posted Nov 23, 2011, 1:49 PM by Patty Langlois
In general, taxpayers may deduct ordinary and necessary business-related expenses for traveling away from home, entertaining clients and customers and giving gifts to customers, employees and others with whom they have a business association. An ordinary expense is an expense that is common and accepted in the taxpayer’s trade or business. A necessary expense is one that is appropriate for the business.
Taxpayers who deduct these expenses must exclude personal expenses when computing their deductions and must have documentation for the expense, including statement of the business purpose, names of the persons being entertained, date and location. In addition, generally only 50 percent of business meal and entertainment expenses can be deducted.
Expenses for entertaining clients, customers or employees may be deducted if they are both ordinary and necessary and meet one of the following tests:
Taxpayers who travel away from home on business may deduct related expenses, including the cost of reaching their destination, the cost of lodging and meals and other ordinary and necessary expenses. Taxpayers are considered “traveling away from home” if their duties require them to be away from home substantially longer than an ordinary day’s work and they need to sleep or rest to meet the demands of their work. The actual cost of meals and incidental expenses may be deducted or the taxpayer may use a standard meal allowance and reduced recordkeeping requirements. Regardless of the method used, meal deductions are generally limited to 50 percent as stated earlier. Only actual costs for lodging may be claimed as an expense and receipts must be kept for documentation.
Taxpayers may deduct some or all of the cost of gifts given in the course of their trade or business. In general, the deduction is limited to $25 for gifts given directly or indirectly to any one person during the tax year.
Expenses must be reasonable and appropriate; deductions for extravagant expenses are not allowable.