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Is Conference Attendance for My Job Tax Deductible?

Happy New Year everyone! Here is an interesting article about conference attendance and taxes I found on


Hope Venetta, Director of Professional Development for NASW-NC

 **Always remember to consult your tax professional about your personal tax situation.

By Ruth Mayhew, eHow Contributor

Getting the most out of employee training and professional development prepares you for promotional opportunities, advances your career and improves your industry knowledge. Some employers offer education, training and development within comprehensive employee benefit packages. However, if your employer does not absorb the cost of training and professional development activities or provide any type of subsidy, the expenses you incur for professional development could be tax deductible.

 Professional Association Conferences

Professional associations such as the American Bar Association, Society for Human Resource Management and the American Institute for CPAs hold annual conferences that include opportunities for professionals in those fields to earn continuing education credits, or CEUs, in a setting that fosters an exchange of ideas with colleagues. Architects, lawyers, certified human resources professionals, certified public accountants and health care providers attend association conferences to fulfill their continuing education requirements in the relatively short span of a weeklong conference. Maintaining licensure and certification is a condition of employment for many industry professionals. Expenses related to attendance at a conference where you participate in workshops and seminars for CEUs required by your job or position are tax deductible.

Trade Shows and Conventions

Other conferences — usually trade shows — offer industry professionals the first glance and opportunity to purchase new and innovative products to further their business; however, the expense to attend a trade may require additional documentation to support that your attendance is indeed work-related. If your business is an exhibitor providing potential customers with access to the newest products and services your company offers, it is relatively simple to document attendance that is considered tax-deductible.

 IRS Definitions

The U.S. Internal Revenue Service’s Publication 463 defines travel expenses by stating: “For tax purposes, travel expenses are the ordinary and necessary expenses of traveling away from home for your business, profession or job.” According to the IRS, there is little, if any, difference between ordinary and necessary expenses when the travel is work related. The IRS also explains the deductions related to attendance at conventions and conferences when it states: “You can deduct your travel expenses when you attend a convention if you can show that your attendance benefits your trade or business.”


If you intend to combine your conference attendance with your family vacation, travel expenses for your family members are not tax deductible. In addition, if you extend your stay past the end of the conference or convention, your expenses beyond the last day of the conference are not tax deductible. According to the IRS, you can deduct a portion of your vacation expenses if you spent time handling work-related business during your vacation. For example, if you go to Las Vegas for a week, and while you’re there, you spend two days during the middle of your vacation working with colleagues or attending a business-related meeting, the expenses you incur during those two days are tax-deductible.

Additional Considerations

Some employers have a maximum limit for daily spending while employees are on travel status, referred to as a “per diem.” The per diem rate is the amount your employer pays or reimburses. If your per diem rate is $100 and you spend $125 on reasonable charges for business entertainment, dinners and other expenses, you may be subject to what’s called the “50 percent limit” which means one-half of the amount over your per diem is tax-deductible. If your employer reimburses you for the entire cost of your travel, you should not take a tax deduction for costs related to your conference attendance.


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This entry was posted on January 7, 2014 by in Blog Posts by Topic, Professional Development/CE and tagged , , , .

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