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J.K. Lasser's Your Income Tax 2013: For Preparing Your 2012 Tax Return by J.K. Lasser Institute

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20.25 50% Cost Limitation on Meals and Entertainment

You generally may not deduct the full amount of your deductible expenses for business meals and entertainment expenses, such as tickets to sports events. Unless one of the exceptions below applies, only 50% of the otherwise allowable amount for food, beverages, and entertainment is deductible. However, the deductible percentage for workers subject to the Department of Transportation’s “hours of service” limits is 80% rather than 50%.

Taxes and tips are considered part of the cost subject to the 50% limit. If your employer reimburses your expenses, the 50% limit applies to the employer.

The 50% limit applies to both employees and the self-employed. It applies to the IRS meal allowance deduction (20.4). For employee expenses the limit is taken into account on Form 2106 or 2106-EZ (if you are not reimbursed by your employer and do not claim depreciation for a business car), and on Schedule C for self-employment expenses.

EXAMPLES
1. You pay meal and entertainment costs of $5,000. Only $2,500 ($5,000 × 50%) is considered deductible.
2. Same facts as above, but your employer reimburses your costs after you account for the expenses. The employer’s deduction is limited to $2,500. You have no deduction.

Tickets.

The deductible amount for a ticket treated as an entertainment expense is generally restricted to the face value of the ticket. Amounts in excess of face value paid to ticket agencies or scalpers are not deductible. ...

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