Take clients or conduct meetings out of the office any time you desire, just remember to pay from your own pocket! There is after all, no such thing as a free lunch. Entertaining clients is not a deductible taxation expense.
The best way to ensure you are not in breach of entertainment or dining rules is to bring food in house and conduct meetings in your regular workplace or meeting rooms. Finger food and light refreshments are considered to be a part of everyday work life and deductible expenses.
Food provided to staff during the course of their employment can be claimed, as most awards provide time for regular breaks to eat and drink.
Doing Business. Doing Lunch
Should you wish to provide a client with food whilst doing business, to ensure this is deductible it is a good idea to provide takeaway food in your normal workplace or meeting room. Other dining out options, whether they be a simple coffee or restaurant meal are governed by a complex set of rules. These may be as simple as the standard or star rating of the restaurant (the more expensive, the less likely the ATO will grant deductibility) or the application of FBT to the business owner or employees portion of the meal. Your wine, beer and spirits are of course, to be covered at your own personal cost.
Until the ATO catches up with the fact that the way business is done in the 21st century, don’t be caught out by slipping a few meal expenses into your deductions, be they personal or business tax deductions. Penalties for breaches are harsh and swift.
Your accountant, not your bookkeeper is qualified to answer your questions and make sure you don’t fall foul of the ATO in these matters. A phone call or email can save you time, worry and considerable expense.
Besides, takeaway options in Australia today are varied, healthy, tasty and represent food from every corner of the globe. Perhaps it is time you explored your local options!