cultural, and financial capital of Southern Spain. In Seville you can find City’s Cathedral which is one of the largest of all Medieval and Gothic cathedrals. And in Malaga you can find Gibralfaro castle which provides stunning views of the city.   I think it might be nice to attend a tax seminar in a nice Spanish Castle!

Resources:

Seville Hotels   Granada Hotels   Malaga Hotels

As always, this article is intended as just general information and may not apply to your particular tax situation. Please consult with a tax professional (preferably an Enrolled Agent) about your particular tax situation.

Teach Credit…Earn Rewards

By: Tisha Kulak

It may sound harsh but many parents must think they are crazy for getting their college student a credit card. On one hand, it serves as a security blanket especially for kids traveling far to go to school. On the other hand, it seems to be the perfect recipe for disaster. Granted no parent wants to set their kid up to fail, and providing them with a credit card doesn’t necessarily need to be a set up. As long as responsible spending and budgeting is explored and discussed at great length beforehand, a student having a credit card can benefit both students and parents.

Credit cards created especially for the college crowd are many. Anyone considering such a card should obviously do their homework prior to any application and check out all the fees and requirements that go along with the card. That is obviously a crucial first step. However, sometimes the benefit programs that coincide with the card benefits are overlooked. The programs are varied but they can actually save you money depending on your spending habits and personal needs. Generally most cards designed for college students have an attractive introductory package that includes 0% financing for a specific term but look beyond the introductory period when making a choice. Read all of the fine print and see how each card compares to the others before making a commitment to one company.

In a nutshell, there simply seems to be a credit card designed for almost everyone. College students are no exception. Some of the benefits connected to a student credit card may not always applicable to every college student, so it pays to look at all of the options available. For example, a student who travels home via airlines can research cards that offer free airline miles which can be redeemed for free flights back home or back to school. Some credit cards have an on-going point reward system which can earn free gift certificates, redemption options for special events, and even cash back bonuses. It is especially important that all student-related credit cards be investigated because many are upping the ante and offering academic rewards. Students who acquire and maintain a specific GPA can earn additional credits based on their performance in school. For the most part, students need only to make purchases at common places such as bookstores, supermarkets, movie theaters, gas stations, and the like in order to earn the rewards.

Of course with the ups come the downs. Students, like many others, are often inundated with floods of pre-approval offers and marketing ploys aimed at nabbing attention for kids who are setting out on their own. However if properly utilizing common sense and practical spending habits, credit cards are not the root of all evil and do have their benefits. Researching different credit cards and the companies who sponsor them can help make more informed decisions when it comes to choosing a good credit card for the young adults going to college.

Tisha Kulak is a writer for www.creditorweb.com, where she writes about student credit cards; and responsible credit card use.

Get Your Children in Debt

Rob, over at Home Business Blogger has a great post on “Get Your Children in Debt to Keep Them Out of It”. In his post he points out the importance of parents teaching their kids about debt at an early age. Today you can’t depend on the schools or anyone else to teach your kids how to handle money, it is up to the parents. But it seems many are not doing a very good job.

According to MSNBC many students are leaving college with over $10,000 in consumer debt (not including student loans), and credit scores so low that it will limit their ability to buy a home, or even rent a car. Many are putting the blame on the credit card companies for providing credit cards to students with little or no income. Some are suggesting that Congress should step in and provide oversight. I disagree. It is the responsibility of the parents to teach their children about debt, and it is the responsiblity of the adult student to manage their debt properly.

So parents, do your children a favor, and get them in debt while they are young, and before it will affect their credit score!

I have a Favicon!

  Just a quick note, I finally have a favicon for me site…and an animated one at that. (Take a look up in the address bar if you don’t know what I am talking about!)

If you want a favicon, you can create one for free at chami.com.

Free Online Tax Filing

pic of tax forms If you are going to do your taxes yourself, (and I can think of a lot of reasons why you should not!) why pay for tax preparation software? There are a number of online sites that will allow you to prepare and efile your federal tax return for free…if you meet certain criteria.

Side note:If you don’t qualify for free tax preparation, and you don’t want to pay me to do your taxes, at least click on the link below to receive both Turbo Tax and Quicken for as little as $30! This offer is good until April 15.

Buy Quicken and TurboTax Bundle & Save up to $25 + Free Shipping!

Now back to doing it for free.

If your gross income for 2007 is under $54,000, you may qualify to have your taxes filed for free with a number of different online tax preparation websites. If you need a state tax return done, most of the sites will include state tax preparation for a small fee. All sites include free e-file.

I will highlight a few of them here, but you can see the whole list at the IRS website. It is important to note, I am not providing links to the companies, because to get the best free file deal you need to access them through the IRS website. Going directly to the company website may cost you money!

A few of the big name companies are there, including Turbo Tax, Liberty Tax Service, and H&R Block’s Tax Cut. Names familiar to professional tax preparers include Tax Act and Tax Slayer, and FileYourTaxes.com.

In addition to free filing of your federal return, Liberty Tax Service offers state return filing for $9.95 each. If you don’t qualify for the free file, the federal return is also just $9.95

Turbo Tax is a little more restrictive, with free Federal Tax Preparation for only those with incomes below $30,000 or Active Duty military. They do offer free state filing for some states. If your state is one they don’t do for free, the cost is $9.95. They have a variety of options for those that don’t qualify for free filing starting at $14.95.

The H&R Block free tax site offers interview only service. To include a state return is $29.95.

In some of the lesser known companies there are some good deals. Online taxes has state returns for just $7.95. If you don’t qualify for the free file Federal taxes are also just $7.95. They also offer free telephone support.

Tax$imple is also a good deal with $7.95 state returns and if you don’t qualify for the free file the federal return is just $9.95.

Why are companies offering free filing? In addition to being listed on the IRS website, they are hopeing to sell you “value added services”. Often the free filing versions are very stripped down models of their paid filing products. They hope that once they get you started on your tax return you might decide to pay for some extra services.

Research the companies carefully to choose the firm that is best for you. Note that some companies may have slowdowns during high traffic times, particularly in early February and April. Don’t wait until the last minute to file your return. Chances are good that all these sites will have heavy loads on April 15. You don’t want to be in the middle of preparing your taxes when their servers go down! Make sure to make a copy of your tax return, and keep a backup on your computer.

Would you like to have your tax returns double checked? If you prepared your returns yourself, or even if you had them prepared for you, get a second opinion. I will review your tax return for errors, and offer tax saving advice for future returns starting at just $29.95. Your information is completely confidential and will never be used for any purpose other than the services you have requested. For tax return review just email your contact information and your tax return as a PDF attachment to: taxreview@mycfoonthego.com . I will get back to you with an exact price for review plus information on how to send payment within 2 business days. Satisfaction guaranteed. For more information on Kathleen please click the About Kathleen tab at the top of the page.


Come On In and Join the Discussion!

I want to spend a moment and encourage all of you to take a moment and check out my forum. In the forum we talk about all things relating to money and business.

Here are some examples of the discussions going on.

Yuppy wrote a wonderful post on those quick tax loans.

…Want your money today? If approved for the Instant Refund Anticipation Loan (IRAL), you can get your $200 tax refund check today for only $77.23! (This includes a $20 check processing fee, and a $27.28 finance charge at 481% APR.) Oh, did I forget to mention that you will also have to pay a $29.95 Refund Account Fee? …

Click here to read Yuppy’s post.

Phidippides had an interesting experience with Google Adsense.

A warning if you are trying to gain money by putting ads on your web site. I had Google Adsense on a few of my sites, one of which was really popular at a particular point in time. I had gained a decent amount of money that Google should have paid out. When it came time to pay, though, I got a letter from Google claiming that I had somehow violated the terms of service. I appealed that decision but they maintained that I had broken some rule. All the money that I had earned in my account? Poof!

Click here to read Phidippides’ post.

I am also going to start a board just for Entrecard discussion. There does seem to be a lot to talk about, and if I really like your post, I might just buy you a beer!

Click here to enter the forum.

Entrecard and Taxes?

entrecard image

I’ve just recently become involved with Entrecard. Entrecard is a networking site for bloggers that involves “dropping” your card on websites and having cards dropped on yours. Sort of like the calling cards of old. I have found Entrecard to be a great marketing tool and it has already brought tons of traffic to my site.

Thanks to Entrecard I have also found plenty of interesting sites that I might never have found otherwise! I’ll be featuring some of them in another post, in my newly added Off-topic category!

Now on to taxes. At Entrecard you earn “credits” (some are now calling them entrecredits) by dropping your card on sites, and by selling ads on your site. You can then use those credits to buy ads on other sites. Simple enough so far. But a whole economy is springing up where people are buying and selling other goods and services using entrecredits. Today people are selling advertising, web consulting, and even cookie recipes using entrecredits. That brings up an interesting question, are these taxable events? Do the sellers need to report taxable income when all they have received are entrecredits? The answer is a surprising probably! Continue reading “Entrecard and Taxes?”