Changes to Fringe Benefits, Entertainment Expenses

Changes to Fringe Benefits, Entertainment Expenses

The tax reform legislation that Congress signed into law on December 22, 2017, was the largest change to the tax system in over 3 decades. The new tax code contains many provisions that will affect individual, estate, and corporate taxpayers. One of those changes, the elimination of a business-related deduction used for entertainment, amusement or recreation expenses, will make it costlier for business owners to entertain clients.Previously, if an entertainment or meal expense was related to or associated with the active conduct of a trade or business, it was deductible up to 50 percent. Under the new tax code, these expenses are now considered the cost of doing business. In the chart below, we have highlighted the major changes.

Activity

2017 Old Rules

2018 New Rules

Qualified client meal expenses

50% deductible

50% deductible

Qualified employee meal expenses

50% deductible

50% deductible

Meals provided for employer convenience

100% deductible

50% deductible

Client entertainment expenses

Event tickets

Qualified charitable events

50% deductible

50% deductible at face value of ticket

100% deductible

No deduction for entertainment expenses

Office holiday parties

100% deductible

100% deductible

The elimination of this deduction will impact business owners who are accustomed to treating clients to golf outings or providing clients with tickets to sporting events or concerts. Businesses will have to re-evaluate their entertainment expenses related to their trade or business, as these items are no longer 50 percent deductible.

In consideration of the elimination of this deduction, we recommend creating separate accounts for meals and entertainment expenses. Educating employees to separate their expenses will be vital as business meals will remain 50 percent deductible until 2025.

Entertainment expenses are notoriously targeted by auditors. Considering the law change, we anticipate these expenses to be a heightened area of concern during an audit. The professionals in our office can help ensure you are in compliance, call us today.

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