Reporting Food Program Reimbursements and Claiming Food Expenses

Food Program

  • Reimbursements received from the Food Program for children in your care are taxable income.
  • Reimbursements received from the Food Program for your own children are not taxable income.
  • You are always better off financially by being on the Food Program.

Claiming Food Expenses

You have two choices in how to claim your food expenses:

  • Standard Meal Allowance Method (IRS Revenue Ruling 2003-22)
    • If you use this method, you do not have to save any food receipts, business or personal!
    • Add up all the breakfasts, lunches, suppers, and snacks you serve to the children in your care
    • Multiply the total by the following standard meal allowance rate (Valid July 1,2014 – June 30, 2015):
  •  

Breakfast

Lunch/Supper

Supplements (Snacks)

Tier I

$1.31

$2.47

$0.73

Tier II

$0.48

$1.49

$0.20

Note: CACFP day care home rates include a cash-in-lieu value ($0.2475) for commodities.

    • You can claim a maximum of one breakfast, one lunch, one supper, and three snacks per day, per child.
    • Providers must keep the following records: name of each child, dates and hours of attendance in care, and the number of breakfasts, lunches, suppers, and snacks served. Be sure to save food receipts that contain non-food items such as paper products
  • Actual Food Cost Method
    • There is no one way to estimate your actual food costs. You can buy food separately, calculate your own average cost per meal, per child or use other methods.
    • You can deduct the cost of all the food you serve to the children in your care, whether or not it was reimbursed by the Food Program. You cannot deduct the cost of any food served to your own children.
    • The simplest and most accurate method of estimating actual food costs for most providers is to calculate an average cost per meal per child and multiply this by the number of meals and snacks you served. Your average cost per meal may be greater than the standard meal allowance rate.
    • Providers must keep the following records: all business and personal food receipts, menus, name of each child, dates of attendance, and the number of breakfasts, lunches, suppers, and snacks served

Example

STEP I. Calculate the average cost per serving per

child using several meals served throughout the year.

 

Breakfast

Lunch

Snack

Dinner

Meal #1

$0.96

$2.07

$0.55

$1.81

Meal #2

$0.74

$1.95

$0.40

$1.93

Meal #3

$1.07

$1.50

$0.44

$1.61

Meal #4

$1.03

$1.68

$0.61

$1.97

Total

$3.80/

$7.20/

$2.00/

$7.32/

 

4 meals=

4 meals=

4 meals=

4 meals=

Average per meal cost

$0.95

$1.80

$0.50

$1.83

1/3 cup cereal x 4 children = 1 1/2 cups (1/5 of $7.25 box) = $1.45

1 cup milk x 4 = 4 cups (1/2 of $2.50 gallon) = $1.25

1/2 can frozen orange juice ($1.45) = $.73

4 slices of bread ($1.40 per loaf x 80%) = $.28

2 tablespoons of butter = $.13

Total: $3.84 divided by 4 children = $.96 average per child

STEP II. Calculate number of meals served per year. 
Be sure to include meals not reimbursed by the Food Program.

 

Food Program Reimbursed Meals

Non Food 
Program Meals

Total Meals

Breakfast

750

0

750

Lunch

1,250

0

1,250

Snack

1,250

1,250

2,500

Dinner

0

48

48

STEP III. Multiply average meal cost by number of meals served.

Breakfast

750 X $0.95 =

712.50

 

Lunch

1,250 X $1.80 =

2,250.00

Snack

2,500 X $0.50 =

1,250.00

Dinner

48 X $1.83 =

87.84

 

$ 4,300.34

Total estimated food expense: $4,300

 

Photo Credit: Toshimasa Ishibashi