Business Meals on Travel

7 Replies

I am planning to visit my rental property (out of state) and meet with my team (agent, property manager, etc). I know that the mileage (I'm driving) is fully deductible, but are all meals also deductible? or only the meals where I meet with my business partners and discuss business? Technically, these meals wouldn't have taken place if I wasn't on this trip, right?

Guidelines on the IRS website is rather vague... Here's an excerpt.

Deductible travel expenses while away from home include, but aren't limited to, the costs of:

  1. Travel by airplane, train, bus or car between your home and your business destination. (If you're provided with a ticket or you're riding free as a result of a frequent traveler or similar program, your cost is zero.)
  2. Fares for taxis or other types of transportation between the airport or train station and your hotel, the hotel and the work location, and from one customer to another, or from one place of business to another.
  3. Shipping of baggage, and sample or display material between your regular and temporary work locations.
  4. Using your car while at your business destination. You can deduct actual expenses or the standard mileage rate, as well as business-related tolls and parking fees. If you rent a car, you can deduct only the business-use portion for the expenses.
  5. Meals and lodging.

https://www.irs.gov/taxtopics/tc511 

Originally posted by @Jason Xue :

I am planning to visit my rental property (out of state) and meet with my team (agent, property manager, etc). I know that the mileage (I'm driving) is fully deductible, but are all meals also deductible? or only the meals where I meet with my business partners and discuss business? Technically, these meals wouldn't have taken place if I wasn't on this trip, right?

Guidelines on the IRS website is rather vague... Here's an excerpt.

Deductible travel expenses while away from home include, but aren't limited to, the costs of:

  1. Travel by airplane, train, bus or car between your home and your business destination. (If you're provided with a ticket or you're riding free as a result of a frequent traveler or similar program, your cost is zero.)
  2. Fares for taxis or other types of transportation between the airport or train station and your hotel, the hotel and the work location, and from one customer to another, or from one place of business to another.
  3. Shipping of baggage, and sample or display material between your regular and temporary work locations.
  4. Using your car while at your business destination. You can deduct actual expenses or the standard mileage rate, as well as business-related tolls and parking fees. If you rent a car, you can deduct only the business-use portion for the expenses.
  5. Meals and lodging.

https://www.irs.gov/taxtopics/tc511

 Generally, meals are 50% deductible in your case.  Don’t make it lavish, that will turn it into more like entertainment which are not deductible going forward. ( were 50% before TCJA) 

Originally posted by @Jason Xue :

@Ashish Acharya thanks for your suggestion! Do I have to meet with a business partner over the meal in order for it to qualify? Or is it deductible simply because it was a meal during the travel trip?

 If travel qualifies as business travel, your meals are also 50% deductible.  Business meals with Partners are also deductible on top of your meals. 

@Ashish Acharya thanks for weighing in on this... I ask because I heard from someone that the IRS sees the scenario as, these people are going to eat these meals regardless of whether they are on a business trip or at home. So in order for any of these meals to be deductible, it has to have a business purpose with business partners,clients,etc. 

Anyone else out there able to provide their two cents on this question?? 

Why hasn't anyone mentioned the standard meal allowance? For records purposes, that is the easiest to use. I am thinking longer term business travel though, so perhaps shorter term your actual meals are more than the standard meal allowance. I spent nearly a year in Saipan as a 1099 contractor, and found it much easier and financially beneficial to take 50% of the standard meal allowance for my locality(it was $79 in 2016-2017 for Saipan or $39.50 deductible each day I was there). 

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