The IRS has provided guidance related to the temporary 100-percent deduction for business meals provided by a restaurant. The Taxpayer Certainty and Disaster Tax Relief Act of 2020 ( P.L. 116-260) temporarily increased the deduction from 50 percent to 100 percent for a business’s restaurant food and beverage expenses for 2021 and 2022. All other food and beverage expenses are still subject to the 50 percent deduction limitation unless some other exception applies.

Restaurants Defined
According to the IRS’s guidance, a restaurant is a business that prepares and sells food or beverages to retail customers for immediate consumption. Note that the food and beverages do not need to be consumed on the premises for the 100-percent deduction to apply.

Restaurants are not businesses that predominantly sell pre-packaged food or beverages that are intended for later consumption. Food or beverages purchased from such businesses are still subject to the 50-percent deduction limitation. Examples of businesses that are not restaurants include grocery stores, specialty food stores, liquor stores, drug stores, convenience stores, newsstands, vending machines, or kiosks.

Restaurants are also not eating facilities located at an employer’s business that provide meals that are excluded from the employees’ gross income under Code Sec. 119, or that are considered a de minimis fringe under Code Sec. 132(e)(2). This also applies to eating facilities on the employer’s premises that are operated by a third party with regards to Reg. §1.132-7(a)(3).

Effective Date
This IRS guidance is effective for food and beverages purchases made after December 31, 2020, and before January 1, 2023.