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How to Avoid a Sutter Attack on Business Meal Deductions

Audio version available here:

Length: approx. 1 min. 20 sec.

As a business owner, you are likely familiar with the practice of taking clients to lunch or dinner to establish or maintain professional relationships. Bonding over a good meal is a sure way to maintain a polite connection. When it comes time to pay the bill, you can either be gracious and take on the whole expense, or you and your client can decide to go Dutch and split the cost. Either way, you should then attempt to claim this expense as a business tax deduction, as it was a business meal. Simple right? Well, unfortunately, the IRS may not see it as such. Under the Sutter rule, the IRS can decide to reduce or eliminate your business meal deductions on the premise of these expenses not being in excess of your personal meals. This decision can come with next to no warning, as there are no specific triggers to set the IRS off and attack your business meal deductions. How can you avoid a Sutter attack? While there is no real way to know if the IRS will attempt to invoke the Sutter rule, you can preemptively defend yourself by keeping records of every business meal. Keep the receipt showing your payment, note the client or business acquaintance you shared the meal with, and give a short reason for the meal to have taken place. Following these tips should protect you in the event the IRS does try to invalidate your business meal expenses. Want more expert guidance on business expenses and the best way to deduct them on your tax return? Meet with a tax professional at XQ CPA! Make an appointment here to get started:, or give us a call at 832-295-3353.

Two business partners eat lunch together. Business woman is on left facing business man to the right.


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