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Maximize expense account deductions with the proper records

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Help your company maximize its business deductions by keeping comprehensive records of travel, entertainment and gift expenses. Keep your records organized in a diary or a statement of expenditures, supported by documentary evidence.

What to document

Documentary evidence can be a receipt, a paid bill or similar evidence sufficient to support an expenditure. Receipts are required to support all expenditures for lodging, meals and entertainment expenses of $75 or more. Transportation charges are exempt if documentation isn't readily available. But, receipts for air travel are required.

Get all the facts you need to bolster your company's expense account deductions. 76 Ways to Maximize Expense Account Deductions

How to Document

Documentary evidence ordinarily is considered adequate if it discloses the amount, date, place and essential character of the expense.

A receipt is the best evidence to prove an expenditure of more than $75. If you don't have the proper receipts, you can rely on other documentary evidence, as long as it's very specific. For example, you might document your meal expenses with a written statement signed by your dinner partners or, better yet, your waiter.

The records may be in any form, but they must be sufficient to substantiate the expenditures.

Find a comprehensive chart of what constitutes standards of proof for deducting travel, entertainment and gift expenses in 76 Ways to Maximize Expense Account Deductions

Here are a few tips on what to record for the three types of business expenses:
Travel:

  • The amount of each expenditure grouped in reasonable categories, such as oil and gas, or taxi fares.
  • Departure and return dates.
  • Destination of locality of the travel.
  • Business reason for the travel or the business benefit you derived or expect to derive.

Entertainment:

  • Date, location and type of entertainment that took place.
  • The reason for entertaining.
  • The occupation of the people entertained, including name, title or other designation.

Business Gifts:

  • Cost, date and reason for gift giving.
  • The occupation of the gift recipient, including name or title that firms up the business relationship.
  • Description of the gift.
In 76 Ways to Maximize Expense Account Deductions, you'll learn what's deductible and what's not, including:
  • Travel expenses in pursuit of a trade or business
  • Cost of operating and maintaining business vehicles
  • Business program lunches or dinners
  • Expenses for spouses
  • And much more!
76 Ways to Maximize Expense Account Deductions

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