The IRS issued its annual update of special per-diem rates, to be used in substantiating certain business expenses taxpayers incur when traveling away from him in 2015 and 2016. Provided in the notice are transportation industry meal and incidental expenses 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.
These updated rates are effective for per-diem allowances paid to any employee on or after October 1, 2015, for travel away from home on or after that date, and supersede the rates provided in Notice 2014-57, which provided the rates for October 1, 2014, through September 30, 2015.
Since 2012, incidental expenses have included only fees and tips given to hotel staff, baggage carriers, porters, and staff on ships. The per-diem rate for the incidental-expenses-only deduction remains unchanged at $5 per day.
The special meals and incidental expenses rates for taxpayers in the transportation industry are $63 for any locality of travel in the continental United States and $68 outside of the continental U.S.
High-Low Substantiation Method
For the high-low substantiation method, the per-diem rates are $275 for travel to any high-cost locality and $185 for travel to any other locality within the continental U.S. The amount of these rates that is treated as paid for meals for purposes of Sec. 274(n) is $68 for travel to a high-cost locality and $57 for travel to any other locality within the U.S.
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