Daycare Tax Tips


Standard Meal Rates for Family Child Care Providers

Optional rates for computing daycare food cost

Standard Meal Allowance Rates for 2017 income tax returns
(in the continental U.S.)

$1.31 for each breakfast
$2.46 for each lunch or supper
$0.73 for each snack

(up to 3 snacks per day for each child)

Alaska Meal Rates

Hawaii Meal Rates

Meal rates for other years are shown at the end of this article.
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Accurate meal and attendance records must be kept when using the standard meal rates. You may find this Meal Form from the Redleaf Press Calendar-Keeper helpful.

Family child care providers may deduct actual grocery cost as a business expense on their income tax return or you may use the standard meal rates provided in this article to calculate your food deduction. Using the standard meal rates is easier and safer, in case of an audit. If you have records showing attendance and meals served, the IRS will not contest a food deduction based on the standard rates. Meal rates must be used for both meals served at home and restaurant meals.

Standard meal allowance rates are updated and published annually on July 1 in the Federal Register. Here is this year's notice. Rates published in July are used to calculate the food deduction on your tax return for the NEXT calendar year. For example, rates published on July 1, 2015 apply to income tax returns filed for the 2015 calendar year. Don't be confused by the fact that meal rates are marked as effective from July 1 through June 30. This date range applies to Food Program reimbursements only, NOT income tax returns.

When deducting actual grocery cost, it can be difficult to prove which groceries were consumed by day care children and which groceries were consumed by your own family. Nevertheless, if actual grocery cost is likely to be greater than the meal allowance deduction, it is to your advantage to deduct your actual grocery costs.

When deducting actual grocery costs, be sure to save ALL grocery receipts, even those for personal groceries AND personal restaurant meals. This is to prevent an auditor from claiming that business groceries were really consumed by your family.

When using the standard meal allowance rates, you only need to save grocery store receipts that show non-food deductible items.

Even if you aren't sure whether you will use the standard meal rates or actual grocery cost to compute your income tax food deduction, keep a daily record of all meals and snacks served (not just meals that you are reimbursed for by the Food Program). This way you can make the decision at tax time and take the highest food deduction allowable.

When using meal rates to calculate your income tax food deduction, you are entitled to count up to one breakfast, one lunch, one supper, and three snacks per day for each child in your care, but count only meals actually served. Food program rules regarding serving nutritious food and saving menus do not apply.

The rates shown below are for the continental United States. See separate postings for Meal Rates in Alaska and Meal Rates in Hawaii.

Standard Meal Allowance Rates for 2017 income tax returns
and for Tier I Food Program reimbursements from July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017
(in the continental U.S.)

$1.31 for each breakfast
$2.46 for each lunch or supper
$0.73 for each snack (up to 3 per day for each child)

Standard Meal Allowance Rates for 2016 income tax returns
and for Tier I Food Program reimbursements from July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2016
(in the continental U.S.)

$1.32 for each breakfast
$2.48 for each lunch or supper
$0.74 for each snack (up to 3 per day for each child)

Standard Meal Allowance Rates for 2015 income tax returns
and for Tier I Food Program reimbursements from July 1, 2014 to June 30, 2015
(in the continental U.S.)

$1.31 for each breakfast
$2.47 for each lunch or supper
$0.73 for each snack (up to 3 per day for each child)

Standard Meal Allowance Rates for 2014 income tax returns
and for Tier I Food Program reimbursements from July 1, 2013 to June 30, 2014
(in the continental U.S.)

$1.28 for each breakfast
$2.40 for each lunch or supper
$0.71 for each snack (up to 3 per day for each child)

Standard Meal Allowance Rates for 2013 income tax returns
and for Tier I Food Program reimbursements from July 1, 2012 to June 30, 2013
(in the continental U.S.)

$1.27 for each breakfast
$2.38 for each lunch or supper
$0.71 for each snack (up to 3 per day for each child)

Standard Meal Allowance Rates for 2012 income tax returns
and for Tier I Food Program reimbursements from July 1, 2011 to June 30, 2012
(in the continental U.S.)

$1.24 for each breakfast
$2.32 for each lunch or supper
$0.69 for each snack (up to 3 per day for each child)

Standard Meal Allowance Rates for 2011 income tax returns
and for Tier I Food Program reimbursements from July 1, 2010 to June 30, 2011
(in the continental U.S.)

$1.19 for each breakfast
$2.22 for each lunch or supper
$0.66 for each snack (up to 3 per day for each child)

Standard Meal Allowance Rates for 2010 income tax returns
and for Tier I Food Program reimbursements from July 1, 2009 to June 30, 2010
(in the continental U.S.)

$1.19 for each breakfast
$2.21 for each lunch or supper
$0.66 for each snack (up to 3 per day for each child)

Standard Meal Allowance Rates for 2009 income tax returns
and for Tier I Food Program reimbursements from July 1, 2008 to June 30, 2009
(in the continental U.S.)

$1.17 for each breakfast
$2.18 for each lunch or supper
$0.65 for each snack (up to 3 per day for each child)

Standard Meal Allowance Rates for 2008 income tax returns
and for Tier I Food Program reimbursements from July 1, 2007 to June 30, 2008
(in the continental U.S.)

$1.11 for each breakfast
$2.06 for each lunch or supper
$0.61 for each snack (up to 3 per day for each child)

Standard Meal Allowance Rates for 2007 income tax returns
and for Tier I Food Program reimbursements from July 1, 2006 to June 30, 2007
(in the continental U.S.)

$1.06 for each breakfast
$1.97 for each lunch or supper
$0.58 for each snack (up to 3 per day for each child)

Standard Meal Allowance Rates for 2006 income tax returns
and for Tier I Food Program reimbursements from July 1, 2005 to June 30, 2006
(in the continental U.S.)

$1.06 for each breakfast
$1.96 for each lunch or supper
$0.58 for each snack (up to 3 per day for each child)

Standard Meal Allowance Rates for 2005 income tax returns
and for Tier I Food Program reimbursements from July 1, 2004 to June 30, 2005
(in the continental U.S.)

$1.04 for each breakfast
$1.92 for each lunch or supper
$0.57 for each snack (up to 3 per day for each child)


Last updated 29 November 2017

Posted on 2008-08-14 22:04:40

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