Writing off the Cost of a Cruise as a business expenses.

IRS Information on Travel Expenses http://www.irs.gov/taxtopics/tc511.html

Travel expenses for conventions are deductible if you can show that your attendance benefits your trade or business. Special rules apply to conventions held outside the North American area.

Deductible travel expenses while away from home include, but are not limited to the costs of:

  1. Travel by airplane, train, bus or car between your home and your business destination. (If you are provided with a ticket or you are riding free as a result of a frequent traveler or similar program, your cost is zero.)
  2. Using your car while at your business destination. You can deduct actual expenses or the standard mileage rate, as well as business-related tolls and parking fees. If you rent a car, you can deduct only the business-use portion for the expenses.
  3. Fares for taxis or other types of transportation between the airport or train station and your hotel, the hotel and the work location, and from one customer to another, or from one place of business to another.
  4. Meals and lodging.
  5. Tips you pay for services related to any of these expenses.
  6. Dry cleaning and laundry.
  7. Business calls while on your business trip (This includes business communications by fax machine or other communication devices).
  8. Other similar ordinary and necessary expenses related to your business travel (These expenses might include transportation to and from a business meal, public stenographer’s fees, computer rental fees, and operating and maintaining a house trailer).
  9. Shipping of baggage, and sample or display material between your regular and temporary work locations.

Their is more on the IRS Website.




The following information is from
How to Write-off the Cost of a Cruise
Posted on October 15, 2013, updated on January 9, 2015 by Mark J. Kohler
Complete Article here http://markjkohler.com/writeoff-cost-cruise/
Many taxpayers may think a Cruise ship is a great place to have their next “annual company meeting” and take a tax write-off for some education.

However, if you have noticed there aren’t many conventions and courses offered on Cruise ships any more. In fact, I don’t hold my of my annual Tax and Legal Wealth Workshops on a Cruse ship.

The reason being is that Cruise ships are difficult to deduct for valid business travel. The IRS has passed strict rules on their deductibility. Essentially, the IRS scrutinizes deductions claimed for attending a business convention where opportunities exist for vacationing. They don’t believe you’ll actually stay in the ballroom at the bottom of the ship all day when you could be lounging by the pool, practicing your putting on the miniature golf course on deck, or practicing your skills in the wave pool.

Now with that said, I still want my clients and students to maximize their deductions whenever possible and if you’re going on a Cruise with a ‘business purpose’, lets talk about the rules.

1. You need to be able to show that the convention, meetings or workshop on board the Cruise ship directly benefited your business. The days that have a ‘business function’ (In our case All Days will have some form of education/workshop or meeting) would be deductible…the days for vacationing or relaxing wouldn’t be a write-off.

2. If the ports are outside the U.S., the best option is to consider the ‘per diem rule’ that allows you to deduct up to 2x the maximum federal per diem rate, per day, on the Cruise. This may not seem like much, but for example in 2012, the maximum federal per diem rate was $367. Thus, if you were on a cruise for 4 days. The deduction per person would be $367 x 2 x 4, equaling $2,936.

3. Remember, the cost of travel to get to the Cruise is a different cost all together and can be considered a separate expense to travel to the Cruise ship convention in the first place.

4. Also, the cost of the actual education on the Cruise ship (not the cost of the Cruise) should easily be a deduction if it is directly benefiting your business. So if worse comes to worse and we can’t deduct the Cruise ship costs, we have a ‘fall back’ position to at least deduct the education or workshop fees.

5. As usual, food and beverage costs are subject to the 50% cost limitation and will apply if this expenses are separately stated in the Cruise or convention statement/invoice.

Obviously the trick is to consider the quality of the cruise and it’s cost, compared to the per diem rates. Thus, the “low budget” cruise lines may not be a problem if you are trying to get a full deduction.

Bottom line, meet with your CPA before you pay for the Cruise tickets if you are trying to get a deduction. Here’s a link to a great Radio Show where I discuss your options for deducting your travel: http://bit.ly/18gvZk6

Mark J. Kohler is a CPA, Attorney, Radio Show host and author of the book “Lawyers are Liars- The Truth About Protecting Our Assets”. and “What Your CPA Isn’t Telling You- Life Changing Tax Strategies”. He is also a partner at the law firm Kyler Kohler Ostermiller & Sorensen, LLP and the accounting firm K&E CPAs, LLP. For more information visit him at www.markjkohler.com.


This article is provided for informational purposes and is not intended to be construed as legal, accounting, or other professional advice.  For further information, please consult appropriate professional advice from your attorney and certified public accountant.

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*Price shown is member pricing, per person based on double occupancy in an Interior Stateroom booked before October 31, 2015