When can lunch be fully deducted?

It is common knowledge that a flat rate of 30% is not deductible for business-related entertainment expenses, including tips. This is the case when third parties such as customers, consultants, suppliers or cooperation partners are invited to a meal. What is less well known is that costs for food and drinks at company events such as employee training courses, presentations, staff appraisals and, to a certain extent, company parties (i.e. events without external parties) are fully deductible. This applies to pizza service as well as invitations to restaurants. In order for us to be able to recognize this for accounting purposes and not book the invoice as entertainment expenses and reduce it by 30%, we must be provided with additional information on or next to the restaurant receipt.

If external business partners and your own employees are invited to a meal, the 30% deduction unfortunately applies. However, company events can be split. Anyone who goes out to eat alone on business trips must check to what extent their employer will reimburse these costs. If the employer does not cover the costs, they can be claimed by the employee in their income tax return as part of the statutory additional meal expenses. Last but not least, it should be noted that drinks and luxury foods provided by the employer for employees to consume at work are favors that are not part of the employee’s salary and for which the 30% rate does not have to be reduced.