Very Light Jets (VLJ’s) Won’t Replace Business Jets Anytime Soon! |

In concept, VLJ’s sem like the simple answer to the normally expensive nature of private charter jet service. They are cheap to buy (many being sold for under $2 million), cheap to operate and have a fairly decent range (over 1000 nm). So why haven’t they worked? Why isn’t air taxi service the new trend in mid-range air travel?

The basic answer is it’s still not cost effective and the normally standard amenities of a “business jet” are absent in a VLJ. The quick shutdown of DayJet LLC in Florida is a great example of the inability of the “air taxi” concept to make money. DayJet claimed they needed an additional profit of 40 million to stay in business. The soaring price of jet fuel (sometimes as high as $9/gallon) is also a major stumbling block to many pilots and Air taxi companies.

With regard to amenities, the VLJ’s are lacking. VLJ’s usually have no bathroom. If they do it’s usually covered by a curtain or is called an “emergency toilet”. I know for sure that I don’t want to use or watch someone use an emergency bathroom while on a 3 hour flight. Small cabins and lack of galley are other missing amenities that some business travelers cannot overlook.

Another major concern is safety. The biggest safety difference is that VLJ’s are only built to hold 1 pilot. If the pilot has any problems in the air, the whole aircraft has problems. How many business travelers are willing to take that risk.

VLJ’s are not the answer. The business jet market will probably stay out of reach for the everyday business traveler. With the number of newly rich coming on daily, the business jet market will see plenty of opportunity in it’s current market. Market expansion for the private jet market does not currently seem like a feasible opportunity.

Business Trip Expense Records – Keeping the IRS Happy |

Want to keep Big Brother, the IRS, happy when it comes to your business trip expense records? OK, take a deep breath and take a gander at these rules. These rules are not difficult to follow, but you do have to follow them precisely.

For every expense, be sure to record the following:

What did you spend money on? List each expense separately, such as business meals, taxis, or lodging.

If you paid for airfare, list the city into which you flew. If you grab a taxi, list to the “to” and “from” parts of the trip. If you tip a bellman, list the hotel at which you gave the tip.

It’s important to list the date and time you left for your trip, as well as the date and time of your return. Then, for individual travel expenses during your trip, just list the date each expense was incurred.

This is a biggie. You need to justify to the IRS that the travel expense was a legitimate business expense. For instance, buying a meal for a business partner is a legitimate travel expense. Getting a $5.00 candy bar from the hotel mini-fridge is not (unless you arrived at the hotel at an hour when most restaurants are closed). Ditto with the in-room movie that you order because you are bored.

Proof of Payment
The IRS wants receipts to back up your individual expense listings to prove that you actually paid the expenses. For instance, you’ll need copies of your hotel bill, taxi fares, and receipts for business meals that show you paid for these items. Any individual expenses over $75 also need to be backed up with receipts.

The easiest way to handle documenting your business travel expenses is to:
1. Always ask for a receipt
2. Keep all your receipts (and other documentation like ticket stubs) in one envelope during your trip
3. Use a single form to document all your business travel expenses when you get home. The form should cover all the criteria above. Fill out the form, and then attach the receipts to the back of the form when you’re done.

Voila! You have just kept the IRS happy by documenting your business travel expenses according to IRS regulations.