What Every Truck Driver Should Know About Per Diem in 2024

Whether you’re a contractor, company driver,  self-employed, or an owner-operator, per diem is an incredible tax deduction that all eligible truck drivers should be taking advantage of in 2024. 

That being said, it’s absolutely critical for your finances and peace of mind to understand the nature of per diem rates and how they’ll impact your take-home pay and taxes this year.

Introduction to Per Diem Programs

“Per diem” is a Latin term that can be roughly translated into “for each day,” which, in this context, refers to the daily allowance (i.e., non-taxable reimbursement) truckers receive to cover expenses like meals and incidental expenses when they travel further than 50 miles away from home. 

This system simplifies the reimbursement process for truck drivers, especially those who regularly long haul throughout the continental U.S. and Canada. It does so by providing a fixed daily rate to eligible drivers instead of requiring them to complete detailed expense tracking reports. 

It’s important to note that carriers are not obligated to offer per diem to company drivers. However, many do, but with stipulations. 

2024 Per Diem Rates

It’s important to note that per diem rates are subject to change every Internal Revenue Service (IRS) calendar year, especially during times of massive political transitions. 

Here are the current 2024 per diem amounts:

Calculating Your Per Diem

This is a rather cut-and-dry process that’s relatively simple, but does require absolute attention to detail. Generally, here’s how it’s done:

  1. Identify Travel Days: Determine the number of days you’re on the road. Be sure to include both full and partial days in your calculation. 
  2. Apply the Correct Daily Rate: For 2024, use $69 per day within the continental U.S. and $74 per day for travel outside.
  3. Consider Partial Days: If you’re not on the road for a full 24 hours, you can still calculate a partial day rate (typically 75% of the full-day rate).
  4. Use Tools for Accuracy: Use tools like the Drivewyze per diem calculator to ensure accuracy and ease of calculation.

Pros and Cons of Per Diem Programs

Like anything else, there are benefits and drawbacks to per diem programs. Below, we’ll explore what to know about how per diem programs can affect you.



Overview of the Tax Implications

Per diem deductions and payments have a wide-ranging effect on truck driver taxes. From the reduction in taxable income to increased refunds to impacts on future benefits, it’s important to have a grasp of how these reimbursements will affect your overall finances. 

It’s important to know that although the Taxpayer Certainty and Disaster Relief Act once allowed a 100% deduction, it’s now back to 80%, which is still a great tax relief, but also something to be noted.

With that in mind, it’s recommended to consult with an experienced tax professional to ensure you’re maximizing your tax benefits while following all necessary legal requirements. 

Tips On Using Your Per Diem

Effectively managing per diem can be incredibly beneficial for truckers and their tax professionals. Here are a few tips for making the most of your per diem:

FAQs About Truck Driver Per Diem

Does Every Truck Driver Qualify for Per Diem?

No, not all truck drivers automatically qualify for per diem allowances. Generally, eligibility depends on the length of the trip(s), employment status, and the policies of the trucking company (if you’re an employee). 

For the most part, over-the-road (OTR) drivers who spend nights away from home are more likely to qualify. Owner-operators and company drivers may have different eligibility criteria based on many factors. Plus, if you drive for a carrier, you may be able to opt-in or out of per diem, depending on your needs.

Why Do Trucking Companies Use Per Diem Programs?

Trucking companies implement per diem programs for several reasons. They include, but aren’t limited to: 

At Drivewyze, we’re here to assist truckers and trucking companies in every aspect of their business. Check out how our full lineup of trucking calculators can enhance your operational efficiencies and improve your bottom line.