When it comes to claiming travel in your business it helps to think of yourself as a groveling employee working for some prickly boss in a shimmering corporate tower far, far away. Just imagine the mounds of paperwork you’d have to submit to have your business travel expense approved … and then go ahead and put something similar on your own files every time you take a business trip:
– the main reason for the travel
– travel plan & itinerary
– forecasts of the income you expect to earn from the trip
- – emails, dairy notes & phone records (before, during and after the travel)
- – a record of the business contacts visited
- – business conducted on the trip
- – timesheets while out of town
- – paperwork claiming travel expenses reimbursement
- – tax invoices and receipts
It’s all about pre-planning … when it comes to claiming business travel
Having evidence of pre-planning is essential because spontaneously dropping into a Porsche showroom (if you sell cars roadside back in NZ) won’t magically turn your holiday into a business trip (and nor will doing a bit of work while you’re there).
Adding holidays to business trips is absolutely okay
Tacking a holiday onto your business trip is absolutely fine but keep track of the personal days because your total claim needs to be apportioned for the number of days on business (unless the holiday is completely and utterly incidental and then you get a full claim).
Taking family and friends on your business trip
Sorry, but taking friends and family on your business trip isn’t deductible unless you can wrangle it so that your spouse accompanies you to an overseas conference where you’re the delegation leader or key speaker for a professional association like a group of Doctors, Lawyers or Engineers.
Meals on business trips (claiming business expenses while out of town)
Good news here because meals, while out of town on business, are fully deductible but watch out because the moment you pay for someone else (even a client or supplier) you’ll only get away with claiming half the meal as entertainment.
Hot Accounting Tip: Accidentally claiming overseas travel costs in your NZ GST Return is a big no, no!
You’ll find even more great advice in our article: The Idiots Guide to getting an IRD Audit