How to Qualify for Per Diem

by Danny Donahue ; Updated September 26, 2017
You must keep a receipt for every night you spend in a commercial establishment.

Traveling for work sometimes means overnight business stays, which can get expensive. The Internal Revenue Service implements a plan to ease this burden. Their system, called per diem, pays you back for the money you spend on lodging for business related trips by reducing the income taxes deducted from your check. Qualifying for per diem means staying out of town and paying for your stay with your own money. Check with your company's payroll department before filing for per diem reimbursement.

Travel out of town for work. Go far enough, or work long enough each day, so that it is prudent to stay in commercial lodgings instead of returning home each night.

Keep your overnight stays to less than a year in any one location. Try to stay at the same facility every night you stay in the same town to reduce confusion.

Pay for your own lodging each night with your own money. Keep a receipt for every night of your stay. Remember that paying with a credit card will insure you have an extra record of your transactions in case you lose a receipt.

Return to the payroll office at your place of employment. Turn in the receipts along with your time slips for the pay period. Fill out any per diem forms that your company requires and turn them in with your other paperwork.

Wait to receive your check. Review your pay stub. Compare it with your records to insure accuracy. Contact the payroll department to report inaccuracies.

About the Author

After learning electronics in the U.S. Navy in the 1980s, Danny Donahue spent a lifetime in the construction industry. He has worked with some of the finest construction talent in the Southeastern United States. Donahue has been a freelance writer since 2008, focusing his efforts on his beloved construction projects.

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