Saturday, March 19, 2016

Q.  We live in a RV full-time and I write and take photographs for travel destination articles for the major RVing and sailing magazines   I also write travel destination articles and RVing related articles and publish photos on my website which earns advertising revenue.

Everywhere we traveled in 2015 was a destination that I wrote an article about for an RVing magazine, and the same is going to be true in 2016 (the magazines have contracted me to write articles for 2016 about destinations we will be traveling to).

So, we aren’t idly traveling — we're traveling from one destination I write about to the next (a truly dream life!).

In 2015 we drove our truck about 25,000 miles total, and we towed our RV for about half of those miles getting from place to place (the rest of the miles were “personal” once we arrived at a destination, getting around town doing errands, etc.

My question is this:  can I “safely” deduct the miles of travel that took us from one destination to the next so I could write those magazine articles, if the miles were documented in a log book as you describe?

A.  In view of the court cases sited, I'm not positive there is a safe answer. However, if you had no RV but were working out of a stationery dwelling such as a house or apartment, there is no question your mileage would be deductible, as long as you returned to the place you started. This seems to be the big problem for RVers. Your travel is certainly legitimate and as long as you are not deducting any expenses of the RV, I see no problem in taking a deduction for mileage.

The safest course would be to make certain you have a "tax home" that you travel to and from. A sharp IRS  agent in an audit situation could declare you a "tax turtle" which means every destination to travel to becomes your tax home, and therefore travel does not exist. Don't you just hate how complicated our tax lives have become?

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