Meal and Beverage Expenses Fully Deductible for the Next Two Years

When President Trump signed into law the recently passed stimulus legislation known as the Consolidated Appropriations Act (Act), most discussion and concern focused on the Payroll Protection Loan program and whether expenses would be deductible that allowed, or will allow, many taxpayers to receive full forgiveness of their loans. An aspect of the bill that’s largely gone unnoticed, however, is a provision that gives taxpayers the ability to fully deduct the cost of meal and beverage expenses for the next two calendar years, beginning January 1, 2021.

The Act adds an exception to the 50 percent limitation of the deductibility of business-related food and beverage expenses, stating specifically that the limitation shall not apply to such expense for food or beverages provided by a restaurant if paid for or incurred after December 31, 2020 or before January 1, 2023.

What’s unclear is the definition of restaurant. It’s uncertain, for instance, whether purchase of food at a sporting event will be eligible for the full deduction. Hopefully the IRS will provide additional guidance on the matter. It would be in the best interest if this definition is as broad as possible, since this part of the Act is clearly aimed at providing an incentive to resume meal and beverage business expense activity and provide a much-needed boost to the struggling hospitality industry.   We will continue to monitor guidance as it becomes available.

Please consult your Schneider Downs tax consultant if you have additional questions or would like to discuss this topic in further detail.

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