It can be quite the coup to take a vacation and especially taking your employees on vacation and having it be covered as a business expense. It is not all that difficult if you have the right business, and can be very inside-the-lines if your business is related to the travel industry. While your total business costs might remain the same, your business expenses will be greater. This can be a nice way to reward employees (and yourself) while also being a taxable write off.
Part of the key to this can often be issuing 1099s to particular companies, such as diving companies–if part of your travel includes diving trips. This might not be all that common to certain dive shops or outfitters, and definitely check with your accountant before believing anything here to be the case for you, when it might be the case for others.
Traveling During Low Season
One of the most common themes we hear about in the diving community is taking trips during low season or basically during non Holiday times–specifically Christmas and New Years. It’s a tougher sell to the IRS that a company trip during Christmas is really for company morale or relationships. However, trips during other times of the year at least pass the sniff test. This is certainly not a must, but a helpful factor. Consult this page to help figure out other ways you might could write them off.
If you happen to conceive of a legal way to get a diving trip or any other trip to be part of your regular company expenses, then you need to issue a 1099 to any vendor where you paid them more than $600. This completes the loop of it being a business expense. There will be lots of expenses throughout a trip that do not break the $600 threshold, such as money for restaurants, but just keep a hold of those for travel expenses even thought they won’t have a 1099 issued. There are various 1099 software companies out there that have the capability of issuing a large amount of 1099s in programmatic fashion to help reduce the headache of issuing all of these.
Remember to first check with your accountant before you plan or book anything to see what might qualify. And hey, some businesses might not be able to take write-off diving trips, but maybe going snow skiing or visiting a big city is in range. There are always lots of ethical and legal options if you just take the time to look. Who knows, your company may benefit from it.