The IRS has released the per diem rates taxpayers can use to reimburse employees for expenses incurred during travel after September 30, 2014. The low-cost area per diem increases from $170 to $172 and the high-cost area per diem increases from $251 to $259. Important to note, only employees are able to use per diem rates. Self-employed taxpayers may use per diem to substantiate meals and incidental expenses, but not lodging. The new rates may be found on the GSA website. http://www.gsa.gov/portal/category/100120
Per diem rates are divided between meals, lodging and incidental expenses. What is included in “incidental expenses”? In Rev. Proc. 2011-47, the IRS explained that incidental expenses include fees and tips given to porters, baggage carriers, bellhops, hotel maids, stewards or stewardesses and others on ships. The rate for incidental expenses is $5 per day for post-September 30, 2014 travel.