De minimis meals
Any occasional meals that an employer provides and that are so inexpensive (taking into account how frequently you provide meals to your employees) that to account for them would be unreasonable or administratively impracticable, are considered “de minimis” benefits and are, thus, tax-free.
Examples of de minimis meals are:
- Coffee, doughnuts, or soft drinks;
- Occasional meal expenses are provided to an employee working overtime. However, the exclusion doesn’t apply to meal expenses based on the hours worked (for example, $2.00 per hour for each hour over 8 hours), or meals provided on a regular or routine basis. In such cases, these are taxable income for the employee;
- Occasional parties or picnics for employees and their guests