Deducting Meals as a Business Expense

When keeping track of meals for your business as an expense, keep in mind that some meals are only 50% deductible while others are deductible at 100%. 

Meals that are 50% deductible:

  • Meals for business meetings of employees, stockholders, etc. 
  • Meals during business travel. 
  • Meals at conventions and seminars
  • Meals with clients and customers
  • Meals that are related to employee travel that are reimbursed to the employee at 100% are still only 50% deductible

Meals that are 100% deductible:

  • Company parties
  • Snacks for the office like coffee and donuts
  • Food used in promotion that is made available to the public for free
  • Meals provided to employees in the office for the convenience of the employer (provided it is given to more than half of the employees).  This works if you want to give employees dinner to keep them working later

If you have questions regarding whether your meal expense is 50% or 100% deductible it is always best to consult your tax advisor.  Always remember to keep adequate records of your meals by keeping things such as the reciepts.


About the author

Seattle CPA+John Huddleston has written extensively on tax related subjects of interest to small business owners. Since 2002, he has owned his own small business, Huddleston Tax CPAs. He is a graduate of Washington State University and the University of Washington School of Law.