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Question
1. Is it true that I can take a lunch break in the middle of driving and write off my meal? 2. If I write off new my phone, and am not sure the exact percentage how much accumulates to work and not work, do I simply write off 50% of my purchase?
Answer

Hi there! Great questions.

1. No, unfortunately that is not true. Lunch breaks at work don’t typically count as business meals. A “business meal” must meet certain criteria to qualify as a write-off, and even then the deduction is limited to 50% in most cases. Check out our guide to business meals for more information.


2. Good news! Claim whatever seems reasonable. Historically, cell phones have been treated as “listed property,” meaning you have to allocate a portion as personal and a portion as business and keep a log to substantiate the amount you claim. In 2010, however, the IRS declassified cell phones as “listed property” under the Small Business Jobs Act, so you no longer have to prove the business use. This update was intended for freelancers like yourself to make business deductions easier. In other words, sky’s the limit! If you use your phone regularly for work, don’t be afraid to claim 100%. If you only use your phone occasionally for work, take the portion that seems reasonable. You won’t be required to produce a call log if the deduction is ever challenged, but it’s always a good idea to have an explanation handy to support your claim just in case.  

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Sarah York, EA

Sarah is a staff writer at Keeper Tax and has her Enrolled Agent license with the IRS. Her work has been featured in Business Insider, Money Under 30, Best Life, GOBankingRates, and Shopify. She has nearly a decade of public accounting experience, and has worked with clients in a wide range of industries, including oil and gas, manufacturing, real estate, wholesale and retail, finance, and ecommerce. Sarah has extensive experience offering strategic tax planning at the state and federal level. During her time in industry, she handled tax returns for C Corps, S corps, partnerships, nonprofits, and sole proprietorships. Sarah is a member of the National Association of Enrolled Agents (NAEA) and maintains her continuing education requirements by completing over 30 hours of tax training every year. In her spare time, she is a devoted cat mom and enjoys hiking, baking, and overwatering her houseplants.

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