Can Truck Drivers Still Claim Per Diems?

Can Truck Drivers Still Claim Per Diems?

Even two years after the new tax law was implemented, people are still somewhat confused by it. Especially when it comes to special industries where taxes work differently than they do in most spheres of business. As a truck driver, you probably already know that this is very much the case with your industry.

The trucking industry has always had a different system that includes many various taxes, deductions, and much more. The people in the industry, especially honest truck drivers working in a trucking company, have to worry about a lot of things, and one of the most notable is undoubtedly per diems.

This is precisely why we wanted to cover per diems today and answer one crucial question that has been bugging many truck drivers in America – can I still claim per diems? Let’s take a look at what the answer is:

How Per Diems Work in the 2017 Tax Law

Per diems are certainly no longer the same in the new tax law. That much is true. However, there is still a lot of confusion as to how exactly they work now.

Before the new law, a regular truck driver who is employed in a trucking company could claim per diems in several ways:

  • A company paid their drivers per diems for every night they were on the road. The per diem was nontaxable, and the company would get an 80% deduction on it. The amount was either a flat sum or based on the miles traveled.
  • A company didn’t pay their drivers per diems, but they collected them on their own as an unreimbursed business expense on their Schedule A, usually in the amount of $63 per day.
  • Truckers working on their own and not for a company claimed per diems as a business expense, just like regular truck drivers did. The amount was the same but as part of Schedule C.

The system was reasonably logical, but now some things are different. First of all, we should state that companies can still pay per diems to their drivers in the same way they did before. Furthermore, independent truck drivers and owner-operators (i.e., all those not working for a company) can also claim per diems on their Schedule C in the same amount as before (typically $63 per day).

However, company-employed truckers cannot claim per diems on their own any longer. The new law eliminated these, and this is where the main confusion stems from. Many believe that per diems are no longer available for anyone, while in reality, they were only substituted by something else for company-employed truckers looking to claim them on their own.

Higher deductions now cover the loss from per diems. If not that, then truckers can opt for their company to pay their per diems.

The Bottom Line

So, in essence, per diems are still there in most cases. The only difference is that company-employed truckers can no longer claim them, but they can still get deductions in other ways or opt for their company to give them per diems. All in all, the results are the same.

If you’re looking to learn more about how taxes work for truck drivers, feel free to check the Golden Tax Relief blog. Furthermore, if you require assistance from a professional tax resolution specialist, contact us through our site or by calling 844 229 8936.


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