Guidance on Applying Per Diem Rules to Fully Deductible Restaurant Meals

The IRS issued guidance related to the application of the per diem rules under Rev. Proc. 2019-48 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.

Application of Per Diem Rules

Under Rev. Proc. 2019-48, taxpayers using the per diem rules to substantiate deductible food and beverage expenses must still apply the 50-percent limitation. According to the IRS guidance, taxpayers that follow Rev. Proc. 2019-48 may treat the entire meal portion of a the per diem or allowance as being attributable to food or beverages provided by a restaurant.

Effective Date

This IRS guidance is effective for the meal portion of per diem allowances for lodging and M&IE, or for M&IE only that are paid or incurred by an employer after December 31, 2020, and before January 1, 2023.