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Tax Deductions
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entertainment/meal deduction for husband/wife

My husband and I are both partner physicians in the same medical group. For dinners out together where we discuss work topics, can we each claim 50% of the meal thus deducting 100% of meal?

Zip Code: 90025

Re: entertainment/meal deduction for husband/wife

Great question. I get asked this a lot.

According to IRS Publication 463 on Travel, Entertainment, Gift, and Car Expenses (https://www.irs.gov/publications/p463/ch02.html), "To meet the directly-related test for entertainment expenses (including entertainment-related meals), you must show that:

1. The main purpose of the meal was the active conduct of business,

2. You did engage in business with the person during the meal, and

3. You had more than a general expectation of getting income or some other specific business benefit at some future time."

I guess you would need to determine if you meet these three requirements with each business meal held at a restaurant in the general vicinity where you live.

That being said, what I tell my clients with practices is that they should pay for any meal they want to deduct out of the business bank account or credit card. The IRS is very "form over substance" oriented, so having the meals being paid in a similar way as all your other business expenses might help those expenses survive an audit.

Zip Code: 01801

Re: entertainment/meal deduction for husband/wife

Hi Andrew,

Thanks for your reply. I still have a question, if those requirements are met: can we each claim 50% of the meal thus deducting 100% of check? Or is only %50 of the total check?


Zip Code: 90025

Re: entertainment/meal deduction for husband/wife

No, the deduction is limited to 50% of the amount spent. The person who pays gets to claim the deduction. For married couples, you'll split the deduction equal to 50% of the amount spent.

Zip Code: 01801