Business Meals Remain Deductible At Old Tax Law 50% Level

Another lingering taxes deduction concern created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) is finally clearer. THE INNER Revenue Service says that half the expense of business meals continues to be taxes deductible as an allowable work-related expenditure. That’s the actual pre-TCJA tax law said. But because the Republican tax reform expenses were cobbled collectively so hurriedly by the end of 2017, its legislative vocabulary left many baffled.

And the new law’s interpretation created a division among tax experts (and semantics geeks) as to what exactly is entertainment. Meals or entertainment vs. A lot of tax pros viewed the inner Revenue Code phase “meals and entertainment” as an individual entity, known as M&E often. So, when the TCJA deemed that by Jan. 1, 2018, entertainment expenses much longer were no, starting in 2018, deductible, those tax folks saw that as removing the meals component, too.

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Others in the tax world, me included, have seen entertainment as independent from meals. Taking a business associate to lunchtime, for example, to discuss your new agreement is one thing. Taking see your face to the Houston Astros-Cleveland Indians’ match-ups (three only, I am hoping!) that will help determine the 2018 American League Champion (go ‘Stros!) is another, even if yeall consume massive levels of nachos, hot dog, and Torchy’s Tacos. And that means that the new tax law is a significant business expense deduction threat to things such as sports’ box chairs and driver memberships.

Many, however, not all, foods are safe: I’m delighted – and, I must admit, a bit dismayed – that the IRS and I think alike, at least in this full case. The IRS has deemed that the 50 percent write-off for wining and dining clients remains under the new tax law. Acceptable tax-deductible dining is allowed when it’s with an ongoing or potential business customer, client, a specialist, or similar business contact. Entertaining clients, though, is a different matter. The cost of taking a current or potential client to one of these accepted places is no longer tax deductible. But, and there tends to be a but with most tax proclamations and laws, you need to focus on details.

That’s true with business M&E under the TCJA. That’s why you need to pay attention to the dining circumstances. IRS in its announcement of the notice. Which means meals purchased after a circular of golfing might still be deducted. However, tickets to a sports arena box to see a game that includes drink and food would not qualify for the tax break. Also, you still must follow the prior tax law rules as it pertains to meals. If you are buying a business client dinner when you discuss your new or ongoing work preparations, don’t overload. Meal expenses the IRS determines to be lavish or extravagant will continue to be disallowed.

And as in every tax situations, get, annotate and keep those business food receipts! Or inadequate paperwork could doom your deduction No. More rules on the way: Note, too, that week’s TCJA M&E deduction decision is temporary. Don’t panic. That means that just, as the good examples in Notice 2018-76 indicate, there still are issues to down be nailed. The IRS offers you a variety of ways to let it know your thoughts. 1111 Constitution Avenue, N.W. Include “Notice 2018-76” in the topic line.

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