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  • Entertainment Expenses are NOT Deductible but Meals are

    Entertainment Expenses are NOT Deductible but Meals are by Alicea CastellanosThe IRS recently issued guidance clarifying that taxpayers may generally continue to deduct 50% of the food and beverage expenses associated with operating their trade or business, despite changes to the meal and entertainment expense deduction under Sec. 274 made by the tax law known as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), P.L. 115-97 (Notice 2018-76). According to the IRS, the amendments specifically deny deductions for expenses for entertainment, amusement, or recreation, but do not address the deductibility of expenses for business meals. This omission has created a lot of confusion in the business community, which the IRS is addressing in this interim guidance. Taxpayers can rely on the guidance in the notice until the IRS issues proposed regulations.

    Sec. 274(k), which was not amended by the TCJA, does not allow a deduction for the expense of any food or beverages unless (1) the expense is not lavish or extravagant under the circumstances, and (2) the taxpayer (or an employee of the taxpayer) is present when the food or beverages are furnished. Sec. 274(n)(1), which was amended by the TCJA, generally provides that the amount allowable as a deduction for any expense for food or beverages cannot exceed 50% of the amount of the expense that otherwise would be allowable.

    The interim guidance explains taxpayers may deduct 50% of an otherwise allowable business meal expense if:

    1. The expense is an ordinary and necessary business expense under Sec. 162(a) paid or incurred during the tax year when carrying on any trade or business;
    2. The expense is not lavish or extravagant under the circumstances;
    3. The taxpayer, or an employee of the taxpayer, is present when the food or beverages are furnished;
    4. The food and beverages are provided to a current or potential business customer, client, consultant, or similar business contact; and
    5. For food and beverages provided during or at an entertainment activity, they 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 will not allow the entertainment disallowance rule to be circumvented through inflating the amount charged for food and beverages.

    The notice includes three examples illustrating how the IRS will view these rules. All three examples involve attending a sporting event with a business client and having food and drinks while attending the game. 

    Thank you for taking the time to read this e-alert.  If I can be of service, please do get in touch by e-mail or telephone.  

    Alicea Castellanos, CPA, TEP, N.P.

    CEO & Founder

    Global Taxes LLC

    Tax Advisory & Compliance Services

    Tel: 212 803 3327

    Cell: 917 834 9307

    WhatsApp: 917 834 9307

    Email: alicea@globaltaxes.com

    www.globaltaxes.com

    www.linkedin.com/in/globaltaxes

    Please note: This content is intended for informational purposes only and is not a replacement for professional accounting or tax preparatory services. Consult your own accounting, tax, and legal professionals for advice related to your individual situation. Any copy or reproduction of our presentation is expressly prohibited. Any names or situations have been made up for illustrative purposes  any similarities found in real life are purely coincidental.


    Alicea Castellanos | 02/05/2019





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