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Is human error covered as business expense in income tax return?

Jersey City, NJ |

I live in NJ and work in OH. I work from home most of the times and travel to OH (for work related meetings once in a while). Last month, I made a mistake in making travel arrangements. I booked 2 tickets by mistake. Obviously I could travel only on one ticket. Can I still claim the 'wasted ticket' as business expense on my tax returns?

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Attorney answers 3

Best Answer

I am not an accountant - however, I help people with their tax debts everyday. Life is not perfect, errors are made - and are legitimate business expenses. If I purchased ink for a printer, and it turned out to be the wrong cartridge, and I could not return it - wouldn't I be able to deduct that as a legitimate business expense? Of course. Same thing with the wasted ticket.

That's my opinion. I have never argued that to the IRS though.

I hope this helps.
Steven A. Leahy

Please note that the above is not intended as legal advice, it is for educational purposes only. No attorney-client relationship is created or is intended to be created hereby. You should contact a local attorney to discuss and to obtain legal advice.


This is an area where considered discretion and judgment are called for. You should talk to your accountant and get his or her views on the matter - I always defer to the person who knows more of the facts than I do - but as a general matter if there is a reasonable explanation for your mistake and if you couldn't get a refund for the second ticket once you discovered the mistake, then it would probably be reasonable to claim the cost of the second "wasted" ticket as a legitimate business expense. That being said, I don't know all of the facts of your case so please don't just rely on my say-so; talk to your accountant or another competent professional who knows all the facts of your case if you want an answer you can rely on.


I agree with prior attorney. And, I am also a CPA who prepares tax returns. The expense appears to be a legitimate business expense. However, usually the ticket has a value even if double-booked. Many airlines will allow a rescheduling for a fee. And, if you are a frequent flyer, they may provide you with a courtesy credit.

Good luck.


Marty Davidoff,, 732-274-1600. This answer is provided for general information only. You should seek advice from an attorney or tax professional.

Dana Whitney Atchley

Dana Whitney Atchley


On questions like this that call for good accounting judgment a good CPA is always the best source of advice.

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