Business Lunch

Area Man Treats Colleague to Dinner, Drinks

The three-martini lunch has a long and mostly honorable history as a deductible business expense. As former President Gerald Ford once said, "Where else can you get an earful, a bellyful, and snootful at the same time?" Ford's successor, famed buzzkill Jimmy Carter, tried (and failed) to cut the deduction from 100% to 50%. The Tax Reform Act of 1986 succeeded in that goal, and today's business dinner has probably switched from martinis to white wine. But old habits die hard — check any happening lunch spot and you'll find happy diners eating partly on Uncle Sam's dime.