How Do You Deduct Tips You Pay In Cash While Traveling (To the Bellboy, Cab Driver, Housekeeping, etc) on your Taxes?

I’m currently working in Detroit and just was thinking about when I’d have some time to change a twenty for a bunch of ones when a friend of mine posted on Facebook asking about how, for her taxes, she can deduct cash tips she paid out while traveling.

I realized that I didn’t exactly know the answer to this except that my usual way of deducting the tips I pay out to people in cash is mild guesswork. I know that when I travel for work I almost always tip housekeeping about $2-$3 a day. I rarely use a bellboy to bring my suitcases anywhere, but maybe would use one approximately 4 times a year in order to help me carry something or other up, and tip $2-$3 each time. I’d tip a shuttle driver about $3 about 8 or 9 times a year. Etc, etc.

Make sure you deduct your cash tips to hotel or transportation staff anytime you travel for work. The tips are actual valid deductions. If you’re self-employed, these are no-brainer bona fide travel expenses. But even if you’re not self-employed, if you end up traveling for work, the tips you pay in cash while traveling can absolutely be deducted if you’re itemizing deductions.

The deduction would be under ‘business travel expenses’ and the way you would note them in your records would be to write the tip amount on some form of receipt related to the trip in question. So, for example, if you tipped housekeeping and the bellman during a business trip to Detroit, you would get the hotel receipt (even if it was $0.00 because your company paid for the hotel) and write the cash amount paid on the sheet of paper. Then you would keep that for your records.

This may seem like nickel and dimeing, but these deductions are valid and can really add up, so you might as well take them if you travel a lot for work and are itemizing your expenses.

In our thirties, we should try our darndest to get better at doing our taxes the best we can, so we can keep the most money. We might as well- why lose the money you’ve worked so hard to earn?

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View from my hotel in Detroit. I’m here for 16 days, and a lot of tipping happens in all that time.

 

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How To Move In Your Thirties- Part 1

If you’re moving in your thirties, there’s probably something tumultuous happening in your life. At least that’s been my experience with moving. But then again, that was my experience in my twenties too. So I guess moving is usually accompanied by some kind of major upheaval, no matter what your age.

I hate moving. I hate it more than almost anything. I practically have to be dragged out of a place in order to leave it. Yet, I guess life is pretty good at dragging me out and keeping me moving, because I’ve moved 8 times since college (I actually had to count my moves multiple times because the number seemed so high). So I guess I should be quite the moving authority by now.

Since I’ve changed places so many times, I guess I have a couple of moving moves I use over and over, even if I don’t really feel like a total expert at moving because I hate it so damn much. I actually think that moving only felt harder in my late twenties and start of thirties, because I want so badly to stop and call a place home for as long as possible. So I’d like to share a few tips that will hopefully make your moves less harsh than mine have been…or at least somewhat smoother. Here’s a few I’ve learned the hard way:

1) The emotional part is hard- embrace it and move on

One of my moves happened because I went from living with roommates to living with a boyfriend. I loved my place with the roommates and was very attached to my huge room. My boyfriend at the time said to me: “But the room you’re in is only a box. It’s just a box of space. We’ll find a new box of space to live and we’ll make it home.” At the time, it felt like a harsh and almost cold thing to say. However, those words have stuck with me throughout my future moves. Where you live now is only a box. It was once cold and empty and it will be cold and empty again one day. You will find a new place to live and you’ll be the one to make a home for yourself. The place won’t be able to make you a home. It never could. it’s only a box.

2) Craigslist is awesome, but sometimes it helps to phone a friend

I love Craigslist. I used to use it for everything, even jobs (though now the jobs area seems to have become somewhat of a sketchy operation so I don’t recommend it anymore). I do still love the apt listings on Craigslist though, and I found all of my roommates through the site. For my last move, however, Jane actually gave me the number of her former broker, who was amazing and found me the place that I’m in now. I never would have found my apt without her. Let friends know you’re looking for a new place to live- a lot of times someone will have a recommendation, or a great broker, or at least know a friend of a friend who’s moving.

3. Get movers. Get movers. Get movers.

I can’t repeat this one enough. Moving is tough enough without having to drag your bed and dresser up 4 flights of stairs. This is one of those times where you need to throw money at the problem- budget it in. Even if you barely have much money (I’ve been very stressed about money in the past, but I still budgeted for movers because I’ve also moved without them before and it’s been AWFUL). Movers are worth every penny. Here’s a recommendation for my favorite movers if you’re moving to or within New York City.

4. If you’re renting, or even buying, especially in a bigger city, be ready to move fast

New York apartments are truly here and then gone in a New York minute. Other large cities are likely to be similar. If you really like the place, put down the deposit and say yes. I ‘ve actually looked at places with a check in hand for roommate situations. Shopping for homes is a little different with brokers and full apartments or houses, but you need to be ready to commit ASAP, or you can lose the place to someone else.

5. Make a top 5 list of what you’re looking for in a home.

Try to keep the list under 6 items tops. Your list should be what you REALLLY don’t want to compromise on in a home. There was one time where I was looking for an apartment and kept subwaying around to dozens of places and checking them all out in person. It was exhausting. A friend said to me, “you should narrow down what you’re looking for BEFORE you go and see the apartment. Try to make sure it has what you want as early as you can, and THEN go trek over and check it out.” This advice has helped me IMMENSELY…in fact, it might be the best tactic I’ve ever used to help me find a better apartment faster. Here’s my old list as an example:

  1. Must be near the subway (ideally under a 10 minute walk)
  2. Good size room (or good size full apartment if I was going the non-roommate route at the time)
  3. No mice or bugs (hard to figure out at first glance, but some places seem more likely than others)
  4. No crazy or bad roommates allowed (you can only use your best judgement with this one…until you eliminate having roommates entirely)
  5. Elevator building (I travel a TON for work and dragging suitcases up 3 flights of stairs 50 times a year SUCKS).                                                                         Then I had a bunch of preferences that weren’t deal-breakers, such as
  • Modern place preferred
  • Close to Manhattan preferred
  • Neighbors can’t hear me walking on floor preferred (I used to have a landlord that lived under me and would bang on the ceiling with a broom at night when I was walking to and from my desk. That was very unpleasant…I guess for both of us.

Anyway, I can go on and on with many more tips, especially ones for after you’ve moved and are figuring things out in your new space, so I’ll just call this part one and end it for now.

Meanwhile, I’ll simply link to Ikea. Because.

You’re welcome.

Ikea7-750

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