Keeping Records of Travel, Meal, and Entertainment Expenses

If you take deductions for travel, meal, or entertainment expenses and they are challenged or questioned by the IRS, you must have either written evidence, or written evidence from another person, to substantiate your deduction claim. Moreover, since the IRS tends to scrutinize such deductions closely, your travel, meal, and entertainment expenses, if examined, will generally be disallowed unless you have records that satisfy certain statutory and regulatory requirements.

What types of records of travel, meal, and entertainment expenses will comply with IRS rules?

In the event of an audit, the IRS generally requires that you have two types of evidence to back up your deductions for expenses. These are:

  • A written record (this can be in the form of a diary, accounting book, or other written record) that details the time, place, and business-related purpose of the travel expense or entertainment expense

  • Documentary evidence, which can include itemized payment slips, receipts, or other written records showing you paid for specific travel or entertainment expenses that cost $75 or more

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