I am going to tell you what I plan to do on the issue of taxes and travel, but you should always consult a tax expert to decide what is right for you. In the past, I’ve not taken off travel for fear of getting audited. I have actually taken booksigning trips, gone to conferences and research visits and not taken any of it off. After thinking long and hard on this issue, I’ve decided that is just plain goofy. So what if they audit me? I have the receipts. I have the articles or books to prove that is why I visited the location. I am going to start taking travel.
For example, I recently visited Nashville, Tennessee. I plan to write several articles and set a book around this location. Although my husband went with me, I can take off my portion of the trip. What I can’t do is take off things that I did for fun while on the trip. For example, the hotel can be taken off. Our lunch out with friends can’t. Our dinner where we discussed my book could, but I probably will only take off my portion of it.
If you want to start taking off travel, it is probably wise to write out detailed notes on what each receipt is for and how it is business related. You won’t remember in a year or two and having those notes can help clarify any questions the IRS might have. I firmly believe that business related travel should be deducted from your income as a writer. It costs you money to travel and do that research, after all.