In Face-off With IRS, the Boston Bruins Win Big – Laura Saunders July 7, 2017 5:30 a.m. ET


Hockey team prevails in tax case about deducting cost of meals, a ruling that could have wide impact

The owners of the Boston Bruins, whose players include Patrice Bergeron, above, won a tax case that experts say could have broad implications.

The owners of the Boston Bruins, whose players include Patrice Bergeron, above, won a tax case that experts say could have broad implications. Photo: John Russell/NHLI/Getty Images

​The Boston Bruins ruled the world of professional hockey six years ago when they last won the Stanley Cup. But the team’s victory last week over the Internal Revenue Service will likely resonate far beyond the rink.

In Jacobs v. Commissioner, the owners of the National Hockey League’s Bruins argued the team should be able to deduct 100% of the cost of certain meals they provided to players and staff. Under current law, only 50% of the cost of many business meals is tax-deductible.

The Bruins’s victory has potentially opened up a new tax maneuver for many businesses. Now they may be able to write off twice as much as they thought allowable for meals provided to large groups at business meetings far from company headquarters.

“This decision goes completely for the taxpayer and opens the door to meal deductions that many people assumed weren’t possible,” says Eddie Adkins, national technical leader for employee benefits with accounting firm Grant Thornton.

A spokesman for the IRS, which still has time to appeal the decision, had no comment. A Bruins spokesman said, “We are pleased with the decision.”

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