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Fun Money

Mixing business and pleasure can pay off.

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This story appears in the August 2004 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Thinking about attending a business convention and perhaps taking a personal vacation afterward? It is possible to do this and deduct the cost of travel to a trade show or convention if you follow certain tax rules. First of all, the expenses cannot be ones that will be reimbursed by the company. In addition, the convention must be directly related to your trade or business.

Another deduction to look into involves meetings on a cruise ship. You can deduct up to $2,000 annually of the expenses incurred while attending a business seminar or convention held on a cruise ship. "You can get a deduction for this as long as the cruise is held on a U.S. ship, all ports of call are located in the U.S. or a U.S. possession, and you report the details regarding the cruise on your tax return," says Bernie Kent, a partner with accounting and professional services firm PricewaterhouseCoopers HR Services in Detroit. For example, the IRS wants a written statement signed by you giving the total number of days you spent on the trip and the number of hours each day you attended scheduled business activities. You have to include a written program of the business activities. You must also attach a written statement signed by an officer of the organization or the group sponsoring the convention that includes a daily schedule of business activities and the number of hours you attended the business activities.

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