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Deductibility Decisions

July 25, 1999|KATHY M. KRISTOF

Confused about whether a trip might be tax-deductible? Here are a few recent decisions in tax court cases that might help clarify the matter:

* A librarian was able to deduct a trip to Spain, France and Morocco because she established that she consistently used materials gathered on the trip in her work. Her husband was not able to deduct any of his expenses for the trip because he could not prove it furthered his skills as a high school reading consultant.

* A college professor of physical education was able to deduct the full cost of a commercial tour to several foreign countries because he established that he spent the entire trip learning about the history of physical education.

* A college counselor was not able to deduct any of her expenses for a 227-day trip abroad because she spent only eight days visiting community schools and colleges. The primary purpose of her trip was thus deemed pleasure, not business.

* An individual tried to deduct part of a seven-day trip to a resort area, claiming the purpose of the trip was to attend a free investment seminar that would relate to his portfolio of stocks and bonds. The court said that because the seminar was just two hours of a seven-day trip, the principal purpose of the travel was pleasure, not business, and therefore none of the expenses were deductible.

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