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Taxable Per Diem

What is taxable per diem for flight crew members?

The per diem that flight crews are reimbursed from their employer is given to them 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

Taxable per diem reimburses crewmembers for M&IE expenses that did NOT involve overnight travel away from their tax home.  When pilots or flight attendants fly day-trips, the per diem they receive is taxable per diem, and is included in Box 1 of the W-2 form (wages, tips, other compensation).

Does taxable per diem affect a pilot or flight attendant per diem deduction?

Taxable per diem does not influence the per diem deduction.  M&IE expenses are also not affected by trips that do not involve travel away from a pilot or flight attendant's tax home.  EZPerDiem.com automatically addresses this because day-trips cannot be entered into the Per Diem Calculator.  In other words, day trips do not add to a flight crewmember's M&IE expenses or their per diem reimbursement.  As far as the per diem deduction is concerned, day-trips simply do not exist, and taxable per diem is simply part of a taxpayer's gross income.

Taxable per diem may also result from an employer providing per diem via a non-accountable plan.

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