Meals vs. Food as Business Expenses

When you’re just getting started in business, you may not know how the CRA feels about meal expenses. Here’s an excerpt from the CRA’s website under business expenses:

The maximum amount you can claim for food, beverages, and entertainment expenses is 50% of the lesser of the following amounts:

  • the amount you incurred for the expenses; or
  • an amount that is reasonable in the circumstances.

Of course, you need to capture this non-standard transaction appropriately in your bookkeeping records.

Recently a client asked me, “What about when I’m paying for food to be brought in when I’m putting on a training workshop?” In that case the food becomes part of the total workshop expenses because you are (or should be) recouping the cost as part of the workshop registration fee. In effect, you are reselling the food – much different than noshing steak and beer on the waterfront.