Times have changed and so have IRS regulations, again. Thanks to the IRS you now get the chance to write off 100% of your business meals instead of the usual 50%. There are some things you will need to consider while trying to put the deduction into action.
In order to qualify for the full deduction, you need a restaurant to provide you with the food or beverages but you do not have to pay the restaurant directly. This means that DoorDash or Uber Eats meals will be eligible for deduction.
Your business meal must be tax code Section 162 ordinary and necessary business expenses, and they must not be subject to disallowance under tax code 274. Additionally, you may not deduct lavish or extravagant meals but they will not be basing this on the total dollar amount nor the restaurant itself. Furthermore, you must be at said business meal and you must be dining with a person who you could foresee engaging in business with, such as a customer, supplier, employee, or client.
As earlier stated, this deduction requires a restaurant, which is defined in more detail by the IRS. According to the IRS, a restaurant is “ a business that prepares and sells food or beverages to retail customers for immediate consumption, regardless of whether the food or beverages are consumed on the business premises.” It is not “ a business that primarily sells pre-packaged food or beverages, not for immediate consumption” including, but not limited to, grocery stores, liquor stores, and vending machines. Any business meals that do not fit this requirement are still eligible for the 50% deduction.
If you pay for a per diem meal or pay your employees a per diem, you can only deduce 50%. However, if you deduct the actual expense of the meal instead of the per diem you may apply the 100% deduction.
Overall, this is a large incentive for businesses to support IRS-approved restaurants and to move away from per diems. Who doesn’t like a 100% deduction?