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I feel the need to take a step back from the everyday demands of the projects I'm working to evaluate where I want to go with my business and my career. It's hard to make myself take the time to do that when I know I can sit down at my desk and be billable.

Do any of you set aside time to get away and do business planning, or is that just a luxury for corporate types? (I mean that the getting away part is a luxury, not the planning part.)

If so, how do you handle it? How far away from home do you go? Overnight or just a day trip? Is it a deductible business expense?

Also, what if your spouse tagged along? Would that still qualify? (I really would like to get away and do planning, and I would appreciate her input about my career choices. But, if it was near an outlet mall, and my wife could shop while I was thinking deep thoughts....)

Thanks!
Bob
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Well, I've worked for a large corporation that routinely sent large groups of people on team-building exercises and/or retreats. These included ski trips, charter sailing cruises, skydiving, habitat for humanity, resorts, and so on. IIRC, the trips usually lasted one to three days and were usually within a few hours driving distance. These trips were for the rank and file. I don't know what, if anything, rarified layers of management did.

I also know of smaller companies that would take the entire company and spouses on a week-long cruise once a year. I don't know how the spousal arrangements were made.

Because these trips were periodic and applied to much of the companies' employees, I have to assume that these were treated as routine business expenses for tax purposes. Admittedly, the retreats featured meetings, speeches, group activities, pep rallies, awards ceremonies, or what have you.

I haven't checked the IRS regulations in a while. My recollection is that the IRS frowns on this sort of thing. But I also somewhat figure that this is one of those things that huge corporations with lobbyists can get away with, but small fry like ourselves maybe run a greater risk.


-Brian
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Oh, one more thing... I think my dentist sent his entire staff to a special dental training and certification program sometime in the last year or so. The training center was located in Las Vegas. It's probably a good place to locate a training center, thanks to cheap airfare and hotels, etc. But I still have to assume that was some kind of boondoggle. :-)

If you're creative enough, it can probably be done within the letter of the law.

-Brian
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Is it a deductible business expense? ... Also, what if your spouse tagged along?

How are you going to differentiate (to the IRS) all this deep thinking from a vacation?

How do you prove you were thinking deep thought while skiing down the slopes?

I'm sure it can be done, but I'd talk to a CPA or bookkeeper first.
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Dunno if this helps, but both my parents are self-employed. Back when I was a kid, they had a company, CTC. We'd routinely go out for dinners that would be deducted. I'd sit and doodle on some paper or otherwise entertain myself, and they'd talk business. However, I don't know if the fact that they both worked for the company is a big deal here or not.

Kaiti
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