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Level 1

food blog research expenses

Can you expense a meal as research for a food blog? Would this be the same as just a meal expense? Is it different than entertainment or networking purposes?

3 Replies
Employee Tax Expert

food blog research expenses

Hi Eflint26

Based upon your information, you appear to be an independent food blogger.  If this is a legitimate business, then it would constitute as a business expense subject to IRS provisions for claiming it as a business expense.  IRS has specific provisions in determining meal expenses as they relate for a business or hobby.  I would research Pub. 463 to determine your eligibility for deducting these meals.

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Employee Tax Expert

food blog research expenses

To be deductible a business expense must be both ordinary and necessary.  "An ordinary expense is one that is common and accepted in your industry.  A necessary expense is one that is helpful and appropriate" for your business.  I think that purchasing a meal as research for a food blog would be deductible if you can explain that it is both ordinary and necessary for your business.  The 50% limitation on deducting meals is based on the assumption that you and a business contact shared a meal for a business purpose.  The meals you purchase for research for your food blog may be an exception to this rule if, again, you can clearly state and document the business and research purpose of the expense.

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Opus 17
Level 15

food blog research expenses

As an alternative view, I would be conservative here.  When an expense is both personal and business, you have to allocate the percentages and only claim the business portion.  This is most easily seen with business use of a personal car, where you allocate your expense based on mileage.  A sort-of-related example involves deducting medical expenses.  Suppose a paraplegic person buys a car with a hand control conversion.  Even though the hand controls are medically necessary, the entire car isn't a deductible medical expense, just the extra cost of the conversion compared to the normal car.  Lastly let's look at the origin of the 50% rule.  You can deduct 50% of your meals when traveling for work, but not when working in your home city.  That's because you have to eat when you are home and eating is a non-deductible personal expense, you can't deduct your lunch just because you buy it at a cafe instead of brown-bagging it from home.  But when traveling, your meal costs are recognizably higher -- you are away from your kitchen, you eat out more, etc.  So the IRS recognizes 50% of your meal costs as a travel expense when you are traveling away from home for work purposes.


Applying these principals to food blogging suggests you can only deduct the extra cost compared to eating personal meals.  The 50% rule might be a good compromise.


As I said, that's a conservative approach, and I am not your accountant paid to stand behind you in the rare chance you are audited. 

*Answers are correct to the best of my ability at the time of posting but do not constitute legal or tax advice.*
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