Trucker per diem rules in the ELD era simply explained
In this article we attempt to clear up the confusion on the rules governing truck driver per diem in the ELD era.
What is per diem?
Trucker per diem is a per day travel expense allowance that eliminates the need for proving actual costs for meals & incidental expenses incurred by a driver while away from home on a truck driving trip.
When did the IRS first recognize per diem for the transportation industry?
When did IRS introduce the Special Transportation Industry daily rate per diem?
What makes the Special Transportation Industry per diem unique?
- No meal receipts required
- Allows $69 for meals and incidental expenses [Revised annually in October]
- 80% tax deductible [Temporarily raised to 100% for 2021 and 2022].
- Per diem is excluded from income and wages
Can all truck drivers can claim per diem as a federal tax deduction?
No. Only self-employed truckers
Can motor carriers offer per diem to employee drivers?
- Company-paid per diem is not taxable as income to an employee driver
- Per diem is classified as a non-taxable reimbursement
Per Diem Rates
- $69 for travel in the USA
- $74 for travel in Canada
Per Diem FAQ
Does a driver have to spend $69 everyday?
What qualifies as a tax home?
Where you park your truck when home
Can a driver claim per diem if they live in their truck?
Can a driver or motor carrier claim per diem for lodging?
No. A receipt is required for all lodging expenses.
What are the IRS per diem substantiation requirements for trucker per diem?
Only DOT Electronic Logging Device backups or the equivalent, i.e., Per Diem Plus
What are Incidental Expenses?
Only fees and tips
Are showers & parking fees incidental expenses?
What documentation is required to prove other expenses?
Paper or electronic receipts that identify what, when and the amount
How long should tax records be retained?
No less than 3 years
What published guidance has the IRS issued that explains trucker per diem?
Refer to IRS Revenue Procedure 2011-47
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 truck drivers and fleet managers.
Per Diem Plus was designed, developed and is managed in the USA and is the only IRS-compliant mobile application that provides automatic trucker per diem for solo and team drivers traveling in the United States and Canada. For more information, contact us at email@example.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. Contact Mark W. Sullivan, EA
1 TAM 9146003
2 Revenue Procedure 2000-39, 2000-9 Sec. 4.04 [Notice 2000-48].
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