2020 per diem rates issued for travel expense reimbursements
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Wednesday, October 2, 2019

2020 per diem rates issued for travel expense reimbursements

By Payroll and Entitlements Editorial Staff

The IRS has provided the 2019-2020 special per diem rates for taxpayers to use to substantiate ordinary and necessary business expenses incurred while traveling away from home. The guidance provides the special transportation industry meal and incidental expenses (M&IE) rates, the rate for the incidental expenses only deduction, and the rates and list of high-cost localities for purposes of the high-low substantiation method. Taxpayers using the rates and list of high-cost localities provided must comply with Rev. Proc. 2011-47, IRB 2011-42, 520.

Transportation industry rates. The special M&IE rates for taxpayers in the transportation industry are $66 for any locality of travel in the continental United States (CONUS) and $71 for any locality of travel outside the continental United States (OCONUS).

Incidental expenses. The rate for any CONUS or OCONUS locality of travel for the incidental expenses only deduction is $5 per day.

High-low substantiation method. For purposes of the high-low substantiation method, the per diem rates are $297 for travel to any high-cost locality and $200 for travel to any other locality within CONUS. The amount of the $297 high rate and $200 low rate that is treated as paid for meals is $71 for travel to any high-cost locality and $60 for travel to any other locality within CONUS. The per diem rates in lieu of the M&IE only substantiation method are $71 for travel to any high-cost locality and $60 for travel to any other locality within CONUS.

High cost localities. The following localities have been added to the list of high-cost localities: Mill Valley/San Rafael/Novato, California; Crested Butte/Gunnison, Colorado; Petoskey, Michigan; Big Sky/West Yellowstone/Gardiner, Montana; Carlsbad, New Mexico; Nashville, Tennessee; Midland/Odessa, Texas.

The following localities have changed the portion of the year in which they are high-cost localities: Napa, California; Santa Barbara, California; Denver, Colorado; Vail, Colorado; Washington D.C., District of Columbia; Key West, Florida; Jekyll Island/Brunswick, Georgia; New York City, New York; Portland, Oregon; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Pecos, Texas; Vancouver, Washington; Jackson/Pinedale, Wyoming.

The following localities have been removed from the list of high-cost localities: Los Angeles, California; San Diego, California; Duluth, Minnesota; Moab, Utah; Virginia Beach, Virginia.

The following localities have been removed from the list of high-cost localities: Mill Valley/San Rafael/ Novato, California; Steamboat Springs, Colorado; Petoskey, Michigan; Saratoga Springs/Schenectady, New York.

Effective date. This notice is effective for per diem allowances for lodging, meal and incidental expenses, or for meal and incidental expenses only, that are paid to any employee on or after October 1, 2019, for travel away from home on or after October 1, 2019. For purposes of computing the amount allowable as a deduction for travel away from home, this notice is effective for meal and incidental expenses or for incidental expenses only paid or incurred on or after October 1, 2019. (IRS Notice 2019-55, IRB 2019-42, dated October 15, 2019.)

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