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Bruins still await Tax Court ruling on team-meal deductions

The Bruins are off to a 4-4 start this season. This puts them in the middle of the pack in the standings in a tough Atlantic Division led by the undefeated Montreal Canadiens.

But it isn’t only NHL hockey rinks where the Bruins are in action. They are also competing in the U.S. Tax Court. Their lawsuit against the IRS, seeking to fully deduct the expense of pregame team meals for players on the road, remains ongoing.

In this post, we will take a closer look at the Bruins’ argument.

We first wrote about the Bruins’ challenge to the IRS in our September 4 last year. We noted that employers are generally allowed to deduct only half of the cost of providing meals to employees. There are, however, some exceptions that allow employers to take deductions for the full cost.

For tax years 2009 and 2010, the Bruins deducted the full cost of mandatory pregame meals on the road. The teams’ position is that team meals aren’t merely to provide necessary nutrition for the upcoming game. The meals are also strategy and planning sessions, focused on refining the game plan to be executed on the opposing team’s ice.

In other words, the Bruins contend that though healthy food is provided, these are not really “meals” in the traditional sense. And further, when the team is on the road, the team hotel becomes the Bruins’ place of business.

The Tax Court still has not ruled on the Bruins’ case. For now, the faceoff between the IRS and America’s most historic hockey team continues.

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