An overview of Meals & Entertainment Deductions



February 15, 2019

Whether you’ve already filed your taxes or you are gathering everything to prepare for “tax day”, you probably have heard through the grapevine, read somewhere your maybe even your CPA told you that starting with 2018, you can no longer deduct entertainment expenses and a lot of the meal deductions we previously were able to take are gone too. That’s called Tax Reform. This change specifically created quite the uproar from business owners. Lawmakers may end up changing things around again but for now this is what is and is not deductible:


  • Meals with Clients and Prospects – 50% Deductible
  • Entertainment with Clients and Prospects – Not Deductible
  • Employee meals for convenience of employer – 50% Deductible
  • Employee meals for required business meetings – 50% Deductible
  • Meals while traveling away from home overnight – 50% Deductible
  • Celebration / Holiday Party for Employees and Spouses – 100% Deductible
  • Celebration / Holiday Party for Clients – Not Deductible
  • Meals for the general public at a marketing presentation – 100% Deductible
  • Team Building Activity / Retreat for Employees – 100% Deductible
  • Activity / Outing (such as golf, sporting event, theater) with Employees – 100% Deductible
  • Activity / Outing (such as golf, sporting event, theater) with Clients – Not Deductible


As you can see, if you plan to do anything with a client or prospect, you’ll want to keep it to a simple meal if you want to deduct it (50%). Gone are the days where you can whisk your best client off to the big sporting event of the season and deduct 100% of the ticket price. Now if you do that, it would have to be out of the pure goodness of your heart because you won’t get a tax deduction at all for it.


If you’re wondering how to manage all of this in your bookkeeping or looking for a CPA to file your taxes this year, contact us and we’ll be happy to help!


  1. […] have to be careful with this one. We have a detailed post about it that you will want to look at here to be sure you are following the new guidelines. In general, yes, meals are deductible but a lot of […]

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