Preventing Tax Problems When Partners Travel

As a business entity, tax laws can be rather confusing. While some of the tax codes, as established by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), are straight forward, others can be complex. The professionals at Royal Legal Solutions understand how stressful filing taxes can be. We are here to help. When it comes to partner and employee travel, below are a few things that can help you get the most out of your business travel expenses.

Rules to Know

As an employer, the IRS has several rules you should know. However, we will focus on two of the most significant ones.

  • Working Condition Fringe Benefits Rule
  • Away-From-Home Rule

Following the Rules Earns You More

When you follow the rules dictated by the IRS, the cost of travel is almost entirely deductible. Meals, for example, are only 50% deductible. The tax-free reimbursement paid to your employee or partner is also not tax deductible. (However, the reimbursement is also not subjected to payroll withholdings or FICA.) If you do not follow the rules, however, everything is still deductible by you as the employer. The reimbursement, though, will need to be added on the employee’s taxable wages instead. This will cause the reimbursement to be subjected to both payroll withholdings and FICA. (The working condition fringe benefit rules dictate that items that are deducted from the employers taxes are not to be included as part of the employee’s salary.)

How It Works

As the employer, you are able to deduct business expenses that are considered to be ordinary and necessary. This includes job-related travel and lodging expenses. (Although, you should note, these accommodations cannot be extravagant or lavish!) An “accountable plan”, which requires the employee or partner to provide justification and adequate proof of all expenses during a job-related travel event, allows an employer to properly deduct these expenses. This means receipts must be supplied to the employer.

When You Don’t Follow the Rules

Everyone loses when you do not follow the rules. When reimbursements are made from the employer to the employee without an accountable plan, they are taxable. To deduct these items, the employee will need to file a miscellaneous itemized deduction (Form 1040). These deductions will need to be made under Schedule A on the form and will be subjected to a 2% AGI nondeductible threshold. As a result, some or all of the expense will not be able to be deducted by the employee. If the employee needs to file deductions for lodging and meals, they must be required by their job to be away from home for at least one night per the away-from-home rule. However, this is only true if the stay is for less than one year. Anything over than that will likely be unable to be deducted.

Royal Legal Solutions and You

At Royal Legal Solutions, our professionals can help you understand the IRS process as it relates to your business. We can help ensure you get the most out of your taxes. If you would like to schedule a consultation, please contact us today!

Last Updated: 
June 10, 2018

Scott Royal Smith is an asset protection attorney and long-time real estate investor. He's on a mission to help fellow investors free their time, protect their assets, and create lasting wealth.

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