As of October 1, 2006, the IRS has updated Per Diem rates for reimbursement for business travel within the continental United States. Per diem is probably the only latin term most people know, but if you’re clueless it means “per day.” As in the amount your employer will give you per day without making you turn in horrid expense report.
Expenses included in the per diem rates are food, hotel and “incidental expenses,” whatever that means. Don’t get excited, incidental expenses amount to a whopping $3.00 per day (I guess I should say per diem). The high-low method breaks down as follows:
- The over (for high-cost destinations) is $246.00.
- The under (for the crappy destinations) is $148.00 a day.
I’ve got to tell you, I’m not a big fan of the under. It’s hard to find even a mid-range hotel in some places (even tiny towns in Mississippi) for less than $100.00, even with a AAA discount.
Destination specific rates are also available. Employers cannot switch from the High-Low Method to the Regular Federal Per Diem Rate Method (or vice-versa) before January 1, 2007 so don’t hold your breath for a change for a trip happening next week.