Know the $75 Rule for Business Expenses

The $75 rule applies to certain business expenses where you do not need a receipt. But we emphasize that this rule does not apply to all tax deductions.

Many taxpayers mistakenly apply the $75 rule to all their tax deductions, which can result in a significant loss of deductions and penalties. We encourage you to know the $75 rule and its limitations to avoid potential negative consequences.

IRS Reg. Section 1.274-5(c)(2)(iii) contains the $75 rule, and Notice 95-50 provides a clear explanation of what it applies to. The rule applies to business travel expenses, vehicle expenses, and gifts that cost less than $75. But remember that the $25 limit on deductions for business gifts applies, meaning the practical limit is $25.

It’s worth noting that your bank and credit card statements do not provide sufficient proof of expenses for tax purposes. You need to have both the receipt (proof of what you purchased) and the canceled check or credit card statement (proof of payment) to substantiate the expenditure.

While the $75 rule may allow you to avoid having a receipt for some expenses, it is crucial to document all your expenses properly. To document a $60 meal consumed during deductible business travel with or without a receipt, for example, you need to prove the amount spent, the date of the meal, and the name and location of the restaurant.

While you don’t need a receipt for the $60 travel meal, your documentation life is easy with a receipt.

We encourage you to keep all your receipts for tax purposes, as they often take less time to keep track of and are better evidence in the event of an IRS audit.