Our tax experts jotted down some common Trucker Per Diem questions that our drivers have asked us.
Read below or download our Trucker Per Diem Rules Simplified with our “Will Per Diem Benefit Me?” worksheet.
What is per diem?
A per day travel expense allowance. Eliminates the need for proving actual costs for meals & incidental expenses incurred while traveling away from home for work.
Do I have to spend all the per diem?
No. This is the maximum amount the IRS will let you claim on your tax return.
Who can claim trucker per diem?
Both self-employed and employee drivers who are subject to DOT HOS.
What documentation is required to prove overnight travel and expenses?
You must substantiate the “time, date, and place” for each day of travel.
What documentation meets the IRS substantiation requirements?
Only DOT logbooks or Per Diem Plus.
Can all truck drivers claim per diem?
No. Drivers who start and end a trip at home on the same work day cannot claim per diem.
What are the current per diem rates for travel in USA & Canada?
USA $63 Canada $68
Can a driver prorate per diem for partial days of travel?
Yes. A partial day is 75% of the per diem rate (USA $47.25 Canada $51).
How much per diem can I deduct on my income tax return?
A trucker can deduct 80% of per diem on their income tax return.
Employee Drivers: Use Schedule A, Itemized Deductions
Self-Employed: Use Schedule C, Profit / Loss From Business or Form 1120S – Line 19 “Other Deductions”
What are Incidental Expenses?
Only fees and tips.
Are showers & parking fees incidental expenses?
No. Self-employed drivers and company drivers who itemize deductions may separately deduct expenses for: Per Diem Plus subscription, showers, reserved parking fees, mailing expenses, supplies and laundry.
Can employee drivers deduct company-paid per diem on their tax return?
What qualifies as a tax home?
Where you park your truck. Your regular place of business, or home in a real and substantial sense.
Can I claim per diem if I live in my truck?
No. A taxpayer who’s constantly in motion is a “tax turtle”, or someone with no fixed residence who carries their “home” with them.
Can truck drivers claim a mileage allowance per diem?
No. Only fleets can use a cents-per-mile per diem. IRS’ standard mileage allowance is for use of a personal vehicle.
What documentation is required to prove other expenses?
Receipts that identify what, when and amount.
Can a driver claim per diem for lodging?
No. You must have a receipt for all lodging expenses.
How long should tax records be retained?
No less than 3 years from the filing date of an income tax return.