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View Diary: I am Tired of the Taxpayers Paying For Food For Rich People (229 comments)

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  •  Dinners and drinking are in no way (18+ / 0-)

    "legit" business expenses.  They're having a good time on the taxpayer 50% dime.

    "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

    by YucatanMan on Thu Sep 19, 2013 at 08:31:14 PM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  I worry (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      VClib, TheOrchid, hmi, Sparhawk, MGross

      That some of this mentality is a race to the bottom, you aren't working unless you are miserable mentality.  The corollary to this not a 'legit' business expense is to say that government agencies shouldn't be able to do it at all. According to the tax code excerpt that has been posted in these comments, these dinners are specifically prohibited from being lavish or extravagant, and yet people seem to be assuming they are exactly that.

      •  I've seen very very expensive dinners written off (25+ / 0-)

        as "business expenses."  The specific phrase is "quiet business meal" meaning this cannot be a nightclub or party setting.  However, quiet business meals can be quite expensive indeed.

        I don't get the "race to the bottom" aspect?  Any business, or business person, is welcome to spend as much as they want on dinner in any place, any time, or any way.

        The issue is whether a tax break should be given for the dinner. No, it should not. It is not a business expense in the same manner as the acquisition of raw materials, or renting office space, or buying equipment.  Dinners, cheap or fancy, are an option which any business may engage in at any time.

        But the taxpayers of the nation should not be forced to subsidize these dinners and expensive bottles of wine or liquor.

        The percentage of taxes paid by corporations and business has dropped dramatically over the last 40 years, while the share of overall taxes paid by individual taxpayers has gone up.

        THAT's your race to the bottom right there: loading the tax system on the backs of the middle class while outsourcing jobs, a time of unprecedented corporate profits and excessive executive compensation.

        "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

        by YucatanMan on Thu Sep 19, 2013 at 10:31:12 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Well said n/t (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          MKinTN, burlydee
        •  While we're at it, then (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          we might also prohibit nonprofits from using meals and other blandishments to lure in rich donors who then deduct their contributions. So, no more lavish charity dinners, golf tourneys, meetings at resort hotels, etc. Of course, the hospitality industry will take a severe hit and no doubt there will be layoffs and closures, and probably charities will take in a lot less money, but at least they won't be picking my pocket, providing luxury services to fat cats through the tax code. Fiat iustitia.

          •  Is the only reason rich people donate huge (0+ / 0-)

            amounts of money to lavish charity dinners the tax deduction they get?

            I don't know.

            But, personally, I believe they do it in order to show off their wealth, hob-nob with their peers, and act like important people.

            Charity auctions, for example, draw people who far over-pay for items, intentionally, and I believe it is to show everyone else there that they've got that much money to burn, rather than for the tax deduction.  Their taxes are already pretty well managed through trusts and other "dodges" which serve only the rich and not the rest of us.

            Status is the main motivation of the rich, if you ask me. But Your Mileage May Vary...

            "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

            by YucatanMan on Fri Sep 20, 2013 at 10:43:18 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  it all depends on where the IRS draws the line (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        VClib, mmacdDE, cardinal

        One man's extravagant is another's meager, and vice versa. Businesses do have legitimate meal and entertainment expenses. When I travel on business, I'm limited to $50 per day for meals. $15 for breakfast in the hotel, another $15 at lunch and you only have $20 for dinner. I have had expenses denied because they went over. So, you can skip breakfast, have a greasy macs lunch and have a nice dinner, or occasionally you can pick up the tab for your customer's dinner, easier if he's travelling too, as long as you don't do it too often, it's acceptable. Get your customer to pick up your tab the next night and you both get a break.

        I don't eat shitty food at home, I try to eat healthy. When I'm required to travel, I don't feel like I should also be required to eat shitty food just to keep the expenses down. They have me away from home evenings, maybe weekends, the least they can do for me is cover decent meals. And at $50 per day, that's far from extravagant.

        I know there's another side to the coin. The muckety mucks that fly in the corporate jets are staying in a different class of hotel and eating in a different class of restaurant then me, and spending a lot more money. If they operate under a different set of rules than me though, it's not published policy like the rules for me are.

        •  The IRS doesn't draw the line, the enforce (8+ / 0-)

          The lines drawn by congress.  

          Sounds like you receive a per diem rate for meals from your employer.  The per dime money you receive may even be considered as taxable income depending on your employers accounting method or it could be tax exempt money.  Refer to your W2.  A per diem isn't a business expense per se, it is a living expense.  

          By the way, $50/day is extravagant to people subsisting on $5/day.  

          •  per diem is most certainly a business expense. (5+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Pariah Dog, Sparhawk, MGross, mmacdDE, NYFM

            if you're travelling for the convenience of the employer (i think that's the term) then its deductible to the employer and not income to the employee.

            •  Like I said, it depends on the accounting method (0+ / 0-)

              Used by the employer, but either way, it isn't a business expense for the employee unless the employee spends more than the per diem allowed.  Then the employee could possibly write the additional expense off.

              If you are referring to the fact that the employer is paying for it, then of course it's a business expense.  But that wasn't the focus of the comment.  

          •  no I don't (0+ / 0-)

            and it doesn't sound that way. I clearly stated that I have a spending limit. I also clearly stated that expenses have been denied. What about that sounds like per diem pay?

            •  You stated you have a limit for your own meals, (0+ / 0-)

              That is a per diem rate.  Your company pays you $50/day for your meals while traveling.  You even compared that amount to what you pay for food when not traveling.  If that isn't a per diem rate then that is a very low sum for taking a business associate to dinner.

          •  and by the way, (0+ / 0-)

            to a very large extent, it's up to the IRS. Like any other agency of gov., congress passes laws that enables it to establish rules. The rules it establishes can be and are open to interpretation.

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