Your family vacation is definitely NOT tax deductible. However, there are tax breaks to gain if you combine your vacation with a business trip. It requires careful planning and self-discipline; you can’t go off to the beach when you are supposed to go to your business meeting. You must be meticulous with your record keeping. Incidental business activities during a trip, like handing the tour guide at Disney World your business card, will not change what is really a vacation into a business trip.

Your family members may accompany you on a business trip; however, their expenses are not deductible unless a bona fide business purpose exists for their presence. Bringing your spouse along because they are attractive and make a good family statement is not reason enough for the IRS to make their expenses deductible. A possible deductible example might be: A public speaker putting on a seminar may need someone to handle the business functions of the set-up and registration desk. A family member could very well be the person who could handle these duties in which case many of their travel expenses could be deductible.

If you have a business purpose for your travel, it can be deductible. This is an area that can be maximized when you do proper planning. For instance there was a 3 day event in my industry that I wanted to attend. The event had options of several locations all about the same distance from my home. I chose the Florida location because it was right where I used to live for many years. With the right planning, I was able to arrange that trip so I was not only able to handle my business at the event, I could catch up with my family and friends that still live in Florida. I felt like it was a vacation but it was a genuine business trip by the IRS guidelines and 100% deductible.

So if you are a business owner, with diligent planning, you never have to go on a vacation again!
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