Saturday, November 28, 2015

Meals on the house at work


DEAR HARRY: I work for a suburban hospital. I have to be on the premises during my entire shift. This presents no problem, except at lunch time. I may not leave even for a fast-food break of 15 minutes. On the other hand, meals are available at the hospital free - no limit.

I have been hearing both ends of the taxable vs. nontaxable nature of this deal. I started the job last July and have no W-2 or 1099 that show the value of these meals. Incidentally, I make this my main meal of the day. What's the word from the horse's mouth?

WHAT HARRY SAYS: Harry the horse says that you're OK to omit this on your 1040. There are a number of similar situations where in-house meals are nontaxable fringe benefits. Yours is a case where you apparently must be there during meal periods for emergencies.

There are many more: hotel employees who live on the premises; those who may only have shortened lunch times; food-service employees who (for deductibility) must eat immediately before, after or during work hours; employees in remote locations with no other facilities; seamen, domestics, servicemen, hospital employees required to eat on premises; park employees who live rent-free on premises to prevent and detect vandalism.


Email Harry Gross at, or

write to him at Daily News, 801 Market St., Philadelphia, PA 19107.

Harry urges all his readers to give blood. Contact the American Red Cross at 800-Red Cross.

Daily News Personal Finance Columnist
We encourage respectful comments but reserve the right to delete anything that doesn't contribute to an engaging dialogue.
Help us moderate this thread by flagging comments that violate our guidelines.

Comment policy: comments are intended to be civil, friendly conversations. Please treat other participants with respect and in a way that you would want to be treated. You are responsible for what you say. And please, stay on topic. If you see an objectionable post, please report it to us using the "Report Abuse" option.

Please note that comments are monitored by staff. We reserve the right at all times to remove any information or materials that are unlawful, threatening, abusive, libelous, defamatory, obscene, vulgar, pornographic, profane, indecent or otherwise objectionable. Personal attacks, especially on other participants, are not permitted. We reserve the right to permanently block any user who violates these terms and conditions.

Additionally comments that are long, have multiple paragraph breaks, include code, or include hyperlinks may not be posted.

Read 0 comments
comments powered by Disqus
Also on
letter icon Newsletter