When it comes to my professional screenwriting clients, the most pressing concerns about travel have to do with traveling for research. Everyone wants to know what travel expenses can a writer deduct?
I know that in the age of COVID, you probably aren’t traveling as much as you used to. However, with vaccinations starting to take effect, there is a good chance you will be traveling again by the end of the year.
Once we are back up in the sky and on the road, you may ask, what about travel for research is tax deductible?
If you are a professional writer — meaning you make your living by writing — you are considered a business by the IRS. And business travel — such as for conferences and seminars, film premieres, production meetings and research — is allowed.
That’s good news. Better news is that the IRS doesn’t limit where you can travel for business. Exotic and faraway locations are included. No matter where you go, it is very important to maintain good records when you travel and document a clear business purpose of your travel.
Typical travel expenses include airfare or other transportation costs and lodging expenses. While you are away, as with any other business-related meal, you may only deduct 50% of the cost of those meals.
Travel costs for spouses and children are non-deductible since they are not involved in your writing business. If you want to travel with family, I recommend that you book your travel for yourself from your business account (airfare, transportation and lodging). Airfare for your family should be booked with your personal funds. Once again, I can’t stress enough how important it is to keep your business and personal travel expenses separate.
I’ve also found that many of my clients are hesitant to combing business travel with a family vacation. However, travel to and from the location for the writer is deductible, as is hotel accommodations for the days you are working. As with anything, keep very accurate records of your business versus non-business travel days and we’ll be able to help you reflect that in your taxes.
I am sure you can’t wait to travel again. Soon you will be able to do it with peace of mind in regard to your health AND your taxes!