What Is Per Diem Pay For Truck Drivers?

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Woody's Comment
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I see some companies stating they offer optional per diem pay. What is this?

I have also seen reference to per diem concerning meals and tax credits?

Thanks

Woody

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

Scott L.'s Comment
member avatar

Woody,

In laymans term, Per Diem is a specific amount the IRS allows an individual to be "credited" for Meals & Incidentals (M&I) when an employee is working away from "home" such as a Trucker Driver. The rate is "flat" meaning $59 bucks a day while on the road (but the first and last day is only 1/2). But the rate can fluctuate between tax years.

What I've seen in my research of companies that pay Per Diem, on average $0.12/cpm. Which means you would have to drive 491.666 miles a day to get the full $59/day. So days you aren't driving, rest, etc. Then employee would have to keep tabs of that, all-in-all it just seems the math would give me a headache. So I am looking at not worrying about company Per Diem pay but just to write all off/credit at end of year.

Edit: as of October 1, 2015, per diem rate for truck drivers has increased to $63/day, $68/day for travel outside of the continental U.S.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

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

DAC:

Drive-A-Check Report

A truck drivers DAC report will contain detailed information about their job history of the last 10 years as a CDL driver (as required by the DOT).

It may also contain your criminal history, drug test results, DOT infractions and accident history. The program is strictly voluntary from a company standpoint, but most of the medium-to-large carriers will participate.

Most trucking companies use DAC reports as part of their hiring and background check process. It is extremely important that drivers verify that the information contained in it is correct, and have it fixed if it's not.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

To simplify that a bit - truck drivers get a big tax write-off for expenses on the road, including meals, tools, GPS systems, and other job-specific items you have to buy for yourself. So instead of making you pay a ton of money in taxes with each paycheck and then getting a big tax refund at the end of the year, companies will pay you some of your earnings tax free. That way you get more money in each paycheck, but a smaller tax return at the end of the year.

In the end it really makes little or no difference. You either pay a bunch of taxes in and get a bunch back at the end of the year or you pay in less and get less back at the end of the year.

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