Let Uncle Sam Help Pay For Your Vacation
Catch A Tax Break For Staying Over Saturday Night
If you’re a frequent business traveler, you know there’s a premium placed on staying over at your destination on Saturday. Airlines and hotels give lower rates if your visit includes a Saturday night than if you squeeze in a quick business trip during the week and return on Friday.
If the discount is worthwhile, arrange to stay until Sunday and spend the extra time on rest and relaxation. Not only do you get a chance to recharge your batteries, you can save money. To top it off, the cost of staying an extra day is deductible as a business travel expense.
EXAMPLE: You plan to fly out on Thursday for business and take the red-eye back on Friday night. The round-trip air fare costs $1,000, but if you return on Sunday morning instead, the fare is only $200. Similarly, the hotel normally costs $200 a day, but the rate for Friday and Saturday is reduced by 50 % if you stay Saturday night. Assuming that you spend $100 on meals each day, a two-day business trip would cost you $1400($1,000 airfare, plus $200 Thursday night lodging, plus $200 meals).
But if you stay the extra day, your total cost is only $900 ($200 air fare, plus $400 lodging, plus $300 meals). So you save $500 by slightly revising your plans. Even better, the IRS has ruled that you can deduct lodging costs and 50 % of the meals for all three days if you’re staying over to get a discounted airfare. It doesn’t matter if you spend the extra day playing tennis or sightseeing, and you don’t have to hold any business meetings.
THE ONLY CONDITION: The discounted rate, plus the cost of the additional lodging and meals, must be less than the lowest available fare (not including a Saturday stay-over) when you booked the flight.