The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (Pub. L. 115-97) has created quite a stir in the tax community regarding the status of meals in a business context. Congress moved in the Act to deny any business deduction for entertainment. And the Conference Committee Report allowed that meals “associated with operating” a trade or business remain deductible.
But the one example the Committee Report cited is one where the meal is clearly related to travel—a class of meals no one would have doubted was still an allowed expense under the law. That leaves open the far less easy to resolve question regarding what other meals still remain deductible.
This article, written in mid-February 2018, cannot give a conclusive, final answer to this question—that will need to await IRS guidance or eventual court cases on the issue. But we can look at what we do know right now are clearly are or are not deductible, as well as recognize those expenditures for which no absolute conclusions can yet be drawn.
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