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What are city-by-city per diem rates?

The city-by-city per diem rates (i.e. locality per diem rates) are established for every location in the world by the GSA and Department of State.  The per diem rates are used for a variety of reasons.  With regard to flight crew tax preparation, per diem rates are used as a way to determine a flight crewmember's standard meal allowance.  The standard meal allowance is used for tax purposes as way of deducting meals and incidental expenses (M&IE) for an airline pilot or flight attendant's taxes.

Why are city-by-city per diem rates so important for a pilot or flight attendant per diem calculation?

The city-by-city per diem rates almost always generate the highest tax deduction for meals than other approved meal deduction methods, yet most tax preparers do not perform the city-by-city per diem deduction because it is time consuming.  To ensure that flight crewmembers get the highest flight crew tax deduction allowed, pilots and flight attendants should use EZPerDiem or EZCrewTax.

Is the city-by-city method the only way to determine a per diem calculation for an airline pilot or flight attendant?

The city-by-city per diem deduction is not the only method that can be used by traveling professionals to calculate their per diem deduction.  Crewmembers can also use the actual cost meal deduction or the special rate for transportation workers, though they are generally lower than the city-by-city.  EZPerDiem and EZCrewTax check both the special rate for transportation workers and the city-by-city per diem calculation to ensure that airline crewmembers get the highest per diem deduction they are entitled to.

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