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  • Writer's pictureLaura Walker

Navigating Entertainment Expenses: What Small Businesses Need to Know

As a small business owner, managing your finances is crucial to the success of your enterprise. One area that often raises questions is entertainment expenses. While treating clients or employees to a night out at a sporting event or a concert used to be a common practice, tax regulations have changed significantly since 2018. In this blog post, we'll break down the rules surrounding entertainment expenses and clarify what is and isn't deductible. We'll also refer to the relevant IRS publication to ensure you have the most up-to-date information.

Changes in Entertainment Expense Deductibility

Before 2018, businesses could typically deduct expenses related to entertainment, including tickets to sporting events, concerts, golf outings, and other entertainment activities. However, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) introduced significant changes, and as a result, these expenses are generally no longer deductible.

IRS Publication 463: Travel, Gift, and Car Expenses

To find detailed information about entertainment expenses and their deductibility, you can refer to IRS Publication 463, "Travel, Gift, and Car Expenses." This publication provides comprehensive guidelines on various business expenses, including entertainment.

As of the TCJA changes, this publication clearly outlines that expenses for entertainment, amusement, or recreation are not deductible, whether they are directly related to the active conduct of your trade or business or associated with it. This includes the cost of tickets to sporting events, concerts, and other similar activities.

Meal Deductibility at Entertainment Venues

While the deductibility of entertainment expenses has become more restrictive, there's still good news for businesses that provide meals to clients, customers, or employees at entertainment venues. The IRS recognizes that food and beverage expenses often accompany entertainment activities, and it has retained the ability to deduct a portion of these costs.

According to IRS guidelines, you can generally deduct 50% of the cost of business meals incurred at entertainment events or venues where the primary purpose is the active conduct of your trade or business. This means that if you take a client out to dinner before or after a concert, for instance, 50% of the meal expenses can be claimed as a tax deduction.

Stay Informed and Compliant

Understanding the evolving tax regulations is essential for small business owners. While entertainment expenses have seen significant changes, it's crucial to remain informed and compliant with current tax laws. Let us help you navigate these complex rules and ensure you make the most of available deductions while staying on the right side of the law.

For more detailed guidance and the latest updates on business expenses, including entertainment, be sure to consult IRS Publication 463. And as always, when in doubt, reach out to us at any time!

If you have further questions or need assistance in managing your business finances, don't hesitate to reach out to us. We're here to help you make informed financial decisions.

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