Can I deduct those meals?

Many Doctors get confused about whether they can write off their meals and entertainment expenses. The common thought is that when purchasing these items for dinners with fellow Doctors or picking up some Tim Hortons for the nurses and residents that these should be deductible. You may also ask whether taking a few Doctors out to an NHL game should also qualify.  [Side note - generally, 50% of the expense will be deductible on your tax return (but you can let us worry about that).]

So let’s first deal with what questions you should ask yourself before agreeing to pay.

  1. Is this expense, in some way, going to help you earn income directly or indirectly?

  2. Is the amount you are paying reasonable? (ie. would someone else in the same situation thinking like a business person pay it?)

So, let’s say the above answers are yes and yes.

Here is what you need to do next.

  1. Save the receipt. 

  2. Jot down on the receipt (or in your receipt tracking system) who the meal/event was with and what you discussed. (this will be important should you be audited).

Then finally, you need to consider whether this expense is disallowed by the rules. There are specific items including:

  • Costs incurred for use of recreation facilities (think Golf) and club dues

  • Purchase of season tickets for sporting events(unless satisfactory proof is provided that the tickets are a promotional expense)

  • Meals claimed while on a vacation

Do you have a question about the meals you deducted? Or anything else? Email us at

Michael Sadovnick