As a freelancer, you’re probably no stranger to logging expenses. Whether it’s for your car, your office supplies, or your daily Starbucks habit, if you want to deduct it come tax time, you need to have a paper trail. But what about those expenses that don’t happen every day? Travel and lodging expenses can be a little trickier to manage, but with a little planning ahead, they don’t have to be. Here are a few tips on how to make sure you’re staying on top of your travel and lodging expenses.
#1 – Keep all of your receipts in one place.
This seems like a no-brainer, but it’s amazing how often receipts get lost in the shuffle. Invest in a small notebook or an app that allows you to keep track of all of your receipts in one place. That way, when it comes time to log your expenses, you won’t be scrambling to find everything.
#2 – Track your mileage.
If you’re driving for business purposes, make sure you’re keeping track of your mileage. You can deduct business-related mileage on your taxes, so it’s worth taking the time to log it. There are a number of apps that can help with this, or you can simply keep a running tally in your head (or on a piece of paper) as you travel.
#3 – Know what’s deductible.
When it comes to travel and lodging expenses, not everything is deductible. Make sure you know the rules before you start deducting everything under the sun—you don’t want to end up in hot water come tax time!Generally speaking, business-related travel and lodging expenses are deductible, but there are some restrictions. For example, if you’re attending a conference for work, the cost of registration is usually deductible, but the cost of meals is not. Do some research or talk to your accountant to make sure you’re clear on what you can and can’t deduct.
#4 – Keep careful records.
When it comes time to actually log your expenses, make sure you’re keeping careful records. Most businesses require that you submit receipts along with any expense reports, so scan or take pictures of all of your receipts and keep them stored electronically. That way, if anything gets lost in the mail (or in your inbox), you’ll still have a copy on hand.
#5 – Log everything as soon as possible.
Finally, one of the best ways to stay on top of your travel and lodging expenses is to log them as soon as possible after incurring them. The sooner you get into the habit of logging your expenses, the easier it will be to stay on top of them—and the less likely you are to forget something important come tax time!
🍩 Just the Sprinkles
Managing travel and lodging expense reporting doesn’t have set rules—different businesses have different policies and procedures when it comes to expense reporting—but there are some general guidelines that freelancers can follow to make sure they’re staying on top of things. From knowing what’s deductible (hint: not everything is!) To keeping careful records and logging everything as soon as possible after incurring the expense, following these tips will help ensure that come tax time, there won’t be any surprises when it comes to your travel and lodging deductions!