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IRS Issues Tax Guidance on TCJA Changes on Business Expense Deductions for Meals, Entertainment

AAFCPAs would like to make clients aware that on October 3rd, 2018, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued guidance on the business expense deduction for meals and entertainment following law changes in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA).

The 2017 TCJA eliminated the deduction for any expenses related to activities generally considered entertainment, amusement or recreation.

Taxpayers may continue to deduct 50% of the cost of business meals if the taxpayer (or an employee of the taxpayer) is present and the food or beverages are not considered lavish or extravagant. The meals may be provided to a current or potential business customer, client, consultant, or similar business contact.

Food and beverages that are provided during entertainment events will not be considered entertainment if purchased separately from the event.

Prior to 2018, a business could deduct up to 50% of entertainment expenses directly related to the active conduct of a trade or business or, if incurred immediately before or after a bona fide business discussion, associated with the active conduct of a trade or business.

The Department of the Treasury and the IRS expect to publish proposed regulations clarifying when business meal expenses are deductible and what constitutes entertainment. Until the proposed regulations are effective, taxpayers can rely on guidance in Notice 2018-76.

This announcement helps to address some of the unresolved questions that had been outstanding when these TCJA provisions were first announced. AAFCPAs’ Tax Practice will continue to monitor further guidance as it emerges. As always, we will keep you informed and provide further updates as they become available.

If you have any questions, please contact: Richard Weiner, CPA, MST at 774.512.4078, rweiner@nullaafcpa.com; or your AAFCPAs Partner.

About the Author

Richard Weiner CPA
Rich has over 30 years of broad tax experience with a specialty in tax planning and consulting for private and publicly-held businesses. Rich has specific expertise in the Software, Bio-Technology, Medical Device, Life Science, Manufacturing, Retail, Professional Service and Publishing industries, as well as U.S. aspects of international taxation. He works extensively with European companies expanding into the U.S. market. Additional areas of focus include companies and stockholders in transition, including structuring of and planning for Mergers & Acquisitions, planning for changes in ownership and management, and adoption of tax methodologies with a view toward the long term. He is well known in his field and is a frequent speaker on a variety of tax related topics.