Travel Management

Deducting your Actual Costs in 2024: Complete Guide

John Iversen
Growth Marketer

For many professionals, the deduction of actual costs is an attractive option when filing their tax returns. In 2024, this method makes it possible to deduct expenses actually incurred, such as mileage expenses calculated according to the mileage scale or simulated with a simulator, in the course of professional activity, thus offering an alternative to the flat-rate deduction. The aim of this comprehensive guide is to provide you with all the information you need to understand, calculate and optimize the deduction of your actual costs. Whether you're a business travel professional, an Office Manager, a Travel Manager, a Human Resources Manager or an Administrative and Financial Director, this guide will help you navigate the tax complexities and maximize your benefits.

What are actual costs?

Actual costs are all business expenses that you can deduct from your taxable income, provided they are justified, directly related to your activity, and accurately calculated, for example using the mileage scale for travel. Unlike the flat-rate deduction, which is a fixed percentage applied automatically, the actual costs deduction allows you to take into account specific expenses such as travel, meals, accommodation, and even certain training or equipment costs. This deduction method is particularly advantageous for professionals whose business expenses exceed the standard flat-rate deduction. In 2024, it's crucial to understand the eligibility criteria and the types of eligible expenses to optimize your tax deductions.

Why opt for actual costs deduction in 2024?

Choosing to deduct actual costs in 2024 can be particularly advantageous for professionals whose business expenses exceed the amount of the flat-rate deduction. By opting for this method, you can deduct precisely the costs incurred in the course of your business, such as travel, meals, accommodation and other specific expenses. This approach enables a more accurate and potentially larger reduction in your taxable income, which can translate into significant income tax savings. What's more, with possible legislative changes scheduled for 2024, it's essential to stay informed and fully understand the new rules in order to maximize your tax benefits.

Types of actual deductible expenses

  • Travel expenses: Train and plane tickets, fuel, tolls, parking.
  • Meal expenses: Business lunches and dinners, catering costs.
  • Accommodation expenses: Hotels, temporary rentals during business trips.
  • Teleworking costs: Internet subscriptions, computer hardware, office supplies.
  • Training costs: Costs of professional training, seminars, conferences.
  • Equipment costs: Purchase of professional equipment, specific equipment required for the business.
  • Communication costs: telephone subscriptions, postage, courier services.
  • Representation expenses: business gifts, invitations, professional events.
  • Documentation costs: Subscriptions to trade magazines, purchase of specialized books.
  • Vehicle expenses: Maintenance, repairs and insurance for vehicles used for business purposes.

How do you calculate your actual costs?

Calculating actual costs requires a methodical and rigorous approach to ensure that all business expenses are properly accounted for and justified. First of all, it's essential to keep all expense receipts, such as invoices, receipts and bank statements. Next, you need to categorize these expenses according to their nature: travel expenses, meals, accommodation, equipment, etc. Once these categories have been established, add up the amounts for each type of expense to obtain a total per category. It is also important to check that each expense is eligible for deduction under the tax rules in force for 2024. Finally, enter these amounts in your tax return, taking care to respect the ceilings and conditions specific to each type of expense. Good organization and precise documentation are key to optimizing your deductions and avoiding any tax adjustments.

The documents you need to justify your actual costs

  • Invoices: Proof of purchase for meals, accommodation, equipment, etc.
  • Receipts: Receipts for small expenses, parking fees, tolls.
  • Bank statements: Proof of payment by credit card or bank transfer.
  • Expense reports: documents detailing expenses incurred, often used in business.
  • Transport tickets: Train, plane, bus or metro tickets.
  • Rental contracts: For temporary accommodation or vehicle rentals.
  • Proof of mileage: Logbooks or tracking applications for travel by personal vehicle.
  • Subscriptions : Invoices for telephone, internet and trade magazine subscriptions.
  • Training certificates: Documents proving participation in training courses, seminars or conferences.
  • Income tax returns: To check the ceilings and conditions specific to each type of expense.
  • Insurance: Contracts and proof of payment for professional and vehicle insurance.

Common mistakes to avoid

  • Not keeping receipts: Throwing away or losing invoices, receipts and other proof of expenses can result in the tax authorities refusing to deduct them.
  • Mixing personal and business expenses: It's crucial to distinguish between business and personal expenses.
  • Omit certain expenses: Not including all eligible expenses can reduce the total amount of deductions.
  • Not respecting deduction ceilings: Certain expenses are subject to deduction ceilings. It is important to be aware of these limits and to comply with them.
  • Incorrectly categorizing expenses: Incorrectly categorizing expenses can lead to errors in the calculation of actual costs.
  • Failure to keep accurate records: Detailed, organized tracking of expenses is essential to justify actual costs.
  • Ignore legislative changes: Tax rules can change. It's important to keep abreast of changes for the current year.
  • Deducting non-eligible expenses: Certain expenses are not deductible. It is important to know the eligibility criteria.
  • Do not declare reimbursements: If certain expenses have been reimbursed by the employer, they cannot be deducted.
  • Underestimating the importance of documentation: Insufficient or incomplete documentation can lead to tax reassessments.

The advantages and disadvantages of deducting actual costs


  • Precise deductions: The deduction of actual costs allows you to deduct exactly the expenses incurred, which can be more advantageous than the flat-rate deduction.
  • Tax optimization: For professionals with high expenses, this method can significantly reduce taxable income.
  • Adaptability: It adapts to the specificities of each professional activity, enabling us to take into account varied and specific expenses.
  • Transparency: Detailed documentation of expenses can facilitate tax audits and prove the legitimacy of deductions.


  • Administrative complexity: Managing and storing receipts can be tedious and time-consuming.
  • Risk of reassessment: In the event of errors or lack of supporting documentation, the tax authorities may refuse certain deductions, resulting in penalties.
  • Time and effort: Calculating actual costs requires rigorous organization and precise tracking of expenses, which can be very demanding.
  • Ceilings and limitations: Certain expenses are subject to deduction ceilings, limiting the potential benefits.
  • Variability of tax rules: The rules governing actual costs can change from one year to the next, requiring constant monitoring to ensure compliance.

Legislative changes in 2024 concerning the deduction of actual costs

  • New deduction limits: In 2024, certain types of actual costs, such as travel and meal expenses, may be subject to new deduction limits. It is essential to check these limits to optimize your deductions.
  • Changes to eligibility criteria: The criteria for certain deductible expenses may have been revised. For example, the conditions for deducting telecommuting or training expenses may have changed.
  • Introduction of new expense categories: New categories of actual costs can be introduced, allowing deduction of expenses that were not previously eligible.
  • Tightening up justification requirements: Documentation and proof requirements can be tightened up, necessitating even more rigorous management of proof of expenditure.
  • Adjustments to mileage reimbursement rates: Reimbursement rates for personal vehicle travel expenses can be adjusted, impacting the calculation of actual costs for professionals using their own vehicle.
  • Updating tax scales: The tax scales used to calculate deductions can be updated, affecting the total amount of actual deductible expenses.
  • New reporting obligations: New obligations for reporting actual costs may be introduced, requiring special attention when preparing tax returns.
  • Revision of rules for entertainment expenses: The rules concerning entertainment expenses, such as business gifts and professional events, may be modified, impacting their deductibility.

It's crucial to keep abreast of these legislative changes to ensure your deductions are compliant and maximize your tax benefits in 2024.

Tips for optimizing your tax deductions

Tips for optimizing your tax deductions for actual costs

  • Keep all receipts: Carefully retain all invoices, receipts, bank statements and other proof of expenses. Complete, well-organized documentation is essential to justify your deductions.
  • Categorize your expenses: Classify your expenses by category (travel, meals, accommodation, etc.) to make it easier to calculate and declare actual costs.
  • Use management tools: Use accounting software or expense management applications to track and record your expenses in real time.
  • Check ceilings and limits: Make sure you know the deduction limits applicable to each type of expense, and respect them to avoid tax reassessments.
  • Be precise and detailed: Note the details of each expense, including the date, the amount, the nature of the expense and how it relates to your professional activity.
  • Anticipate legislative changes: Stay abreast of tax changes for the current year and adapt your practices accordingly.
  • Deduct all eligible expenses: Don't overlook any deductible expenses. Even small expenses can add up to a significant sum.
  • Consult a tax expert: Call on a tax advisor or accountant to ensure that you maximize your deductions while remaining compliant with tax rules.
  • Keep a mileage log: If you use your personal vehicle for business travel, keep an accurate logbook to justify your travel expenses.
  • Review your expenses regularly: Take stock of your expenses on a regular basis to make sure you haven't forgotten anything, and that all expenses are properly recorded and justified.

By following this advice, you can optimize your tax deductions for actual costs and maximize the tax benefits associated with your professional activity.

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