Travel, Entertainment, Gift, and Car Expenses
You may be able to deduct the ordinary and necessary business-related expenses you have for:
- Gifts, or
An ordinary expense is one that is common and accepted in your field of trade, business, or profession. A necessary expense is one that is helpful and appropriate for your business. An expense does not have to be required to be considered necessary.
This publication explains:
- What expenses are deductible,
- How to report them on your return,
- What records you need to prove your expenses, and
- How to treat any expense reimbursements you may receive.
Who should use this publication. You should read this publication if you are an employee or a sole proprietor who has business-related travel, entertainment, gift, or transportation expenses.
Users of employer-provided vehicles. If an employer-provided vehicle was available for your use, you received a fringe benefit. Generally, your employer must include the value of the use or availability in your income as pay. However, there are exceptions if the use of the vehicle qualifies as a working condition fringe benefit (such as the use of a qualified nonpersonal use vehicle).
A working condition fringe benefit is any property or service provided to you by your employer for which you could deduct the cost as an employee business expense if you had paid for it.
A qualified nonpersonal use vehicle is one that is not likely to be used more than minimally for personal purposes because of its design. See Qualified nonpersonal use vehicles under Actual Car Expenses in chapter 4.
For information on how to report your car expenses that your employer did not provide or reimburse you for (such as when you pay for gas and maintenance for a car your employer provides), see Vehicle Provided by Your Employer in chapter 6.
Who does not need to use this publication. Partnerships, corporations, trusts, and employers who reimburse their employees for business expenses should refer to their tax form instructions and chapter 11 of Publication 535, Business Expenses, for information on deducting travel, meals, entertainment, and transportation expenses.
If you are an employee, you will not need to read this publication if all of the following are true.
- You fully accounted to your employer for your work-related expenses.
- You received full reimbursement for your expenses.
- Your employer required you to return any excess reimbursement and you did so.
- There is no amount shown with a code “L” in box 12 of your Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement.
If you meet all of these conditions, there is no need to show the expenses or the reimbursements on your return. If you would like more information on reimbursements and accounting to your employer, see chapter 6.
If you meet these conditions and your employer included reimbursements on your Form W-2 in error, ask your employer for a corrected Form W-2.
Volunteers. If you perform services as a volunteer worker for a qualified charity, you may be able to deduct some of your costs as a charitable contribution. See Out-of-Pocket Expenses in Giving Services in Publication 526, Charitable Contributions, for information on the expenses you can deduct.