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Who Benefits From a Per Diem Deduction?

tax question 1040

2Many pilots and flight attendants have heard that they are eligible to take a meal deduction on their taxes. The meal deduction that pilots and flight attendants are allowed to take is for overnight trips while at work (i.e. company layovers). EZPERDIEM.COM has made getting this deduction a flash by linking almost every likely airport in the world to their respective CONUS or OCONUS per diem rates. This enables pilots and flight attendants to get this deduction calculated instantly online simply by entering their layovers. A process that used take hours and hours is now only about 20 minutes. But the big question is, "who benefits?" The answer to this question depends on several factors. There are two feasible ways that this deduction is calculated, and EZPERDIEM.COM does both of them simultaneously. For the 2007 tax year, the first method (using the special per diem rates for transportation workers) is to assign a value of $52 for domestic layovers and $58 for international layovers. The second method is to use the locality rates (city-by-city rates) for each city and time of year that the layovers occurred. Typically (approximately 80% of the time) the city-by-city method is better, but if the layovers often occur in low-paying cities, then it is possible that the first method will end up greater. The per diem that an airline pays a pilot or flight attendant is the reimbursement for his or her meals and incidental expenses (M and IE expenses). The per diem paid by his or her employer reduces the meal deduction. Here are two examples, based on real data that we used for two different airline pilots. The numbers are rounded and the per diem reimbursement is estimated using the companies's actual per diem pay.

Regional Pilot Per Diem Benefit

Case 1 - Regional pilot paid $1.50 per hour per diem


Major Airline Pilot Per Diem Benefit

Case 2 - Major airline pilot paid $2.05 per hour per diem

These examples show something very important. The more nontaxable per diem an airline pilot or flight attendant earns, the less his or her tax deduction, while the more often an airline pilot or flight attendant flies to higher paying cities, the higher their tax deduction. Armed with this knowledge, you could probably deduce that the work group that would benefit the most in the airline industry would be international flight attendants because they fly to the highest paying cities but generally do not get reimbursed as much per diem as airline pilots do, thus creating a higher per diem deduction. While there are too many variables involved to definitively say that one group always benefits while another group doesn't, we can definitively point out a group of people who will NOT benefit: those that do not itemize their tax returns. That is because the meal deduction is just one component of a pilot's or flight attendant's employee business expenses, which gets figured with other itemized deductions. You shouldn't discount the per diem deduction simply because you assume it won't help you or because someone told you that you probably won't benefit. EZPERDIEM makes it a snap to calculate the per diem deduction and doesn't charge much to do it. In fact, the low fee is a professional deduction you can take on next year's taxes. If you itemize your tax returns and are not aware of how the per diem deduction works, you could be in for a big surprise in the form of a much higher tax refund.

What's all this about?

EZPerDiem helps pilots and flight attendants with their flight crew taxes by:

  • Calculating your per diem deduction using two methods!
  • Helping you find flight crew tax deductions you are not aware of!
  • Organizing all the deductions on a Final Tax Report!
  • Making it easy for you to give the report to an account or enter into TurboTax!

Money-Back Guarantee

If you do not benefit, we will provide a 100% refund!

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