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August 30, 2023

Save $3,000 Per Driver With Better Per Diem Management

Mark Sullivan- Per Diem Plus
Mark W. Sullivan, EA
Mark is our transportation industry expert and has nearly two decades of experience advising clients on IRS accountable per diem programs. 

Save $3,000 Per Driver With Better Per Diem Management

The freight market has experienced steady softening over the past year while diesel prices have gained more than 40 cents from a month ago. So how can fleets mitigate softening freight rates and the exploding cost of fuel? Most fleets aren’t maximizing the tax deductible benefits of per diem, leaving thousands of dollars per driver on the table every year. Below is a guide on how best to manage this within your carrier operation, and unlock significant fleet savings while boosting driver pay amid economic uncertainty and record inflation.

Unlock Fleet Tax Savings Using Per Diem

Although Congress temporarily increased the trucker per diem deduction to 100% for 2021 and 2022, there is a common misconception in the industry that at 80% deductibility, per diem will not save a motor carrier money. The below tables prove otherwise.


The following analysis assumes:

  • 2,500 average weekly miles / driver
  • $69 per diem
  • $65,000 annual driver wages
  • 255 nights away from home
  • 12% effective federal income tax rate
  • and $10/$100 workers' comp rate
Use per diem compliance tech to unlock fleet savings amid economic uncertainty.

Workers Compensation Savings From Using Per Diem Plus

Twenty-three states are members of the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI), and 39 rely on NCCI regulations. Under NCCI rules, a motor carrier paying substantiated per diem under an IRS-accountable plan can exclude up to $69/day of per diem from taxable wages, which provides a significant per driver annual savings to a fleet. (IRS Publishes 2024 Trucker Per Diem Rates)

Even with growing economic uncertainty and recessionary clouds on the horizon, Congress elected not to extend the 100% deduction for per diem. However, a motor carrier that implements an automated per diem solution will be in a stronger position to weather the economic storm.

Case Study: Driver Tax Savings for a 25 Truck Fleet

As of January 1, 2018, employee drivers can no longer claim per diem as an itemized deduction on their federal income tax return. However, motor carriers can offer per diem to employee drivers to recapture the lost tax savings. The average Married over-the-road driver earning $65,000 annually will save approximately $3,457 in federal income taxes equivalent to $0.03 cents per mile.

The average Single over-the-road driver earning $65,000 annually will save approximately $4,485 in federal income taxes equivalent to $0.04 cents per mile.

In short, you are virtually always better off leveraging a fixed $69/day (as of this writing) to maximize your per diem tax offset from wages.

Per Diem Plus Software Platform

  • ELD-Integrated: Per Diem Plus API for Samsara
  • Native Android & iOS Mobile Apps: Per Diem Plus - Owner Operators and Per Diem Plus Small Fleets
  • Deep Link for Platform Science and Transflo Mobile
  • APK to distribute via MDM

Per Diem Plus Fleets is also available on the Truckstop Marketplace, Samsara App Marketplace and Platform Science Marketplace

About Per Diem Plus

Per Diem Plus is the leading provider of cloud-based, IRS-compliant trucker per diem software solutions in the transportation industry. Established in 2015,  Per Diem Plus was born over the founders 30 years of experience as IRS agents and tax practitioners and a relentless pursuit to introduce efficiency to the time-consuming  task of per diem tax compliance for truckers and fleet managers. For more information, contact us at info@perdiemplus.com or visit www.perdiemplus.com

About the Author

Mark is tax counsel for Per Diem Plus. With nearly two decades of experience advising trucking companies on per diem issues, Mark was responsible for defining the Per Diem Plus software logic rules that automatically calculates trucker per diem in accordance with IRS regulations.

In addition to his time working with Per Diem Plus, Mark works in private practice as an Enrolled Agent at Mark Sullivan Consulting, PLLC specializing in federal tax controversy representation and consulting. He also served as the consulting and expert witness for the Federal Defenders Office and private defense counsel in financial crimes cases in multiple federal district courts. Conta

Copyright 2023 Per Diem Plus, LLC. Per Diem Plus proprietary software is the trademark of Per Diem Plus, LLC.®

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