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Tax Law (Questions About Taxes)/Truck Driver - Per Diem - Overnight Only?


The CPA my father has been using to do his taxes is retiring and he asked me if I could complete them (I am a CPA but do not have much experience preparing tax returns). His previous CPA itemized his deductions, and deducted the standard rate for DOT ($59/day) * 80%. However, most of these days he did not work overnight. In reading publication 463 and publication 17, I see it states that in order to deduct travel expenses you need to be away from your tax home "substantially longer than an ordinary day's work". His previous CPA is saying that this doesn't matter, that he can take it for any day he worked, no matter how long it was, just because he's a truck driver. I disagree. Your thoughts?


Thanks for your question.  

You are correct. If the individual is not away from his/her tax home overnight, the per diem rates do not apply and are not deductible.  Another place in the 463 states "your lodging and meals if your business trip is overnight or long enough that you need to stop for sleep or rest to properly perform your duties. Meals include amounts spent for food, beverages, taxes, and
related tips. See Meals for additional rules and limit."

I am unaware of any exceptions for drivers.

Hope this helps.

John Stancil, CPA

Tax Law (Questions About Taxes)

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John Stancil, CPA


I can answer questions on personal income taxes, partnerships, and some corporate income taxes. I can deal with some state tax questions. Limited gift and estate tax questions. I am also familiar with ministerial and church tax reporting issues. I am Professor Emeritus at Florida Southern College. Sales taxes and property taxes are state and local issues so I am not likely be be able to give you an in depth answer on those types of taxes. I have maintained a CPA practice, specializing in tax, for over 35 years. I am a member of the National Association of Tax Professionals, The Florida Insititute of CPA's, The NCPE Fellowship. In addition I am a Certified Mentor for SCORE. Visit my website at I also offer seminars and consultations to churches and clergy on their tax issues at Also visit my blog, I am listed on Tax Connections at Prepare and file your own taxes at


I hold a doctorate in Accounting, and am a CPA. My certifications of CIA, CFM, and CMA are inactive. I passed all certification examinations on the first attempt, and received honorable mention for my scores on the CIA exam. I have operated a CPA firm for over 37 years and have taught accounting and tax at the college level for over 35 years.

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The CPA Journal, Florida CPA Today, Green Consumer, Green Business, Global Sustainability as a Business Imperative, Palmetto Review, NATP TaxPro Quarterly, Mustang Journal of Finance and Accounting.

DBA University of Memphis MBA University of Georgia BS in Accounting Mars Hill University

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