IRS increases per diem for owner-operators


Owner-operators are now allowed to claim a meal per diem of $66 per day they’re away from home, according to a new per diem structure announced by the IRS recently. The change, a $3 increase, took effect Oct. 1.

Owner-operators, using their Schedule C business expense form, will now be able to deduct $52.80 off of their income for every day they’re on the road and away from home. Though the allotted per diem is $66, the IRS only allows a deduction of 80 percent of that to be deducted from operators’ income, which equals $52.80. For all days on the road and away from home before Oct. 1, operators’ per diem is $63 — a deduction of $50.40 per day.

To qualify for the per diem, IRS rules state your work must be away from “your tax home substantially longer” than a normal workday and you must sleep away from your home on the days the per diem is being used, ATBS says.

If you have questions about use of a per diem, call ATBS at 866-920-2827.

Company drivers can no longer deduct meal per diem from their income. The Tax Cut and Jobs Act of 2017, the tax reform cleared last year by Congress, removed per diem deductions for company drivers starting for the 2018 filing year.