IRS Per Diem Rates For 2013

The IRS issued the per diem rates that taxpayers can use to reimburse employees for expenses incurred during business travel after September 30, 2012. The high-low per diems for the October 2012 through December 2013 period remain unchanged from last year’s annual update, at $242 for high-cost localities and $163 for all other localities. The list of high-cost localities also remains the same.

Generally, per diem amounts approved by the IRS track the federal per diem rates published by the General Services Administration (GSA) for travel within the continental United States by federal government employees on official business. In August, GSA announced that the 2013 federal per diem rates would be unchanged from 2012.

Per Diem Rates
In lieu of substantiating actual travel-related meal and lodging costs, the IRS provides optional per diem allowances, which employers and employees are deemed to have substantiated by adequate records or other sufficient evidence. The per diem amounts also satisfy the requirement that employees provide an adequate accounting to the employer of meal and lodging expenses.

Incidental Expense
The term incidental expenses has the same meaning as in the GSA federal travel regulations (incidental expenses as fees and tips given to porters, baggage carriers, bellhops, hotel maids, stewards or stewardesses and others on ships.) Transportation between places of lodging or business and places where meals are taken, and the mailing cost associated with filing travel vouchers and payment of employer-sponsored charge card billings are excluded from the GSA definition of incidental expenses. Taxpayers using per diem rates may separately deduct or be reimbursed for transportation and mailing expenses. The rate for the incidental expenses only deduction is $5 per day for post-September 30, 2012 travel, which is unchanged from the previous rate.

Click here for 2013 per diem rates for Alabama provided by U.S. General Services Administration.