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Help filling out 1040x 2. Help filling out 1040x   Entertainment Table of Contents Directly-Related Test Associated TestMeetings at conventions. Help filling out 1040x 50% LimitExceptions to the 50% Limit What Entertainment Expenses Are Deductible?A meal as a form of entertainment. Help filling out 1040x Deduction may depend on your type of business. Help filling out 1040x Exception for events that benefit charitable organizations. Help filling out 1040x Food and beverages in skybox seats. Help filling out 1040x What Entertainment Expenses Are Not Deductible?Out-of-pocket expenses. Help filling out 1040x You may be able to deduct business-related entertainment expenses you have for entertaining a client, customer, or employee. Help filling out 1040x The rules and definitions are summarized in Table 2-1 . Help filling out 1040x You can deduct entertainment expenses only if they are both ordinary and necessary and meet one of the following tests. Help filling out 1040x Directly-related test. Help filling out 1040x Associated test. Help filling out 1040x Both of these tests are explained later. Help filling out 1040x An ordinary expense is one that is common and accepted in your trade or business. Help filling out 1040x A necessary expense is one that is helpful and appropriate for your business. Help filling out 1040x An expense does not have to be required to be considered necessary. Help filling out 1040x The amount you can deduct for entertainment expenses may be limited. Help filling out 1040x Generally, you can deduct only 50% of your unreimbursed entertainment expenses. Help filling out 1040x This limit is discussed later under 50% Limit. Help filling out 1040x Directly-Related Test To meet the directly-related test for entertainment expenses (including entertainment-related meals), you must show that: The main purpose of the combined business and entertainment was the active conduct of business, You did engage in business with the person during the entertainment period, and You had more than a general expectation of getting income or some other specific business benefit at some future time. Help filling out 1040x Business is generally not considered to be the main purpose when business and entertainment are combined on hunting or fishing trips, or on yachts or other pleasure boats. Help filling out 1040x Even if you show that business was the main purpose, you generally cannot deduct the expenses for the use of an entertainment facility. Help filling out 1040x See Entertainment facilities under What Entertainment Expenses Are Not Deductible? later in this chapter. Help filling out 1040x You must consider all the facts, including the nature of the business transacted and the reasons for conducting business during the entertainment. Help filling out 1040x It is not necessary to devote more time to business than to entertainment. Help filling out 1040x However, if the business discussion is only incidental to the entertainment, the entertainment expenses do not meet the directly-related test. Help filling out 1040x Table 2-1. Help filling out 1040x When Are Entertainment Expenses Deductible? General rule You can deduct ordinary and necessary expenses to entertain a client, customer, or employee if the expenses meet the directly-related test or the associated test. Help filling out 1040x Definitions Entertainment includes any activity generally considered to provide entertainment, amusement, or recreation, and includes meals provided to a customer or client. Help filling out 1040x An ordinary expense is one that is common and accepted in your trade or business. Help filling out 1040x A necessary expense is one that is helpful and appropriate. Help filling out 1040x Tests to be met Directly-related test Entertainment took place in a clear business setting, or Main purpose of entertainment was the active conduct of business, and You did engage in business with the person during the entertainment period, and You had more than a general expectation of getting income or some other specific business benefit. Help filling out 1040x   Associated test Entertainment is associated with your trade or business, and Entertainment is directly before or after a substantial business discussion. Help filling out 1040x Other rules You cannot deduct the cost of your meal as an entertainment expense if you are claiming the meal as a travel expense. Help filling out 1040x You cannot deduct expenses that are lavish or extravagant under the circumstances. Help filling out 1040x You generally can deduct only 50% of your unreimbursed entertainment expenses (see 50% Limit ). Help filling out 1040x You do not have to show that business income or other business benefit actually resulted from each entertainment expense. Help filling out 1040x Clear business setting. Help filling out 1040x   If the entertainment takes place in a clear business setting and is for your business or work, the expenses are considered directly related to your business or work. Help filling out 1040x The following situations are examples of entertainment in a clear business setting. Help filling out 1040x Entertainment in a hospitality room at a convention where business goodwill is created through the display or discussion of business products. Help filling out 1040x Entertainment that is mainly a price rebate on the sale of your products (such as a restaurant owner providing an occasional free meal to a loyal customer). Help filling out 1040x Entertainment of a clear business nature occurring under circumstances where there is no meaningful personal or social relationship between you and the persons entertained. Help filling out 1040x An example is entertainment of business and civic leaders at the opening of a new hotel or play when the purpose is to get business publicity rather than to create or maintain the goodwill of the persons entertained. Help filling out 1040x Expenses not considered directly related. Help filling out 1040x   Entertainment expenses generally are not considered directly related if you are not there or in situations where there are substantial distractions that generally prevent you from actively conducting business. Help filling out 1040x The following are examples of situations where there are substantial distractions. Help filling out 1040x A meeting or discussion at a nightclub, theater, or sporting event. Help filling out 1040x A meeting or discussion during what is essentially a social gathering, such as a cocktail party. Help filling out 1040x A meeting with a group that includes persons who are not business associates at places such as cocktail lounges, country clubs, golf clubs, athletic clubs, or vacation resorts. Help filling out 1040x Associated Test Even if your expenses do not meet the directly-related test, they may meet the associated test. Help filling out 1040x To meet the associated test for entertainment expenses (including entertainment-related meals), you must show that the entertainment is: Associated with the active conduct of your trade or business, and Directly before or after a substantial business discussion (defined later). Help filling out 1040x Associated with trade or business. Help filling out 1040x   Generally, an expense is associated with the active conduct of your trade or business if you can show that you had a clear business purpose for having the expense. Help filling out 1040x The purpose may be to get new business or to encourage the continuation of an existing business relationship. Help filling out 1040x Substantial business discussion. Help filling out 1040x   Whether a business discussion is substantial depends on the facts of each case. Help filling out 1040x A business discussion will not be considered substantial unless you can show that you actively engaged in the discussion, meeting, negotiation, or other business transaction to get income or some other specific business benefit. Help filling out 1040x   The meeting does not have to be for any specified length of time, but you must show that the business discussion was substantial in relation to the meal or entertainment. Help filling out 1040x It is not necessary that you devote more time to business than to entertainment. Help filling out 1040x You do not have to discuss business during the meal or entertainment. Help filling out 1040x Meetings at conventions. Help filling out 1040x   You are considered to have a substantial business discussion if you attend meetings at a convention or similar event, or at a trade or business meeting sponsored and conducted by a business or professional organization. Help filling out 1040x However, your reason for attending the convention or meeting must be to further your trade or business. Help filling out 1040x The organization that sponsors the convention or meeting must schedule a program of business activities that is the main activity of the convention or meeting. Help filling out 1040x Directly before or after business discussion. Help filling out 1040x   If the entertainment is held on the same day as the business discussion, it is considered to be held directly before or after the business discussion. Help filling out 1040x   If the entertainment and the business discussion are not held on the same day, you must consider the facts of each case to see if the associated test is met. Help filling out 1040x Among the facts to consider are the place, date, and duration of the business discussion. Help filling out 1040x If you or your business associates are from out of town, you must also consider the dates of arrival and departure, and the reasons the entertainment and the discussion did not take place on the same day. Help filling out 1040x Example. Help filling out 1040x A group of business associates comes from out of town to your place of business to hold a substantial business discussion. Help filling out 1040x If you entertain those business guests on the evening before the business discussion, or on the evening of the day following the business discussion, the entertainment generally is considered to be held directly before or after the discussion. Help filling out 1040x The expense meets the associated test. Help filling out 1040x 50% Limit In general, you can deduct only 50% of your business-related meal and entertainment expenses. Help filling out 1040x (If you are subject to the Department of Transportation's “hours of service” limits, you can deduct 80% of your business-related meal and entertainment expenses. Help filling out 1040x See Individuals subject to “hours of service” limits , later. Help filling out 1040x ) The 50% limit applies to employees or their employers, and to self-employed persons (including independent contractors) or their clients, depending on whether the expenses are reimbursed. Help filling out 1040x Figure A summarizes the general rules explained in this section. Help filling out 1040x The 50% limit applies to business meals or entertainment expenses you have while: Traveling away from home (whether eating alone or with others) on business, Entertaining customers at your place of business, a restaurant, or other location, or Attending a business convention or reception, business meeting, or business luncheon at a club. Help filling out 1040x Included expenses. Help filling out 1040x   Expenses subject to the 50% limit include: Taxes and tips relating to a business meal or entertainment activity, Cover charges for admission to a nightclub, Rent paid for a room in which you hold a dinner or cocktail party, and Amounts paid for parking at a sports arena. Help filling out 1040x However, the cost of transportation to and from a business meal or a business-related entertainment activity is not subject to the 50% limit. Help filling out 1040x Figure A. Help filling out 1040x Does the 50% Limit Apply to Your Expenses? There are exceptions to these rules. Help filling out 1040x See Exceptions to the 50% Limit . Help filling out 1040x Please click here for the text description of the image. Help filling out 1040x Figure A. Help filling out 1040x Does the 50% limit apply to Your Expenses?TAs for Figure A are: Notice 87-23; Form 2106 instructions Application of 50% limit. Help filling out 1040x   The 50% limit on meal and entertainment expenses applies if the expense is otherwise deductible and is not covered by one of the exceptions discussed later. Help filling out 1040x   The 50% limit also applies to certain meal and entertainment expenses that are not business related. Help filling out 1040x It applies to meal and entertainment expenses you have for the production of income, including rental or royalty income. Help filling out 1040x It also applies to the cost of meals included in deductible educational expenses. Help filling out 1040x When to apply the 50% limit. Help filling out 1040x   You apply the 50% limit after determining the amount that would otherwise qualify for a deduction. Help filling out 1040x You first have to determine the amount of meal and entertainment expenses that would be deductible under the other rules discussed in this publication. Help filling out 1040x Example 1. Help filling out 1040x You spend $200 for a business-related meal. Help filling out 1040x If $110 of that amount is not allowable because it is lavish and extravagant, the remaining $90 is subject to the 50% limit. Help filling out 1040x Your deduction cannot be more than $45 (50% × $90). Help filling out 1040x Example 2. Help filling out 1040x You purchase two tickets to a concert and give them to a client. Help filling out 1040x You purchased the tickets through a ticket agent. Help filling out 1040x You paid $200 for the two tickets, which had a face value of $80 each ($160 total). Help filling out 1040x Your deduction cannot be more than $80 (50% × $160). Help filling out 1040x Exceptions to the 50% Limit Generally, business-related meal and entertainment expenses are subject to the 50% limit. Help filling out 1040x Figure A can help you determine if the 50% limit applies to you. Help filling out 1040x Expenses not subject to 50% limit. Help filling out 1040x   Your meal or entertainment expense is not subject to the 50% limit if the expense meets one of the following exceptions. Help filling out 1040x 1 - Employee's reimbursed expenses. Help filling out 1040x   If you are an employee, you are not subject to the 50% limit on expenses for which your employer reimburses you under an accountable plan. Help filling out 1040x Accountable plans are discussed in chapter 6. Help filling out 1040x 2 - Self-employed. Help filling out 1040x   If you are self-employed, your deductible meal and entertainment expenses are not subject to the 50% limit if all of the following requirements are met. Help filling out 1040x You have these expenses as an independent contractor. Help filling out 1040x Your customer or client reimburses you or gives you an allowance for these expenses in connection with services you perform. Help filling out 1040x You provide adequate records of these expenses to your customer or client. Help filling out 1040x (See chapter 5 . Help filling out 1040x )   In this case, your client or customer is subject to the 50% limit on the expenses. Help filling out 1040x Example. Help filling out 1040x You are a self-employed attorney who adequately accounts for meal and entertainment expenses to a client who reimburses you for these expenses. Help filling out 1040x You are not subject to the directly-related or associated test, nor are you subject to the 50% limit. Help filling out 1040x If the client can deduct the expenses, the client is subject to the 50% limit. Help filling out 1040x If you (as an independent contractor) have expenses for meals and entertainment related to providing services for a client but do not adequately account for and seek reimbursement from the client for those expenses, you are subject to the directly-related or associated test and to the 50% limit. Help filling out 1040x 3 - Advertising expenses. Help filling out 1040x   You are not subject to the 50% limit if you provide meals, entertainment, or recreational facilities to the general public as a means of advertising or promoting goodwill in the community. Help filling out 1040x For example, neither the expense of sponsoring a television or radio show nor the expense of distributing free food and beverages to the general public is subject to the 50% limit. Help filling out 1040x 4 - Sale of meals or entertainment. Help filling out 1040x   You are not subject to the 50% limit if you actually sell meals, entertainment, goods and services, or use of facilities to the public. Help filling out 1040x For example, if you run a nightclub, your expense for the entertainment you furnish to your customers, such as a floor show, is not subject to the 50% limit. Help filling out 1040x 5 - Charitable sports event. Help filling out 1040x   You are not subject to the 50% limit if you pay for a package deal that includes a ticket to a qualified charitable sports event. Help filling out 1040x For the conditions the sports event must meet, see Exception for events that benefit charitable organizations under What Entertainment Expenses Are Deductible?, later. Help filling out 1040x Individuals subject to “hours of service” limits. Help filling out 1040x   You can deduct a higher percentage of your meal expenses while traveling away from your tax home if the meals take place during or incident to any period subject to the Department of Transportation's “hours of service” limits. Help filling out 1040x The percentage is 80%. Help filling out 1040x   Individuals subject to the Department of Transportation's “hours of service” limits include the following persons. Help filling out 1040x Certain air transportation workers (such as pilots, crew, dispatchers, mechanics, and control tower operators) who are under Federal Aviation Administration regulations. Help filling out 1040x Interstate truck operators and bus drivers who are under Department of Transportation regulations. Help filling out 1040x Certain railroad employees (such as engineers, conductors, train crews, dispatchers, and control operations personnel) who are under Federal Railroad Administration regulations. Help filling out 1040x Certain merchant mariners who are under Coast Guard regulations. Help filling out 1040x What Entertainment Expenses Are Deductible? This section explains different types of entertainment expenses you may be able to deduct. Help filling out 1040x Entertainment. Help filling out 1040x   Entertainment includes any activity generally considered to provide entertainment, amusement, or recreation. Help filling out 1040x Examples include entertaining guests at nightclubs; at social, athletic, and sporting clubs; at theaters; at sporting events; on yachts; or on hunting, fishing, vacation, and similar trips. Help filling out 1040x   Entertainment also may include meeting personal, living, or family needs of individuals, such as providing meals, a hotel suite, or a car to customers or their families. Help filling out 1040x A meal as a form of entertainment. Help filling out 1040x   Entertainment includes the cost of a meal you provide to a customer or client, whether the meal is a part of other entertainment or by itself. Help filling out 1040x A meal expense includes the cost of food, beverages, taxes, and tips for the meal. Help filling out 1040x To deduct an entertainment-related meal, you or your employee must be present when the food or beverages are provided. Help filling out 1040x    You cannot claim the cost of your meal both as an entertainment expense and as a travel expense. Help filling out 1040x    Meals sold in the normal course of your business are not considered entertainment. Help filling out 1040x Deduction may depend on your type of business. Help filling out 1040x   Your kind of business may determine if a particular activity is considered entertainment. Help filling out 1040x For example, if you are a dress designer and have a fashion show to introduce your new designs to store buyers, the show generally is not considered entertainment. Help filling out 1040x This is because fashion shows are typical in your business. Help filling out 1040x But, if you are an appliance distributor and hold a fashion show for the spouses of your retailers, the show generally is considered entertainment. Help filling out 1040x Separating costs. Help filling out 1040x   If you have one expense that includes the costs of entertainment and other services (such as lodging or transportation), you must allocate that expense between the cost of entertainment and the cost of other services. Help filling out 1040x You must have a reasonable basis for making this allocation. Help filling out 1040x For example, you must allocate your expenses if a hotel includes entertainment in its lounge on the same bill with your room charge. Help filling out 1040x Taking turns paying for meals or entertainment. Help filling out 1040x   If a group of business acquaintances takes turns picking up each others' meal or entertainment checks primarily for personal reasons, without regard to whether any business purposes are served, no member of the group can deduct any part of the expense. Help filling out 1040x Lavish or extravagant expenses. Help filling out 1040x   You cannot deduct expenses for entertainment that are lavish or extravagant. Help filling out 1040x An expense is not considered lavish or extravagant if it is reasonable considering the facts and circumstances. Help filling out 1040x Expenses will not be disallowed just because they are more than a fixed dollar amount or take place at deluxe restaurants, hotels, nightclubs, or resorts. Help filling out 1040x Allocating between business and nonbusiness. Help filling out 1040x   If you entertain business and nonbusiness individuals at the same event, you must divide your entertainment expenses between business and nonbusiness. Help filling out 1040x You can deduct only the business part. Help filling out 1040x If you cannot establish the part of the expense for each person participating, allocate the expense to each participant on a pro rata basis. Help filling out 1040x Example. Help filling out 1040x You entertain a group of individuals that includes yourself, three business prospects, and seven social guests. Help filling out 1040x Only 4/11 of the expense qualifies as a business entertainment expense. Help filling out 1040x You cannot deduct the expenses for the seven social guests because those costs are nonbusiness expenses. Help filling out 1040x Trade association meetings. Help filling out 1040x   You can deduct entertainment expenses that are directly related to and necessary for attending business meetings or conventions of certain exempt organizations if the expenses of your attendance are related to your active trade or business. Help filling out 1040x These organizations include business leagues, chambers of commerce, real estate boards, trade associations, and professional associations. Help filling out 1040x Entertainment tickets. Help filling out 1040x   Generally, you cannot deduct more than the face value of an entertainment ticket, even if you paid a higher price. Help filling out 1040x For example, you cannot deduct service fees you pay to ticket agencies or brokers or any amount over the face value of the tickets you pay to scalpers. Help filling out 1040x Exception for events that benefit charitable organizations. Help filling out 1040x   Different rules apply when the cost of a ticket to a sports event benefits a charitable organization. Help filling out 1040x You can take into account the full cost you pay for the ticket, even if it is more than the face value, if all of the following conditions apply. Help filling out 1040x The event's main purpose is to benefit a qualified charitable organization. Help filling out 1040x The entire net proceeds go to the charity. Help filling out 1040x The event uses volunteers to perform substantially all the event's work. Help filling out 1040x    The 50% limit on entertainment does not apply to any expense for a package deal that includes a ticket to such a charitable sports event. Help filling out 1040x Example 1. Help filling out 1040x You purchase tickets to a golf tournament organized by the local volunteer fire company. Help filling out 1040x All net proceeds will be used to buy new fire equipment. Help filling out 1040x The volunteers will run the tournament. Help filling out 1040x You can deduct the entire cost of the tickets as a business expense if they otherwise qualify as an entertainment expense. Help filling out 1040x Example 2. Help filling out 1040x You purchase tickets to a college football game through a ticket broker. Help filling out 1040x After having a business discussion, you take a client to the game. Help filling out 1040x Net proceeds from the game go to colleges that qualify as charitable organizations. Help filling out 1040x However, since the colleges also pay individuals to perform services, such as coaching and recruiting, you can only use the face value of the tickets in determining your business deduction. Help filling out 1040x Skyboxes and other private luxury boxes. Help filling out 1040x   If you rent a skybox or other private luxury box for more than one event at the same sports arena, you generally cannot deduct more than the price of a nonluxury box seat ticket. Help filling out 1040x   To determine whether a skybox has been rented for more than one event, count each game or other performance as one event. Help filling out 1040x For example, renting a skybox for a series of playoff games is considered renting it for more than one event. Help filling out 1040x All skyboxes you rent in the same arena, along with any rentals by related parties, are considered in making this determination. Help filling out 1040x   Related parties include: Family members (spouses, ancestors, and lineal descendants), Parties who have made a reciprocal arrangement involving the sharing of skyboxes, Related corporations, A partnership and its principal partners, and A corporation and a partnership with common ownership. Help filling out 1040x Example. Help filling out 1040x You pay $3,000 to rent a 10-seat skybox at Team Stadium for three baseball games. Help filling out 1040x The cost of regular nonluxury box seats at each event is $30 a seat. Help filling out 1040x You can deduct (subject to the 50% limit) $900 ((10 seats × $30 each) × 3 events). Help filling out 1040x Food and beverages in skybox seats. Help filling out 1040x   If expenses for food and beverages are separately stated, you can deduct these expenses in addition to the amounts allowable for the skybox, subject to the requirements and limits that apply. Help filling out 1040x The amounts separately stated for food and beverages must be reasonable. Help filling out 1040x You cannot inflate the charges for food and beverages to avoid the limited deduction for skybox rentals. Help filling out 1040x What Entertainment Expenses Are Not Deductible? This section explains different types of entertainment expenses you generally may not be able to deduct. Help filling out 1040x Club dues and membership fees. Help filling out 1040x   You cannot deduct dues (including initiation fees) for membership in any club organized for: Business, Pleasure, Recreation, or Other social purpose. Help filling out 1040x This rule applies to any membership organization if one of its principal purposes is either: To conduct entertainment activities for members or their guests, or To provide members or their guests with access to entertainment facilities, discussed later. Help filling out 1040x   The purposes and activities of a club, not its name, will determine whether or not you can deduct the dues. Help filling out 1040x You cannot deduct dues paid to: Country clubs, Golf and athletic clubs, Airline clubs, Hotel clubs, and Clubs operated to provide meals under circumstances generally considered to be conducive to business discussions. Help filling out 1040x Entertainment facilities. Help filling out 1040x   Generally, you cannot deduct any expense for the use of an entertainment facility. Help filling out 1040x This includes expenses for depreciation and operating costs such as rent, utilities, maintenance, and protection. Help filling out 1040x   An entertainment facility is any property you own, rent, or use for entertainment. Help filling out 1040x Examples include a yacht, hunting lodge, fishing camp, swimming pool, tennis court, bowling alley, car, airplane, apartment, hotel suite, or home in a vacation resort. Help filling out 1040x Out-of-pocket expenses. Help filling out 1040x   You can deduct out-of-pocket expenses, such as for food and beverages, catering, gas, and fishing bait, that you provided during entertainment at a facility. Help filling out 1040x These are not expenses for the use of an entertainment facility. Help filling out 1040x However, these expenses are subject to the directly-related and associated tests and to the 50% limit , all discussed earlier. Help filling out 1040x Expenses for spouses. Help filling out 1040x   You generally cannot deduct the cost of entertainment for your spouse or for the spouse of a customer. Help filling out 1040x However, you can deduct these costs if you can show you had a clear business purpose, rather than a personal or social purpose, for providing the entertainment. Help filling out 1040x Example. Help filling out 1040x You entertain a customer. Help filling out 1040x The cost is an ordinary and necessary business expense and is allowed under the entertainment rules. Help filling out 1040x The customer's spouse joins you because it is impractical to entertain the customer without the spouse. Help filling out 1040x You can deduct the cost of entertaining the customer's spouse. Help filling out 1040x If your spouse joins the party because the customer's spouse is present, the cost of the entertainment for your spouse is also deductible. Help filling out 1040x Gift or entertainment. Help filling out 1040x   Any item that might be considered either a gift or entertainment generally will be considered entertainment. Help filling out 1040x However, if you give a customer packaged food or beverages that you intend the customer to use at a later date, treat it as a gift. Help filling out 1040x   If you give a customer tickets to a theater performance or sporting event and you do not go with the customer to the performance or event, you have a choice. Help filling out 1040x You can treat the tickets as either a gift or entertainment, whichever is to your advantage. Help filling out 1040x   You can change your treatment of the tickets at a later date by filing an amended return. Help filling out 1040x Generally, an amended return must be filed within 3 years from the date the original return was filed or within 2 years from the time the tax was paid, whichever is later. Help filling out 1040x   If you go with the customer to the event, you must treat the cost of the tickets as an entertainment expense. Help filling out 1040x You cannot choose, in this case, to treat the tickets as a gift. Help filling out 1040x Prev  Up  Next   Home   More Online Publications