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It's a Team's Life

Per Diem vs Work (HOS)

By Linda Caffee
Posted Feb 4th 2019 6:17AM

IRS Publication 463

Your duties require you to be away from home.  You must sleep or rest to meet the demands of your work while away from home.

What a conflicting statement but in so many ways it is true.  Driving a truck, the per diem is days spent away from home which means you are at work.  If you are working at home on truck-related work that is not a per diem day it is a day at home and should be logged as on-duty not driving.

There seems to be confusion between logging and per diem.  

If working at home on truck related items such as looking for a load you are on duty not driving and this is not a per diem day.  To get per diem you have to spend the night away from home due to work. 

Here is an example of a terminal situation taken from IRS Publication 463:

Terminal not in your home town (terminal is where you park your truck)

Example 1. You are a truck driver and you and your family live in Tucson. You are employed by a trucking firm that has its terminal in Phoenix. At the end of your long runs, you return to your home terminal in Phoenix and spend one night there before returning home. You can’t deduct any expenses you have for meals and lodging in Phoenix or the cost of traveling from Phoenix to Tucson. This is because Phoenix is your tax home.

Example 2. You are a truck driver. You leave your terminal and return to it later the same day. You get an hour off at your turnaround point to eat. Because you aren’t off to get necessary sleep and the brief time off isn’t an adequate rest period, you aren’t traveling away from home.

Seems to be clear cut to me that if working at home on truck-related work you should log on duty not driving. 

If in the truck working away from home depending on when you leave the house this will be a partial or full per diem day depending on when you leave home.

For more information on this subject, IRS Publication 463 or talk to your trucking business accountant 

Bob & Linda Caffee


Saint Louis MO

Expediters since January 2005


Expediting isn't just trucking, it's a lifestyle;

Expediting isn't just a lifestyle, it's an adventure;

Expediting isn't just an adventure, it's a job;

Expediting isn't just a job, it's a business.


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