Are the gift baskets we gave to our business clients tax deductible?

December 09, 2015 by Dave Du Val, EA
Wrapped gift

Hey Dave,

We have our own marketing and design business. This year we ordered expensive gourmet chocolate gift baskets for each of our ten clients to thank them for making 2015 our most successful year ever. Each basket will cost almost $200.  Can we deduct the costs of these business gifts?

Harold and Maude

 

Dear Harold and Maude,

Congratulations to you both on your successful business year! While you will likely be able to deduct only a portion of the amount you are spending, I hope that doesn’t stop you from showing your appreciation to your clients.

The general rule is, you are allowed to deduct up to $25.00 of the costs of the business gifts you give to each person per year. This includes the recipient’s family members, unless you have a bona fide independent relationship with the family member as well. In other words, only $25.00 per family is allowed as a business gift deduction.

If there are multiple people who will be sharing the baskets and you have a bona fide business relationship with each of them, the amount of your deduction will depend on the number of people who share the gift.

As a married couple, you are considered one taxpayer for the purpose of this deduction, and therefore, the total amount you will be able to deduct for ten business clients is $25 X 10, or $250. If, however, there are five people you work with at each company who share the gift, you would be able to deduct $25 for each of them − $25 X 5 X 10, or $1,250 − or half of the $2,500 you will be spending on the baskets.

I wish you both continued success in 2016. And Happy Holidays!

Deductibly Yours,

Dave

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