Ministers should be reimbursed for entertainment expenses as these are greatly reduced when taken to the tax return.  When reimbursement is not available these expenses may be included on the tax return.

RESTAURANT MEALS: The cost of meals when entertaining out-of-town ministry guests (visiting missionary, evangelist, etc.) is deductible.  The cost of children’s meals are never deductible.

IN-HOME ENTERTAINING: Most ministers provide substantial entertaining in their home.  The main expense of entertaining is the cost of meals and those meals usually consist of items which you have on hand rather than items which you purchase for the occasion.  For this reason many pastors find it more convenient to use a per diem rather than an actual amount.  Depending on your circumstances a reasonable per diem for a complete dinner might vary between $6 to $8 per person.  Afternoon meetings with refreshments or after evening snacks for the youth group might vary between $1.50 to $2.50 per person.  If you purchase many items during one visit to the grocery store you might wish to keep your receipt to validate the per diem amount you use.

Attention: Tax Law is subject to interpretation. Please be advised that the material contained on this Web site is for information only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional legal advice. The Stewardship Services Foundation endeavors to update the information on this site on a regular basis, but cannot guarantee its accuracy at all times.