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Common Tax Phrases for
Pilots and Flight Attendants
2% Limit
A.G.I. (Adjusted Gross Income)
Above the Line Deductions
Accountable Plan
Actual Cost Meal Deduction
Adequate Records
Alternative Minimum Tax
Below the Line Deductions
CPA (Certified Public Accountant)
Commuting Expenses
D.O.T. (Department of Transportation)
Day Trips
Department of State
Documentary Evidence
Effective Date
Effective Tax Rate
Employee Business Expenses
Enrolled Agent
Expiration Date
General Services Agency
Gross Income
Hours of Service Limits
IRS Form 1040
IRS Form 2106
IRS Publication 1542
IRS Publication 463
IRS Publication 529
Incidental Expenses
Indefinate Duty
Itemized Tax Deduction
Necessary Expense
Non Taxable Per Diem
Nonaccountable Plan
Ordinary Expense
Per Diem
Per Diem Calculator
Per Diem Deduction
Per Diem Rates
Personal Expense
Schedule A
Seasonal End Date
Seasonal Start Date
Special Per Diem Rates
Standard Deduction
Standard Meal Allowance
Standard Per Diem Rates
Substantiated Expenses
Tax Attorney
Tax Audit
Tax Bracket
Tax Credit
Tax Deduction
Tax Home
Tax Liability
Tax Preparer
Tax Software
Taxable Income
Taxable Per Diem
Temporary Duty
Transition Period
Transportation Workers
Travel Expenses

Non-Taxable Per Diem

The per diem that a pilot or a flight attendant is reimbursed from his or her employer is given to cover or offset meals and incidental expenses (M&IE).  That per diem can be in one of two forms:

  1. Taxable Per Diem
  2. Non-Taxable Per Diem

Non taxable per diem reimburses pilots and flight attendants for M&IE expenses that involved overnight travel away from their tax home.  This assumes that their employer is set up to provide per diem via an accountable plan.  If so, pilots and flight attendants should see their non taxable per diem reported on their W-2, Box 12, Code L.

Note that Box 12 is divided into 12a, 12b, 12c, 12d above.  The a, b, c, and d above are NOT codes.  They simply allow for more than one code to be entered into box 12.  Non-taxable per diem could be in any of those spots on your W-2 and will be marked with a Code L.  It is also important to note that Code L could contain other reimbursements in addition to non-taxable per diem.  Code L is for non-taxable reimbursements for employee business expenses, and is not necessarily limited to M&IE reimbursements.  For that reason, we recommend using the last paycheck stub that a pilot or flight attendant received for a given tax year, as an added resource to figure out how much non-taxable per diem he or she received.

The per diem deduction is calculated by first determining your M&IE expenses (via the EZPerDiem.com Per Diem Calculator), then subtracting off the non taxable per diem reimbursement, and lastly making IRS adjustments (via IRS Form 2106, TurboTax, or TaxCut).

Airline Pilot Taxes and Flight Attendant Taxes

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