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  Article one discusse s the guidance the IRS gave regarding changes to meals and entertainment deductibility   and Article two talks about the expiration of  2017 individual and C Corporation extensions.

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IRS offers guidance on meals and entertainment deduction after tax reform

When the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was signed into law at the end of 2017, Congress made an error in the law when they disallowed as a deduction business entertainment deductions (their actual goal). With all the craziness and stress of that time, they unintentionally also made most business meal expenses nondeductible (driving the whole tax community insane.)  After they realized what they had done, months have gone by with no technical corrections or other ways to make the old deduction standard of business meals allowable under tax reform.
The first ray of hope came when The Bradford Tax Institute asked the House Committee on Ways and Means the following:
We asked the House Committee on Ways and Means what it thought happened to tax deductions for business meals with clients and prospects.

Our question. "We just want to confirm that the TCJA's disallowance of entertainment as understood by the Ways and Means Committee included the disallowance of client and prospect meals and that there is no plan to change this."

Committee response. "The focus of the change in the TCJA is on entertainment expenses, with business meals subject to separate rules that were not modified. There are no plans for changes.

Further guidance will be provided in the ordinary course, including through regulations." 

Obviously, the response did not directly answer the question, but it did lay down two possible paths on how business meals with clients and prospects will become deductible without modification of the tax code. 

Path 1. Ordinary Course The ordinary course means what the Joint Committee on Taxation will say in its upcoming Blue Book explanations of the TCJA about business meals with clients and prospects. 

Earlier we noted that Veena Murthy, legislative counsel for the Joint Committee on Taxation, stated that the 50 percent deduction for meals is still the law and that the new prohibition is that meals considered entertainment are no longer deductible.

Path 2. Regulations For a glimpse of how the IRS might approach the regulations, examine the AICPA's recommendations. 

We briefly highlight two of the recommendations below. AICPA recommendation to the IRS: Clarify that under the TCJA, business meals with clients and prospects at restaurants are deductible, subject to the 50 percent cut. AICPA recommendation to the IRS: Clarify that under the TCJA, business meals with clients and prospects in a restaurant before, after, or during a sporting or entertainment event, whether inside or outside the venue, are deductible, subject to the 50 percent cut.

We don't know if the IRS will follow the AICPA recipe for deducting client and business meals. 

We don't know what the Joint Committee on Taxation will say about business meals with clients and prospects in its Blue Book explanation of the TCJA. 

We do know that both the House Ways and Means Committee and the Joint Committee on Taxation don't want to have the TCJA disallow tax deductions for business meals with clients and prospects. 

You have to take that as good news, albeit not in any way tax code definitive. As things stand now, hope that you'll find certainty that business meals with clients and prospects are deductible after the TCJA.

Copyright 2018, Bradford Tax Institute.

On Wednesday, October 3, as reported by Michael Cohn and Accounting Today:

"The Internal Revenue Service released guidance Wednesday on the business expense deduction for meals and entertainment in the wake of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which was supposed to eliminate deductions for expenses pertaining to activities generally considered entertainment, amusement or recreation.

The IRS said taxpayers can still deduct 50 percent of the cost of business meals if the taxpayer (or an employee of the business) is present at the meal, and the food or beverages aren't considered to be "lavish or extravagant." 

The meals can involve a current or potential business customer, client, consultant or a similar business contact. 

Food and beverages provided during entertainment events won't be considered entertainment if they're bought separately from the event.  

The Treasury Department and the IRS plan to publish proposed regulations that will clarify exactly when business meal expenses are deductible and what constitutes entertainment. 

Until those proposed regulations take effect, taxpayers can rely on guidance in  Notice 2018-76 , which the IRS issued Wednesday in conjunction with the announcement."

This is great news as almost all business meals that were deductible before remain deductible now, although some 100% deductible meals now may only be 50% deductible.

Considering what the tax law said, this is still a win for the taxpayer!!

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If you still have not done your personal or C Corporation tax filings for 2017, but filed a 6 month extension on April 17, your time has just about run out.

Extensions for both calendar year C Corps and individual 2017 taxes expire on October 15, so you only have a couple of weeks to get these filed.

If your tax preparer is like me, they are still swamped with taxes to prepare during this time (I have actually told people it is impossible to take on new work until after the extension expiration date.)

So you better get your tax documents together and make an appointment with your preparer, sooner rather than later!  Even if you owe tax, get your return filed, as the penalty for late filing is many times greater than the penalty for paying tax late.  Time to get a move on!

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Brian T. Stoner, CPA 
2600 W. Olive Ave., 5th Floor
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(818) 333-5095  CELL (818) 317-6035
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