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  • Turn Vacation into CME?

    Hey everyone. I'm starting some 1099 work soon and was wondering if anyone ever turned their vacation into CME? Basically deducting hotel/flight/food for yourself.
    There are websites if you google "traveling CME" such as American Seminar Institute.

    It appears you register where you are going and they send you the CME stuff or you download it. Then you send back exams and then they give you CME with dates and the country or area you went.

    Anyone had luck with something like this? Raise any red flags with the IRS? Any help would be much appreciated!

  • #2
    Your title says it all. If you're taking a vacation, you're spending $$ for personal purposes, not business. It is possible to take part vacation and part CME or travel to a nice location for CME. But the personal element is not deductible. Here is an example:

    CME in Hawaii, lasts 2 days. You take your spouse and stay 6 days.

    • The round-trip ticket for you is deductible, not for the spouse.

    • The additional cost for a 2nd person in the hotel room is not deductible, but that's usually pretty minimal.

    • Cost for additional activities sponsored by the CME provider are deductible at 50% (not for your spouse).

    • Cost for additional days beyond the CPE can be deductible if there is a business reason (i.e. the plane ticket to return a later day is less expensive).

    • Meals during the trip are deductible for you (50%) not for your spouse.


    A trip to Hawaii to take CME on the internet on the beach is not deductible. You can do this from your office at home. Yes, doing so is a red flag. I don't know exactly how American Seminar Institute handles CME but, according to your description, customers could easily be targeted if they were audited.
    Working to protect good doctors from bad advisors. Fox & Co CPAs, Fox & Co Wealth Mgmt. 270-247-6087

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    • #3
      Gosh, there are so many excellent, legit CME opportunities in great locations, with terrific educational programs mixed with skiing, beach, big city experience, outdoors adventure, foreign exploration, etc. that it seems ridiculous to try to game the system. This summer, I am doing a CME trip running the Colorado River 200+ miles through the Grand Canyon via the Wilderness Medical Society, with daily hiking and lectures on wilderness medical topics.

      In my subspecialty, there is an international meeting in Vienna this fall (cannot attend, unfortunately). The same meeting was in Barcelona last year. My hospital runs a yearly CME meeting in Park City in February. There are multiple courses each year in Hawaii, beach resorts in Florida and California, ski meetings in Colorado, Utah, and Whistler. With a little research and planning, you can go to so many great places for courses and meetings.

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      • #4
        I have used American Medical Seminars.  I do a review course, listening to audio cds.  I turn in the tests when I get home.  I get a certificate saying I did XYZ Review Course for 10 CMEs at Fancy Schmancy Hotel.  I deduct the travel expenses, the 5 nights associated with the course, half of my food, the CME fee.  I take my family and we stay afterwards, picking days that work for our family.  (This is the tough part of the "regular" courses, fitting a topic to a location and date.)  I have also used AMS when I met a friend who was attending a WMS ski conference, saving about $400 (back when that was worth the hassle factor).

        Would it hold up in an audit?  I can't see why not.

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        • #5
          This is my main question on whether it would hold up with an audit. Anyone here been audited before and it stand up?

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          • #6
            I assume lift tickets are not tax deductible, unless you can get them to hold the lectures at the top of the mountain.

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            • #7




              I assume lift tickets are not tax deductible, unless you can get them to hold the lectures at the top of the mountain.
              Click to expand...


              Now THATS an idea!

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              • #8
                Let's say you have a CME allowance. The benefit of getting reimbursed for a CME trip is that it is approximately a 50% coupon, assuming you are in the highest tax bracket. That sounds great, but is it essentially a wash when you have to pay $1000 for the meeting registration fee? You would not have had to pay that fee if you just went for vacation to that same place.

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