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Multitask travel

Multitask Travel

Published on December 6th, 2021
Updated on December 25th, 2023

Owning your own RV is an opportunity to travel for a variety of reasons, including pleasure, business, and education. As you plan your next road trip, consider multitasking travel. Make a tax-deductible stop at a client’s on the way to your family vacation.

Stop along the way for learning opportunities. Here are my suggestions for multitasking travel:

RVing for Pleasure

RVing for pleasure

Many RVers camp because it is unrelated to what they do during the weekdays. RVers I know work in lumber mills, operate a pharmacy, run a back-hoe business, engineer a train, publish newspapers, work in city government, and are retired civil servants.

For some, RV camping is their release from the stresses of their day jobs. For others, it’s a controlled adrenalin boost as they use their RV rig to attend NASCAR races or take ATVs down new trails.

Most RVers camp primarily for fun and relaxation. We seek the best campsites, attend family reunions, travel to resorts or events, and awe at natural wonders. But we sometimes get into a rut, camping at the same campground year after year.

Fortunately, RVs give us options and keep us united with family and friends. They multitask.

RVing for Business

An RV office
An RV Office

Many pleasure campers find business reasons to help pay for their travel. They sell at flea markets, work as paid camp hosts along the way, use their photography skills to earn extra cash, or run an online business on the road.

They know that the IRS allows fuel and other travel costs as legitimate expenses for people who have established a for-profit business, no matter how small.

Even if still employed by someone else, many RVers can deduct travel expenses for visiting an employer’s clients along the way. They multitask.

RVing for Education

Your RV can be your school, too. Depending on what you or your family members do for a living, you can travel to North America to expand your knowledge of this great continent.

You can make stops especially to visit historical or cultural sites, to learn from national or state parks, or even to visit your alma maters. Many full-time RVers home-school their children with a travel trailer, motorhome, or other RV serving as their home, classroom, and school bus. Others use family RVs to attend the kids’ sporting events, academic competitions, or music programs.

There are many ways that a frugal RVer can expand travel horizons while reducing camping costs. Smart campers know that multitasking their travel is a practical way to get more fun for less money. That’s what frugal RVing is all about!

9 Questions Multitasking RVers Should Know

1. How do I stay connected to the internet while traveling in an RV? Most RVers use a combination of Wi-Fi extenders, cellular data, and satellite internet to stay connected. Investing in a good mobile hotspot and a data plan from a reliable carrier is often the best option for consistent internet access. Starlink may be your best option for boondockers/off-grid backpackers.

2. Can my RV be deducted as a business expense? Your RV may qualify for a business expense deduction if used exclusively for business purposes. If the RV serves both personal and business functions, only the business-related portion of expenses like depreciation, insurance, and maintenance can be deducted.

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3. How should I handle income tax while traveling in different states? Typically, you should file income tax in your state of residence. However, if you earn income in other states, you may need to file non-resident tax returns in those states. It’s crucial to maintain detailed records of where your income is earned.

4. Are travel expenses deductible when working from my RV? Travel expenses such as campground fees, internet charges, and utilities may be deductible if traveling for business. These costs must be ordinary, necessary, and directly related to your business activities.

5. Is it possible to claim home office deductions for my RV workspace? If part of your RV is used regularly and exclusively for business, it may qualify as a home office. Expenses related to this part of your RV, like a portion of maintenance costs and depreciation, can potentially be deducted.

6. What records do I need to keep for tax purposes while RVing? It’s important to keep detailed logs of your travel dates, destinations, business activities, income earned, and expenses. Receipts for all business-related expenditures, including campground fees, utilities, office supplies, and maintenance, are essential.

7. Does registering my RV in a different state affect my taxes? Registering your RV in a state with lower taxes or fees can be beneficial. However, your state of legal residence determines your income tax obligations. Understand the legal implications of changing your residency for tax purposes.

8. How does full-time RVing affect my state tax obligations? Full-time RVers often choose to establish residency in states with favorable tax laws, like Texas, Florida, or South Dakota, which have no state income tax. Meeting the legal requirements for residency in these states is necessary.

9. Can I deduct RV loan interest on my taxes? If your RV qualifies as a second home, which includes having sleeping, cooking, and toilet facilities, you may be able to deduct the interest on your RV loan as mortgage interest, similar to a traditional home mortgage interest deduction.

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