If you are eating alone, you can only deduct your meal expenses if you are traveling. Traveling is defined by the IRS as when
"your duties require you to be away from the general area of your tax home (defined later) substantially longer than an ordinary day's work, and you need to sleep or rest to meet the demands of your work while away from home." In order to qualify, you must travel to the extent that you have to spend the night away from your tax home.
Your tax home is defined as "your regular place of business or post of duty, regardless of where you maintain your family home, and it includes the entire city or general area in which your business or work is located."
You must also subtract any reimbursement or meal allowances that you receive, unless the reimbursements are included in your taxable income.
Allowed Example: If you live and work regularly in Minneapolis, and you travel to Bemidji to do a show at the Paul Bunyan Playhouse for three weeks, you can deduct all of the meal expenses YOU require, but not meals that have no business relevance.
Not Allowed Examples: If you live and work regularly in Minneapolis, and you go to St. Cloud to do a show and then come back to Minneapolis after the show that same night, you cannot deduct meal expenses.
If you live and work regularly in Minneapolis, and after you rehearse a show in St. Paul, you spend the night at a friend's house in that same area, you cannot deduct meal expenses.
If you live and work regularly in Roseville, and are rehearsing a show in Minneapolis, and during break time you buy a sandwich for supper, you cannot deduct the cost of the sandwich.
Although there are times when you can deduct meal expenses for meals purchased for other people, most actors do not qualify for this deduction, as it is mainly intended for employers. For more information feel free to contact me.