19

I am organized as a single member LLC. And I work from home. I see that some corporations buy their employees lunch and expense it.

My question is... Can I order lunch or go out to eat by myself and expense it?

It seems only fair because I'm an employee of my own company and I'm just buying my employee lunch and expensing it just like the other corporations.

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    "all corporations buy their employees lunch and expense it" - that's a bit of a broad (and untrue) generalization don't you think? – brhans Dec 7 '17 at 13:31
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    yeah. every company (about 6) that I have worked for does it. I'm sure there are exceptions, but i'm willing to bet most professional places do that for their employees. I've changed the wording to "most" – jason Dec 7 '17 at 13:55
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    @jason I've worked at lots of places, and I'm willing to bet that most don't. – Ben Miller - Reinstate Monica Dec 7 '17 at 15:15
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    Note that only 50% of meals are deductible, which means even when you can expense it you only save (in taxes) about 10-25% of the bill anyway depending on your tax rate. – TTT Dec 7 '17 at 15:59
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    It seems like there are two related things here a company expensing something and whether it's tax-deductible. A company can certainly expense transactions carried out by its employees (because they are per se done for business reasons or on the company's behalf) but that doesn't mean they are tax-deductible – eques Dec 7 '17 at 21:39
30

It depends. If you’re on a business trip or entertaining a client then yes. However, regular lunches are not deductible on your taxes since it isn’t a business need.

As always, when in doubt, work with a certified accountant.

Edit: Here is a Quickbooks article on that topic.

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    Thanks for the link... "Lunches and dinners brought in to facilitate working through lunch or working late also count." ... interesting... so this means if I order in and work through lunch it's deductible, but if I go out and eat... that's not deductible. – jason Dec 7 '17 at 14:04
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    @jason It isn't Michael you need to convince, is the IRS auditor who handles your file. If you're comfortable with that audit, then go ahead, but no amount of "Stackexchange said I could!" will help you if you're wrong. – Grade 'Eh' Bacon Dec 7 '17 at 14:16
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    @ Grade... haha... i hear ya! I'm just trying to be sure I'm not crazy and its reasonable... and people on stack exchange are reasonable... so if most people agree then I would be comfortable with that audit... it's basically just a sanity check. but i hear you on your comment. – jason Dec 7 '17 at 14:18
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    @jason Remember that it says occasional snack/meal in that section you quoted. – Hart CO Dec 7 '17 at 15:14
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    I would bet you a lunch that the IRS isn't going to let you deduct the cost of lunch every day. Just because your business requires you work through lunch, does not change that lunch from something you'd have to do for ordinary personal care. To make an analogy, you could argue that your work requires you be in a particular office every day; that wouldn't make your daily commute a deductible expense. – stannius Dec 7 '17 at 20:23

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