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Per Diem Rates

What are per diem rates?

Per diem rates refer to the rates set by the GSA (CONUS) or Department of State (OCONUS). Every location in the world has a per diem rate attached to it, and each per diem rate for each location changes with time.

Why are per diem rates important to pilots & flight attendants?

Both DoS and GSA per diem rates are important to flight crews because the IRS allows taxpayers to use the per diem rates as an alternate method for accounting for their meals and incidentals expenses (M&IE) on the employee business expense portion of their taxes.


How are per diem rates found for use in the per diem deduction?

Basically, the per diem rates are looked up using the location and date of each layover that a flight crewmember stays at throughout the year. That rate is then adjusted depending on whether or not the layover occurred in the middle or end of a trip. Then, all of the adjusted per diem rate calculations for the tax year are added together to give the taxpayer their M&IE calculation which is used to determine their per diem deduction. This is all explained in detail in IRS Publication 463.

If using a per diem calculator such as EZPerDiem, the per diem rates are looked up automatically.

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