Do you do most of your work sitting at a coffee shop? Since the coffee is technically work related, can you deduct it on your tax return?
Unfortunately the answer is no. You’re not able to deduct meals that you have with yourself even if you are working on business or thinking about business or building your business.
*What you can deduct*
The only time that you can deduct meals is if you are with someone (a client, potential client, etc.) and talking business or when by yourself is if you are traveling. These types of meals are subject to a 50% haircut on your tax return though, so you only really get to deduct 50% of all your meals expenses. This happens automatically on the tax return, so don’t worry about calculating the 50% non-deductible portion.
If you are putting together some sort of open house or customer appreciation event and you provide food and drinks, then those expenses are still 100% deductible. I would make sure to code those expenses as advertising and promotion or something similar and NOT meals expense.
*How this impacts your day-to-day accounting*
This all makes it really important to track your expenses correctly. For the meals that you have with clients or potential clients, classify those as meals and entertainment.
For meals while you are traveling, I would create a whole new expense account called “travel meals”.
I hope this helps clarify the meals deduction and gives you some guidance on how to keep track of what you’re spending on food for your business.