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If you've traveled to conduct business over the past year, have you deducted all travel expenses?
by Susan Ward
While you can't usually claim any of your living costs as business expenses, expenses you incurred while you were away from home if your travel was related to earning business income are legitimate income tax deductions. Once again, any and all such small business tax deductions need to be documented with receipts.

You may, for instance, be able to deduct the cost of accommodation, or the cost of taxis or other transportation as an income tax deduction. You may be able to claim the costs of meals, beverages, and entertainment as well, although you won't be able to deduct their full cost.

The general rule for tax deductions related to meals and/or entertainment is that you may deduct up to 50 percent of the cost of meals and/or entertainment, or "an amount that is reasonable in the circumstances, whichever is less" (Business and Professional Income Guide, CRA).

Conventions are another income tax deduction you don't want to overlook. You can deduct the cost of attending two conventions or conferences a year as a business expense, as long as the conventions you attend are directly related to your business ( so a Fringe Festival or the Grey Cup won't count, but a trade show might).

If the cost of the convention doesn't include the cost of meals, then the general rule applies, and you may deduct up to 50 percent of their cost. If the cost of the convention does include the cost of meals, beverages, and/or entertainment, and these aren't shown separately on your bill, then calculate the cost of these by subtracting $50 for each day these are supplied from the total amount of the convention cost. Sorry - food and beverages don't include incidentals such as coffee or doughnuts!!