Now that the NBA fiasco is settled, can you deduct the cost of tickets?
The answer is YES either as (1) business entertainment or (2) a business gift.
If you attend the game with the business client, the cost of the tickets can be deducted only as business entertainment. To qualify, the entertainment must be “directly related to” or “associated with” the conduct of business. A game that precedes or follows a substantial business discussion is “associated with”.
If you are like me and cannot attend all the games, and you give the tickets away to a client or potential client, you have a choice:
The expense may be deducted as business entertainment or a business gift.
Business Gift: The deduction for a business gift is limited to $25 per person a year.
Entertainment: There is no dollar limit on entertainment expenses, but only 50% of the cost is deductible.