IRS Issues Guidance on Food and Entertainment Deductions

IRS Issues Guidance on Food and Entertainment Deductions

With the changes to deductions that resulted from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passed in December of 2017, many businesses feared they had lost some significant tax breaks.


Client Alert TagThe Internal Revenue Service offered additional guidance this week on one of the more popular business deductions–Meals and Entertainment. Under old law, businesses could deduct 50% of meals and entertainment when entertaining customers or potential clients, assuming (a) such expense was not lavish or extravagant under the circumstances, and (b) the taxpayer (or an employee of the taxpayer) was present at the furnishing of such food or beverages. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act disallowed deductions for expenses related to entertainment, recreation or amusement but did not specifically address business meals.

This week, the IRS issued guidance on this issue in Notice 2018-76. The notice states that taxpayers may continue to deduct 50% of the cost of the business meals if the following requirements are met:

  • The expense is an ordinary and necessary expense under Section 162(a) paid or
    incurred during the taxable year in carrying on any trade or business;
  • The expense is not lavish or extravagant under the circumstances;
  • The taxpayer, or an employee of the taxpayer, is present at the furnishing of the food or beverages;
  • The food and beverages are provided to a current or potential business customer, client, consultant or similar business contact; and
  • For food and beverages provided during or at an entertainment activity, the food and beverages are purchased separately from the entertainment, or the cost of the food and beverages is stated separately from the cost of the entertainment on one or more bills, invoices, or receipts.

The IRS also stated that it will not allow the entertainment disallowance rule to be circumvented through inflating the amount charged for food and beverages. Read More Hereā€¦

Formal regulations on the topic are expected later this year. In the interim, the IRS has stated that taxpayers may rely on the guidance in the notice.

Posted 10-5-2018 | Topics: Client Alerts, Featured News & Resources, News,