IRS Clarifies That Most Business Meals Still 50 Percent Deductible

On October 3, 2018, IRS issued Notice 2018-76, that was welcome news for most business owners. The Notice provides transitional guidance on the deductibility of business meal expenses in light of the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act’s disallowance of deductions for entertainment expenditures. The TCJA repealed the “directly related” and “business discussion” exceptions to the overall prohibition to deduct entertainment expenses in § 274(a) (1) (A). Thus, beginning in 2018, entertainment expenses are no more deductible. It had been unclear whether business meals involving litigant or potential client fell into the entertainment category and therefore were swept into the disallowance.

Today’s Notice alleviates that concern. Citing legislative history, the Notice state governments that taxpayers generally may continue to deduct 50 percent of the meals and beverage expenses associated with working their trade or business. Until proposed regulations are effective, the Notice areas that taxpayers may rely on the assistance for the treatment under IRC § 274 of expenses for several business meals.

Other households without bull ox can pay Tuferu the same as fifteen Canadian dollars to plow one acre. Theft of cattle and sheep has turned into a serious issue in the region. Tuferu’s oldest brother sits up at night to guard the cattle with a rifle. Last year throughout a storm he made the mistake of going inside to sleep briefly and two of the biggest bull ox were stolen.

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Armed thieves come in vans during the night and take the stolen animals to the city to be sold. Theft of cattle and sheep has turned into a serious concern in the area. Women play an important income-generating role in the household also. Furthermore, to washing most of the clothing and preparing all the food, the women process rice and shea butter.

Processing rice approximately doubles its value, but the price of milling and transport consumes a portion of the profit. One plate of shea butter sells for the same as six Canadian dollars at the market in Kumbungu. Shea butter is utilized both in Ghana and for the production of soap internationally, chocolate and cosmetics.

Although I didn’t ask, I estimate the household produces three to five bowls weekly. They focus on a weekly cycle, the whole process taking a week, at which point they begin again. Preparing TZ (made from maize flour) for the entire household. Rice is parboiled to soften the husk and make it easier to mill. Once rice is parboiled, it is disseminated to dry in sunlight.

After milling the grain is winnowed by shedding it through the environment and allowing the breeze to blow the chaff (husk) away. Shea nuts are gathered from wild shea trees and carried to the home by women on their mind back. The outer green fruit of the shea nut may also be eaten and is quite sweet.

The shea nut must be boiled to soften the shell. After boiling the shea nuts are dried. The shells are damaged with a solid wood paddle. The shells are removed and the internal core is taken to the mill. It comes out looking like melted chocolate. It really is left and hardens into a paste.

The paste is whipped yourself. After whipping the ‘fluffy part’ is removed and later melts back to a liquid (ok, I’m not exactly clear with this part). The shea is boiled to make shea butter again. Finally it is collected in bowls to try the market. The yellow color is from adding some sort of tree leaf.