I sell items to my school where I teach as part of my nonprofit business. Can i write off the miles and operating expenses of a car if I use it as part of my nonprofit business to go Back and forth daily to my school where I teach?

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I sell items to my school where I teach as part of my nonprofit business. Can i write off the miles and operating expenses of a car if I use it as part of my nonprofit business to go Back and forth daily to my school where I teach?

I Work as a teacher at a school.
I sell items to kids in the school and funds go
to one of our campus clubs.
I Would like to be able to use my car as a tax
deduction/write-off every day since i do
business with the school.
I dont sell tiene EVERY day, however, but Would
still like to write off my car expenses even on
days that I dont sell any items. Can I do this,
by ATTEMPTING to sell daily, even though I
might just sell something two days a week out
of 5, for ExamplE.
I have an EIN number.

Asked on August 5, 2017 under Business Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

You can "try" to do anything you feel you can defend if audited, but under the circumstances, trying to deduct 5 days/week when you sell 2 days a week is, in my opinion, an overreach; if audited, there is a good chance it would be disallowed, because you cannot show a strong-enough nexus between your sales activities and the car usage, especially in light of the fact that you do drive there everyday for your regular job. If you did not go there anyway, then trips to try to sell, even if unsuccessful, would be deductible; but since you have to go to work in any event, your deductions for the sales business should be limited to when you do sell. It is recommended to not try to deduct 5 days/week for traveling to location you go to anyway for your "day" job.
(My father, by the way, was a CPA with 50 years experience in small business accounting. What he always said was that in his experience, the IRS looks at you when you get overamibitious in your deductions; it is overreaching that tends to trigger scrutiny. As he put it, pigs get fed, hogs get slaughtered.)


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