Meals and Entertainment Changes Under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act

office holiday party

OH NO! Are the HOLIDAY PARTIES still DEDUCTIBLE?
In general, the new Tax Act provides for stricter limits on the deductibility of business meals and entertainment expenses. Under the Act entertainment expenses incurred or paid after December 31, 2017 are nondeductible unless they fall under the specific exceptions in Code Section 274(e).  One of those exceptions is for “expenses for recreation, social, or similar activities primarily for the benefit of the taxpayer’s employees, other than highly compensated employees”  (i.e. office holiday parties are still deductible).

Business meals provided for the convenience of the employer are now only 50% deductible whereas before the Act they were fully deductible. Barring further action by Congress those meals will be nondeductible after 2025.


Businesses should keep the new rules in mind as they plan their 2018 meals and entertainment budgets. 

2018 Expenses – New Rules

  • Office Holiday Parties – 100% deductible
  • Entertaining Clients – Meals 50% deductible / No deduction for entertainment expenses
  • Employee Travel Meals – 50% deductible
  • Meals Provided for Convenience of Employer – 50% deductible (nondeductible after 2025)

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MUSICIANS ARE YOU RUINING YOUR TAX RETURN BY FILING YOURSELF?

ladygaga

To all my future musician clients, I know you’ve tried saving money by using TurboTax or some other DIY tax website and you’ve probably made a few mistakes. The problem with these DIY tax programs are that they don’t ask the right questions specific to you as an artist, so you wind up with the wrong answers.

Here’s an example of a mistake that I’ve seen musicians make — YOUR CLOTHES, HAIR, AND MAKEUP AREN’T DEDUCTIONS, unless your “on stage outfit” is a costume, it’s not deductible for tax purposes.

Here are a few other tax items you may be missing or not.

#1 – 1099-MISC INCOME WAS MISSING

You forgot to include the 1099-MISC you received from a venue, artist, record label, or publishing rights organization. The IRS knows you got the money, and they’ll be contacting you soon, because the person who paid you reported the income because it is required for them to report it if it was $600 or more…you are still responsible for reporting ALL income received even if you did not receive form 1099-Misc

#2 – YOU DIDN’T SEND FORM 1099-MISC TO THE APPROPRIATE PARTIES, BUT TOOK A TAX DEDUCTION

Anyone you pay $600 or more should be rewarded with a Form 1099-MISC. If you don’t send them a 1099-MISC by January 31, the penalty is $30-$100 per form! So, ensure you send those out on time. Taking the deduction without sending the proper forms is a red flag.

#3 –  YOU DEDUCTED “FREE” SHOWS TO NON-PROFITS AS A CHARITABLE DEDUCTION

Wrong! Your free show was free; you don’t get to deduct what you would have made if you had charged the charity. The actual deduction you could take would be the mileage deduction for driving to and from the event at the charity mileage rate.

There’s no shame in pinching the pennies to do your own taxes, but make sure you don’t make mistakes and ruin your tax return. If you’d rather play it safe, hire a professional like us so that you can fix it before it’s too late to receive a refund or costlier in interest and penalties!