Summer briefs for dog-day afternoons; Don't overlook educational tax deductions

Legitimate educations visits to foreign countries, as well as seminars and workshops in the United States, can be tax deductible for educators. IRS regulations say you can deduct the cost of travel as a form of education for the following reasons:

* The expenses must be for a period of travel that is directly related to duties in your work or business.

* The expenses qualify only if a major part of the activities during your travel directly maintains or improves skills required in your work or business.

Educational expenses may be deductible even if incurred during a vacation, temporary leave, or other absence from your work or business, such as while on sabbatical.

Documentation of expenses is required. According to the IRS, this means a receipt or paid bill if the amount, date, and place of the expenses are disclosed. Keeping an accurate journal of work-related expenses, meetings, and travel is essential.

For more information about deducting costs of travel-study trips from your income tax, two IRS publications are helpful. Both are free and can be picked up at any tax office or ordered by phone. They are: Publication 463, "Travel, Entertainment, and Gift Expenses," and publication 508, "Educational Expenses."

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