The National Directory of Certified Public Accountants

Ask A CPA - Small Business Services

Standard Meal Allowance - In Place Of The Actual Meal Costs

Yes. While away from home on business trips, if you find it difficult to mainatin the actual records of meal costs, you may use a standard IRS meal allowance. The basic meal allowance in the U.S. for the current year is $52 a day. There are higher high-cost major metropolitan area rates available. You must keep a diary which includes the time, place and business purpose of the trip. Speak to your local CPA for the meal allowance in your area in your state. The rates are available online at www.gsa.gov/perdiem and in IRS Pub 1542.

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