Mark J Kohler is a wonderful resource for great tips on how to document your expenses during the year. Here is his list of “How To’s on Dining”

Start the Year Off Tracking Your Dining Properly
I challenge you to start off the New Year tracking your dining expenses more aggressively and accurately. It can save you THOUSANDS of tax dollars during the year and make you a better “business owner” in the process!! That’s right…here’s how:

Never eat alone. When you find yourself eating alone, think of all the strategic partners you could be networking with and talking business. You don’t have to ‘buy’ someone’s lunch to still talk about about ways to make money together.
Look for reasons to make it a ‘business meal‘. Bring up what you do for work. How you can make someone money. Talk about what you’re passionate about. Give out your business card. You never know what the lunch could turn into.
Here are a few tips that could add up to big savings at tax time next year

1. Start by watching my Video below. I highlight three options for writing-off dining. a) Dining with others, b) Dining by yourself, and c) Group expenses at the office or at workshops.

2. Take pictures of your receipts rather than scanning. It’s fast and easy and works as well as keeping the receipt. Set up an ‘App’ on your phone to capture all of your pictures in your 2016 Receipts Folder.

3. Remember Tips are Deductible as well. However, only 50% of the tips are deductible; just as the meal expense itself…unless you are tipping the facility where you held your live event.

Writing-off Your Dining Expenses 2017 & Earlier

4. The “Bar tab” is deductible too. Make sure you include it in your dining expense if you are ‘talking business’ over your drinks.

5. Keep in mind the IRS actually expects you to make a note on the receipt with a few details. Try to note things such as the time and place (usually included on the pre-printed receipt from the restaurant), the business purpose of the meal, and business relationship with the person entertained or dined with.

My suggestion: just do your best and make sure to take the write-off even if you didn’t write it on the receipt. If necessary, you can hopefully remember or consult your Outlook calendar as to who you were eating with and the business purpose. Check out my cool iPhone App that will help you track your receipts AND your auto mileage in 2016 Mark Kohler App.

Finally, remember to keep your New Year’s Resolution ‘diet’ while you take those deductions! Don’t let the ‘tail wag the dog’ justifying a higher more rich meal just because ‘it’s a write-off”.

Happy New Year!!

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