View Full Version : Lunches

03-11-2001, 01:29 AM
I was in my convenience store, the one I use just about every day, buying supper! When I checked out the girl asked me if I needed my receipt, I said no. She told me that everybody else gets their receipt for food why didn.t we?

Question: How many of you use food receipts for tax purposes. I only use food if it is a legitimate reason or if we are traveling out of town to do work. What is the rule on lunches. If I can use them I have missed out on a whole lot of money this past year!

03-11-2001, 01:45 AM
I know Semi truck drivers take off meals at about $35 - $100 PER day according to a driver I know that just had his taxes done by an accountant that does alot of drivers. He claimed his accountant said no receipt required!

If you pay a sales tax on dine out food like we do here, you could be using that amount of sales tax on your returns if you have enough to itemize and do not take the standard deductions.

My wife and I BUY TOO MUCH stuff and eat out way TOO MUCH, so we are trying it this year. We save ALL receipts for the sales tax. I have not finished this last years yet, and we started mid year last year doing this, so I am not sure for last years. But, as much as we buy, I think we will have more in sales tax along with the other itemized things to come out way over the standard deductions.

I know years ago, I read that meals are a real hard thing for the IRS to disprove, that is why they only allow a percentage of the total. I recall the theroy was, if you discussed business at any point during the meal, then it was a valid expense. My wife and I use to joke years ago when eating out, she would say "So how's the business doing" while handing me the receipt as we left the resturaunt.

03-11-2001, 01:47 AM
homer i keep my recieps for lunches as a deductable for taxes but couldn't use them because of my new equipment purches. keep them and give them to your tax man/lady and they will find a way to use it as a loss.

03-11-2001, 01:48 AM
so its the sales tax and not the amount of the meal?

Fantasy Lawns
03-11-2001, 01:49 AM
I use my Company Card on ALL purchases ...business related of course ...;->

03-11-2001, 01:50 AM

It can be both, sales tax and total!

03-11-2001, 01:58 AM
Boy have I been missin the boat!

Island Lawn
03-11-2001, 09:41 AM
HOMER, Is your moo-moo getting shorter?
I think you are showing more ankle lately!(LOL)

I use bus check for all bus exp. Where they wont take checks, I use my bus chkng deit card
Weird how plastic is honored more than paper from the same acct!
I use that plastic to pay at the pump! I pack my own lunch and dont go into the...
Temptation Island of Convience!

03-11-2001, 10:00 AM
We expense any food bought for the crews. This includes when/if I buy coffees, lunches, etc. We also have a kitchen at the shop, so all the food there is expensed too. My understanding from our accountant is that for our company set up (LLC) which is like a partnership, the food for workers is a 100% expense. Food for partners/owners is 50% deductible. We keep all receipts, especially for cash disbursements. This way its provable, and also, when entered into Quickbooks for instance you can see exactly how much was spent.

When we were building our shop, with no facility and only had a refrigerator and shelf in an office trailer for food, we kept track of all the coffee stops. At that time, my wife would often make us picnic lunches, and bring them in at lunch time. Nonetheless, we spent thousands at Dunkin Donuts, and you wouldn't believe it except when it all got tallied up at the end of the year. When the building was finished, I plumbed in a commercial coffee maker into the kitchen, and one into the shop. This cut the D&D budget way down. Now I don't really buy coffee to go at all anymore. But everytime the company buys lunch, I add the receipt.

03-11-2001, 10:54 AM
I know the lunch has to be business related such as meeting with customer or employees,I also thought it was only 50% deductible.My accountant warns too many lunches could red flag your tax form.We do one lunch meeting a week.

John Allin
03-11-2001, 11:52 AM
Not exactly part of this topic, but.....

I know what you mean... This winter season we installed a coffee/soup/hot choc. machine and had it vend at no charge so our workers could just get it free while they were here. It ended up being considerably cheaper than bringing it in for them in an effort to be nice. Now they come and go to get what they need. Even with them filling up the thermos with coffee (one cup at a time) it was cheaper for us. And, now some of them take soup instead.

Come April 1st we'll change it over to 25 cents per cup (their suggestion). It'll still cost us, but the PR is great.

And, 100% deductable.

03-11-2001, 12:49 PM
John -

The coffee machines all have a hot water tap for making tea or hot chocolate. Because we have the wholesale nursery, I also let customers take what the want for beverages from the kitchen, as a courtesy. In the shop, we have a commercial ice maker, so our crews can fill up in the morning. We use the ice to stock one of those can shaped coolers, which is set up next to the sales counter. This way, if customers want to get picky, and have a soda or snapple, they pay at the register, or put it on their account. In addition, one of the coffee makers is set up to fill the pump top coffee decanters you might see at gas station coffee stops. This way, during storms the stuff stays piping hot and delicious all night long. I don't think I'll be charging for the coffee, but I might put a toilet paper vending machine in the bathroom.......

In relation to this thread, all of the expenses relating to the above actions get written off and are fully justified.

03-11-2001, 02:44 PM
hey theleven, thats a great idea i just got my visa check card and now i'm gunna use it on any tihng that i could for the business, like lunches and stuff like that, great idea.

lsnursery, for the past 2 years i bought my crew lunches everyday and i quick doing that in september, i found out that i was costing myself more money than i needed to and i seen more profit for myself. i told them this year that they will buy their own lunch or that most of the time we will pack and eat in the truck, and that i will give them a bonus at the end of the year but i didn't say how much just so they can't complain when that time comes.

John Allin
03-11-2001, 08:09 PM
Three years ago we got a used ice machine. Let the guys use it all the time, including if they had a party at home. Then the machine broke. Thought they were going to riot !! Had to buy a brand new one to keep 'em all happy. Never know what they really want....

Now, I promise not to go off topic again...

GreenQuest Lawn
03-11-2001, 11:08 PM
I just talked to my CPA about that. She told me to go ahead and pay for some meals. She said just dont have 10,000 worth of meals in a year and show a loss in the business.

03-12-2001, 07:29 PM
I have heard that you can claim a $25 per week for a meal that you "forgot" to get the receipt for. This can add up to a $650 a year write off.

03-12-2001, 10:00 PM
There are definite rules in IRS publications for employee meals and travel meals. In general you can expense employee meals if it is for the convenience of the employer. If you are supplying meals merely as an employee benefit, you must calculate this as employee pay if you wish to claim it as business expense, and the employee has taxes withheld for this benefit.

For travel expenses, you generally must be away overnight to claim a food expense during travel. Entertainment expenses also have specific rules.

You will need Acrobat Reader to view these documents -

For employee benefits, see Publication 15-B:

For travel and entertainment, see Publication 463 -