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IRS.gov Website
Publication 463
taxmap/pubs/p463-015.htm#en_us_publink1000283280

How To Use Per Diem
Rate Tables(p34)

rule
This section contains information about the per diem rate substantiation methods available and the choice of rates you must make for the last 3 months of the year.
taxmap/pubs/p463-015.htm#en_us_publink1000283281

The Two Substantiation Methods(p34)

rule
taxmap/pubs/p463-015.htm#en_us_publink1000283282

High-low method.(p34)

rule
IRS notices list the localities that are treated under the high-low substantiation method as high-cost localities for all or part of the year. Notice 2011–81, available at www.irs.gov/irb/2011–42_IRB/ar09.html, lists the localities that are eligible for $242 ($65 meals and incidental expenses (M&IE)) per diem, effective October 1, 2011. For travel on or after October 1, 2011, all other localities within CONUS are eligible for $163 ($52 M&IE) per diem under the high-low method.
Notice 2012–63, available at www.irs.gov/irb/2012–42_IRB/ar12.html, lists the localities that are eligible for $242 ($65 M&IE) per diem, effective October 1, 2012. For travel on or after October 1, 2012, the per diem for all other localities remains at $163 ($52 M&IE).
taxmap/pubs/p463-015.htm#en_us_publink1000283285

Regular federal per diem rate method.(p34)

rule
Regular federal per diem rates are published by the General Services Administration (GSA). Both tables include the separate rate for meals and incidental expenses (M&IE) for each locality. The rates listed for FY2012 at www.gsa.gov/perdiem are effective October 1, 2011 and those listed for FY2013 are effective October 1, 2012. The standard rate for all locations within CONUS not specifically listed for FY2012 is $123 ($77 for lodging and $46 for M&IE). For FY2013, this rate remains at $123 ($77 for lodging and $46 for M&IE).
taxmap/pubs/p463-015.htm#en_us_publink1000283288

Transition Rules(p34)

rule
The transition period covers the last 3 months of the calendar year, from the time that new rates are effective (generally October 1) through December 31. During this period, you generally may change to the new rates or finish out the year with the rates you had been using.
taxmap/pubs/p463-015.htm#en_us_publink1000283289

High-low method.(p34)

rule
If you use the high-low substantiation method, when new rates become effective (generally October 1) you can either continue with the rates you used for the first part of the year or change to the new rates. However, you must continue using the high-low method for the rest of the calendar year (through December 31). If you are an employer, you must use the same rates for all employees reimbursed under the high-low method during that calendar year.
The new rates and localities for the high-low method are included each year in a notice that is generally published in mid-to-late-September. You can find the notice in the weekly Internal Revenue Bulletin (IRB) on the Internet at www.irs.gov/irb.
taxmap/pubs/p463-015.htm#en_us_publink1000283290

Federal per diem rate method.(p34)

rule
New CONUS per diem rates become effective on October 1 of each year and remain in effect through September 30 of the following year. Employees being reimbursed under the per diem rate method during the first 9 months of a year (January 1–September 30) must continue under the same method through the end of that calendar year (December 31). However, for travel by these employees from October 1 through December 31, you can choose to continue using the same per diem rates or use the new rates.
The new federal CONUS per diem rates are published each year, generally early in September, on the Internet. Go to www.gsa.gov/perdiem.
EIC
Per diem rates for localities listed for FY2013 may change at any time. To be sure you have the most current rate, check www.gsa.gov/perdiem.