I was working on a client’s tax return and he had a whole lot receipts for business foods. A whole lot. I do a great deal of tax returns and I’m quite familiar with claiming food expenses. This guy wasn’t in one of the jobs that I normally associate with lots of meal expenses – therefore I had to ask him about any of it. Here’s the problem – that’s not going to fly with the IRS. If you’re venturing out to supper with your spouse just, even though you do nothing but discuss business – well, it’s not a deductible business expenditure.
I deal with this matter all the time. Heck, my very own spouse will say, “Hey we talked about the business, you can deduct our supper!” And yes, my husband often provides me excellent business advice during dinner (he’ll read this blog post therefore I have to say that) but I still can’t deducting having dinner with him for business purposes.
Here’s the IRS guideline: “Generally you are unable to deduct the price of entertainment for your partner or for the partner of a customer. So, I can bring my hubby, Mark, along if I’m entertaining litigant who needed to bring her hubby along as well. For example, someone is within from out of town and wouldn’t want to leave her hubby all alone in the hotel. But if I’m having supper with my husband only – no deduction just. There are lots of other rules about claiming meals as well. You’re supposed to record the expense “contemporaneously”.
That’s an elegant way of saying you should jot down on the receipt who and why. For instance, Helene is one of my advertising people. We both like the grand slam breakfast so I’ll meet her at Denny’s. Around the receipt I would write, “Helene, advertising.” frankly Quite, Helene is the only person I met at Denny’s so if I’ve got a Denny’s receipt, I know who I was meeting and what we should be discussing.
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But a Bread Company receipt? Once weekly Well I probably meet someone there. If I don’t write that down that may not survive an audit. It’s only a good business practice to write who and what on the receipt every time. Here’s a silly little tip which makes the IRS happy: when you’re paying for a business meal with your credit card, write the reason and name for the conference on the slip that you sign and present to your waitress. That real way, your “contemporaneous reporting requirement” is proved on your receipt carbon. Your waitress may think you’re a little strange but it’s likely that she receives even notice.
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