Q. I received an invitation for a free meal at an investment seminar. Is this taxable if I go? B.R., Tinton Falls, N.J.
A. No. The event is governed by the tax rules for meal and entertainment expenses. Therefore, as the recipient of the meal, you don’t owe any income tax on this benefit. But it’s not completely “free”: Undoubtedly, you’ll have to listen to a sales pitch from a financial planner, plus you may have to endure follow-up contacts.
Tip: If you pay to attend an investment seminar or convention, you can’t deduct the cost, either.