Can I write off meals on my taxes?

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Ajay Kumar, CPA, MBA

As part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act signed into law on December 27, 2020, the deductibility of meals is changing. Food and beverages will be 100% deductible if purchased from a restaurant in 2021 and 2022.

Here are some examples:

Type of ExpenseDeduction
Entertaining clients (concert tickets, golf games, etc.)0% deductible
Business meals with clients50% deductible
Office snacks and meals50% deductible
Company-wide party100% deductible
Meals & entertainment (included in compensation)100% deductible

 

Fully deductible meals and entertainment

Here are some common examples of 100% deductible meals and entertainment expenses:

  • A company-wide holiday party
  • Food and drinks provided free of charge for the public
  • Food included as taxable compensation to employees and included on the W-2

50% deductible expenses

Here are some of the most common 50% deductible expenses (for 2021 and 2022, they are 100% deductible if purchased from a restaurant):

  • A meal with a client where work is discussed (that isn’t lavish)
  • Employee meals at a conference, above and beyond the ticket price
  • Employee meals while traveling (here’s how the IRS defines “travel”)
  • Treating a few employees to a meal (but if it’s at least half of all employees, it’s 100 percent deductible)
  • Food for a board meeting
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