Yes, if you are an Independent Contractor and your income is reported on Form 1099-MISC, then you can claim the per diem for meals when you are away from home. The allowance enables only self-employed or owner-operator drivers to
receive a standard amount for each day they are away from home to cover
meal expenses. Since per diem is technically a reimbursement,
owner-operators can deduct up to 80 percent of per diem pay from their
taxable income per sec 1312 of the new tax code.
The per diem rate for partial days is 75 percent of a full day’s rate. This equates to $47.25 inside the US and $51 per day for truck drivers who cross international borders.
The IRS allows self-employed drivers and owner-operators to deduct certain costs under the category of “travel expenses.” These include a per diem for meals, plus accommodations, tolls, and parking. For 2019, the per diem rate is 80 percent of $66 per day. Note: If you are an employee driver, you are not eligible for per diem.
To be eligible to write off travel costs, both of these statements must be true:
- Your work requires that you travel away from your tax home for “substantially longer” than the length of a workday.
- You will be sleeping away from home while traveling for work.
Deduct the amount as travel expense versus meals expense.
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