Another thing that has really helped me is to bring zip-lock bags with me to fitness conventions – one for each day. The freezer bags have a little white banner on them so you can write on them and I write the date with a Sharpie or other permanent marker.
At the end of each day, I get out all of my receipts for that day for stuff I’ve bought, whether by cash or by credit card. Then, if it’s not clear, I circle the expense or expenses that are business related and write what they are. The reason this is important is that sometimes the product that you bought isn’t going to match up with what’s going to show up on your VISA statement; your Bender Balls were probably sold to you by Savvier Fitness, and your sand bells were purchased from Hyperwear. So if you lose your receipts and just go through your VISA statements at the end of the year, you might not know what the heck you bought! Also, I sometimes buy a mix of personal and business items at the trade show exhibitors, so I circle the business items and don’t circle the gifts / souvenirs / personal supplies.
After I’ve gone through all of my receipts, I summarize on a post-it note what I bought.
Equipment – $125
Shoes – $60
Food – $60 (important to keep separate from other stuff)
The post-it goes on the top of all of the receipts and the receipts go into the zip-lock. Done!
At the last day of the trip, I have a ziplock for my hotel bill, the parking stub for the airport parking, and anything else I bought on the way home that was business related. Then I print out the email that shows the days and price of my airline flight.
That completes my little record-keeping system for fitness business travel.
Martin nailed it. Hire a professional CPA. A good CPA will save you more money and headache’s than their fee is worth. Also, don’t stress taxes. Everything can be done retroactively. Fees and penalties are minor. The IRS can be a pain in the butt, but they can also be helpful.