IRS Updates Per Diem Rates for Business Travel Expenses

Published on October 22, 2018

The Internal Revenue Service issued its annual notice describing the daily rates that taxpayers can use for lodging, meals and incidental expenses when traveling for business. 

Notice 2018-77 announces the special per diem rates, effective Oct. 1, 2018, that taxpayers may use to substantiate the amount of expenses for lodging, meals and incidental expenses when traveling away from home. The notice also provides the special transportation industry rate, the rate for the incidental expenses only deduction, and the rates and list of high-cost localities for purposes of the high-low substantiation method. 

The special meal and incidental expense rates for taxpayers in the transportation industry are $66 for the continental United States and $71 for travel outside the continental U.S. The rate for any locality of travel for the incidental expenses only deduction is $5 per day. 

For purposes of the high-low substantiation method, the per diem rates are $287 for travel to a high-cost locality and $195 for travel to any other locality within the continental U.S. The amount of the $287 high rate and $195 low rate that is treated as paid for meals is $71 for travel to any high-cost locale and $60 for travel to any other locality within the continental U.S. 

The per diem rates in lieu of the rates for the meal and incidental expenses only substantiation method are $71 for travel to any high-cost locality, and $60 for travel to any other locale within the continental U.S. The notice includes a list of cities considered to be high-cost localities where the federal per diem rate is $241 or more.

(Source:  AccountingToday - IRS Watch - October 3, 2018)