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You Cannot Deduct Lobbying Expenses Beginning in 2018 by Adam Cohen, CPA

Posted on February 18, 2019

The new tax law in effect on Jan. 1, 2018, repeals the business deduction for lobbying local governments and their officials, including the Indian Tribal Governments.

While businesses are prohibited from deducting lobbying expenses on the federal and state levels, they previously could qualify to deduct the “ordinary and necessary” expenses they incurred to promote their agendas and yield influence over legislative issues on the local level, where there are a large number of local government bodies and officials as well as an array of different types of activities, transactions and interactions that may or may not qualify as lobbying.

As a result, it is imperative that business taxpayers begin to analyze and assess the expenditures they pay in 2018 to influence local governments, including, but not limited to, promoting or opposing zoning and other local law and regulation changes where the taxpayer has a direct interest, and communications with local government officials with respect to such activities. Careful attention should be paid to review the activities, arrangements and related agreements to determine whether lobbying expenditures are deductible under the new law.

The advisors and accountants with Berkowitz Pollack Brant work closely with businesses in the real estate, healthcare and hospitality industry to comply with complex tax laws while minimizing tax liabilities.

About the Author: Adam Cohen, CPA, is an associate director of Tax Services with Berkowitz Pollack Brant, where he works with closely held businesses and non-profit charities, hospitals and family foundations to maintain tax efficiency and comply with federal and state regulations. He can be reached at the CPA firm’s Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., office at (954) 712-7000 or via e-mail at info@bpbcpa.com.

 

Information contained in this article is subject to change based on further interpretation of tax laws and subsequent guidance issued by the Internal Revenue Service.

 

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