Cook Fast, Live Young: Five Tax Deductible Food Items
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When working on our taxes, we're all looking for new deductions. There's one area that you may be overlooking: food. Most of the food you purchase isn't tax deductible, but there are a few instances where it can be. I'm not a tax professional, so be sure to check with your accountant to make sure you are following the tax code properly.
Business-related Food and Drink
This can be a great deduction for small business owners who are doing a lot of networking and hobnobbing. Grabbing a drink at a networking event, going to a coffee meeting, or taking a client out to lunch? You might be able to deduct 50% of the expense.
Food Eaten During Business Travel
Everything from breakfast to dinner! Again, the deduction is 50% and restricted to 2% of your adjusted gross income. For truck operators and some air transportation works, you can deduct 80%. And of course, you can't deduct it if you are reimbursed by your employer and you must keep records of your purchases.
Got a bottle of wine for a client? You may be able to deduct the expense. Keep in mind that the maximum you can deduct per client per year is $25.
If you donate food to charity, you can deduct the amount that you spent to purchase the food or the "fair market value" if you grew or made it yourself.
Gluten-free Foods for Sufferers of Celiac Disease
If you have an official diagnosis, you can write off the expense of your special diet. In order to claim the deduction, your medical expense, including the gluten-free food items, must exceed 7.5% of your adjusted gross income less any insurance reimbursements. Think you qualify? You'll need receipts as proof. To make life easier, you may want to pay for the gluten-free items separately. That way, you can just hold on to those receipts and tally them up at the end of the year. Many people aren't able to reach that 7.5% figure. If that's you, you may want to find out if your company has a Flexible Spending Account. Your gluten-free food purchases will count towards that.
Juliana Weiss-Roessler has ten years of professional writing and editing experience. For four years, she managed the web content for the star of an Emmy-nominated reality series. Currently, she is an editor for the geek girl e-zine PinkRaygun.com, a contributor to the career blog at Resumark.com, and owner of the food blog CookFastLiveYoung.blogspot.com. Follow her @cookfast on Twitter and learn more about her work at WeissRoessler.com.