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Can Free Snacks at Work Pay Off for Your Business?

By Daniel Taylor, Esq. on August 13, 2014 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

As the saying goes: There's no such thing as a free lunch. But for your employees, a well-stocked snack closet or break room refrigerator can come pretty darn close.

Though the jury is still out on whether giving your employees access to snacks is doing their waistlines any favors, reports The New Republic, there's certainly no doubt that employees will avail themselves of free snacks and office coffee if you provide them.

But is providing free snacks in your office worth the expense?

Access to Office Food Boosts Morale, Productivity

Providing your employees with snacks is an easy, and relatively inexpensive way to boost your staff's morale, and in turn, their productivity.

According to Inc., 60 percent of more than a 1000 people surveyed by corporate caterer Seamless said that having food at the office makes them feel more "valued and appreciated."

The same percentage said available of office food would encourage them to eat with their colleagues, while 40 percent said that having food at the office would help reduce stress.

Snacks May Be Fully Tax Deductible

Providing your employees snacks, coffee and soft drinks may also be fully tax deductible.

Although most small-business tax write-offs are subject to a 50 percent deduction limit, generally a small business owner can deduct 100 percent of the following:

  • Employer-provided office coffee and snacks.
  • Refreshments provided for employee meetings and functions.
  • Snacks made available to customers such as coffee in the lobby or waiting room.

As with any small-business tax deduction, you should consult a tax attorney to be sure you qualify for this deduction and to find out what sort of documentation needs to be maintained.

Happy employees are generally productive employees. And the cost of a free-flowing coffee machine and well-stocked snack shelf seems like a small (tax-deductible) price to pay for that added productivity.

  • Need legal advice on how your small business should operate? Consult with an experienced business attorney about your options.

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