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“Is it possible to write off my golf (fill in the blank – lessons, outing, club membership) as a business expense?” So glad you asked…………
If you are looking at the expenses to attend a golf event, the purpose must be ordinary and necessary for your trade or profession (just like all business expenses). An ordinary expense is defined by the IRS as one that is common and accepted in your industry. A necessary expense is one that is helpful and appropriate for your trade or business.  And now, under new tax reform – a round of golf with a client or prospect is no longer tax deductible at all!

In order for membership dues to be deductible, you must own a business, the membership dues must be paid to a professional, business or civic organization AND the organization’s main purpose is NOT to provide entertainment to their members.  The types of organizations that that qualify are: bar, medical and other professional organizations, trade associations, local chambers of commerce, real estate boards and business leagues, civic or public organizations such as the Rotary or Lions Club.

Even though Women on Course lifestyle events include golf, wine and travel with some networking or educational opportunities for business owners – it would need to be shown that the main purpose is business related.  Success Series events which are business workshops would be considered acceptable as tax deductible. 

“How about the costs associated with traveling to a golf weekend event?  Like the Women on Course trip to Tucson for example?” We all understand that expenses related to travel to a business conference is deductible. Mixing business with pleasure comes with additional rules. You may deduct your total travel costs as long as the main purpose of the trip was attending for a business conference. Be sure to spend more days on business than on pleasure. You cannot deduct lodging or meals for your personal days (unless you buy a reduced fare ticket requiring stay-over days – Yes, the rules get crazy). 
Note: Business Travel is highly audited because there is a lot of room for manipulation – the most common method is grouping personal travel expenses with business travel expenses. The primary purpose of the trip must be business (networking is business but we need to make sure that the people attending come from all over the country and there is a set program for most of the time). It will be important that everyone keep copies of all conference materials as support showing the schedule, etc. Sometimes when people attend conventions there are sponsored excursions (say to a winery……..why would I pick that?!). The excursion will hold up as a business expense – they are typically seen as a networking meet-and-greet. 
By Dawn McGruder, CPA, President of The McGruder Group based in Fairfax, VA.  She is a Board Member of Women on Course.  The 19th hole is her preferred place to conduct golf business!
"Is My Golf Expense a Business Write off?" - By Donna Hoffman - - Comments Off on Is My Golf Expense a Business Write off? Comments