Sunday, January 18, 2009
Spouse On A Business Trip
I am a Medical Physicist. I started part-time independent consulting in 2004 while still employed full-time. Consulting has increased and as to Jan 2008, I will be full-time independent (sole-proprietor). I just found your website--what a great resource, Thank You.
In Sept 2008, I attended a professional conference in Boston. My wife joined me on the last day and we spent the next several days in New Hampshire. I have employed her to handle finances and admin since 2006. Naturally we discussed some of the business aspects of the conference while we were in NH but that was not the purpose of the trip for her. Are any of her expenses deductible?
Is there a best mechanism to substantiate deductibility for spouse/employees for business conferences?
I assume from your email that your wife is your employee. If she is then you may deduct all the costs of your employee's travel expenses in the exact same manner as you may deduct yours as the employer. So, if Boston were the business portion of your trip and New Hampshire were the fun, or personal, portion, then you cannot deduct the New Hampshire costs nor could you deduct the cost of your employee's New Hampshire travel.
When you take an employee on a business trip you must be able to show the necessity of having that person with you. Whether it's to transcribe notes, schedule appointments, wine and dine associates, there must be a clear business reason for attendance. This is especially so if the employee is your spouse.
If your wife-employee handles only your recordkeeping and secretarial chores then you must find a reason for her to accompany you. For instance, is she a good researcher? Can she investigate primary source documents for you at the university's library for non-circulating material while you attend the conference?