Pension & Benefits News 2021 per diem rates issued for travel expense reimbursements
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Friday, September 25, 2020

2021 per diem rates issued for travel expense reimbursements

By Pension and Benefits Editorial Staff

The IRS has provided the 2020-2021 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.

Transportation industry. 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).

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

High-low method. For purposes of the high-low substantiation method, the per diem rates are $292 for travel to any high-cost locality and $198 for travel to any other locality within CONUS. The amount of the $292 high rate and $198 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: Los Angeles, California; San Diego, California; Gulf Breeze, Florida; Kennebunk/Kittery/Sanford, Maine; Virginia Beach, Virginia.

The following localities have changed the portion of the year in which they are high-cost localities: Sedona, Arizona; Monterey, California; Santa Barbara, California; District of Columbia (see also Maryland and Virginia); Naples, Florida; Jekyll Island/Brunswick, Georgia; Boston/Cambridge, Massachusetts; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Jamestown/Middletown/Newport, Rhode Island; Charleston, South Carolina.

The following localities have been removed from the list of high-cost localities:

Midland/Odessa, Texas; Pecos, Texas.

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, 2020, for travel away from home on or after October 1, 2020. 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, 2020. IRS Notice 2019-55 is superseded.

SOURCE: IRS Notice 2020-71, I.R.B. 2020-40, September 18, 2020.

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