Are School Lunches Tax-Deductible?

School lunches may or may not be tasty, but never are tax deductible.
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No matter how many cafeteria hamburgers and hot dogs your children eat, their school lunch bill won't lead to a tax deduction. The Internal Revenue Service doesn't consider lunches as an eligible educational expense. Books and school supplies for grades K-12 can't be deducted either.


School Deduction Limitations

School lunches don't count because they're considered part of the normal educational experience. Likewise, tuition for kindergarten through high school doesn't qualify as a child and dependent care expense because it is primarily educational in nature. However, the costs of care outside of regular school hours may qualify, and lunches may be a part of that. If your child is enrolled in a before- or after-school program so you can work or look for work, it can count toward your child and dependent care credit. Snacks included in those costs may be deductible. In addition, a summer day camp is eligible for a child care expense deduction. Meals can be part of the camp cost, but the IRS considers them just part of the deduction.

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