Myth: I Can Deduct Everyday Meals While I'm At Work

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Working on client files while eating your personal meal does not make it a qualified business write-off.

Tax Myths: Deducting Personal Meals I Eat At Work |

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Can I deduct meals at work as business meals?

Here is a typical scenario: you are eating alone and working at your desk. The meal has a cost whether it's a brown bag lunch or from a nearby restaurant. Since you're conducting business while you eat, you believe that the meal is deductible. Wrong! Even if you are the owner of the company, the meal is personal, so it's nondeductible on the tax return.

What are the rules for the business meals deduction?

The IRS does not allow a tax deduction for personal living expenses unless it falls under an exception. Qualifying business meals are an exception to the rule. However, the IRS meals and entertainment deduction requires you to satisfy several factors before you can list it as an eligible write-off on your tax return.
The IRS does not allow a tax deduction for personal living expenses...
Eating an everyday meal while you're at work doesn't rise above the rule against deducting personal expenses nor does it meet the deductibility rules for a business meal.

TIP: Each situation is different, it boils down to the facts and circumstances.

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