It's Tax Season - What Do Truck Drivers Need To Know About Per Diem Pay?

Topic 18352 | Page 1

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The Highlight Reel's Comment
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You've heard the term "per diem" in regards to truck driver's pay, but what does it mean?

Basically, drivers who get per diem pay get a certain percentage of their pay in each paycheck distributed to them untaxed, while the rest is paid normally. This has the short-term effect of putting more money in driver's pockets each pay period, and long-term it reduces the gross taxable income for the year. It is technically a "reimbursement", rather than actual income.

Trucking companies who offer per diem will most commonly pay the driver a lower CPM , to offset the untaxed reimbursement, sometimes classifying it as any type of "administrative fee".

If you aren't paid "per diem", truck drivers (and transportation workers, in general) will typically take the "standard meal deduction" which is currently $63/day you are on the road, and $68 for travel outside the U.S. Drivers paid per diem are not permitted to take this deduction.

We would advise you to always consult with a tax professional before filing your taxes, regardless of whether or not per diem applies to you.

Wiki - Per Diem Pay For Truck Drivers

Forum - Per Diem Pay For Truck Drivers?

IRS Publication 463 (2016), Travel, Entertainment, Gift, and Car Expenses

Dm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

CPM:

Cents Per Mile

Drivers are often paid by the mile and it's given in cents per mile, or cpm.

Per Diem:

Getting paid per diem means getting a portion of your salary paid to you without taxes taken out. It's technically classified as a meal and expense reimbursement.

Truck drivers and others who travel for a living get large tax deductions for meal expenses. The Government set up per diem pay as a way to reimburse some of the taxes you pay with each paycheck instead of making you wait until tax filing season.

Getting per diem pay means a driver will get a larger paycheck each week but a smaller tax return at tax time.

We have a ton of information on our wiki page on per diem pay

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