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Days Out Records

IRS meal allowance for truck drivers in the United States.

Canada Information.

DDL includes the 'Days Out' record as a convenient way to record 'Leave Home' and 'Arrive Home' dates and times so the calculation of the total number of days 'away from home' for tax purposes is very convenient.  In particular the applicable section from the IRS publication 463 is quoted below.

IRS Publication 463 Cat No. 11081L Travel, Entertainment, Gift, and Car Expenses. From page 6 (Tax year 2001).  Download this Publication here --

Amount of standard meal allowance.
Start Quote---> "Special rate for transportation workers.
You can use a special standard meal allowance if you work in the transportation industry. You are in the transportation industry if your work:
1) Directly involves moving people or goods by airplane, barge, bus, ship, train, or in truck, and
2) Regularly requires you to travel away from home and, during any single trip, usually involves travel to areas eligible for different standard meal allowance rates.
If this applies to you, you can claim $59 a day standard meal allowance ($65 for travel outside the the continental United States). Special Note 1 Truck drivers who are subject to "hours of service" limits read the chart below. Special Note 2: Using the special rate for transportation workers eliminates the need for you to determine the standard meal allowance for every area where you stop for sleep or rest. If you choose to use the special rate for any trip, you must use the special rate (and not use the regular standard meal allowance rates) for all trips you take that year. Travel for days you depart and return. For both the day you depart for and the day you return from a business trip, you must prorate the standard meal allowance (figure a reduced amount for each day).

Meals when subject to “hours of service” limits.   You can deduct 70% (2005) of your business-related meal expenses if you consume the meals during or incident to any period subject to the Department of Transportation's “hours of service” limits. You apply this 65% limit before you apply the 2%-of-adjusted-gross-income limit.

In 2003 you can claim 65%

In 2004 this will increase to 70%

In 2006 this will increase to 75%

In 2008 this will increase to 80 %



Driver was away from home 200 days from Jan 1, 2003 to Sep 30, 2005 and 75 days from Oct 1, 2005 to Dec 31, 2005.  All days were in the United States.  Using this information you can do the math.

200 X $41 =  $8200 (from Jan 1, 2005 thru Sep 30, 2005)

75 X $52 = $3900    (from Oct 1, 2005 thru Dec 31, 2005)

Total= $12,100 X 75% = $9,075  this is what you would be allowed to claim. **This is before you apply the 2% -of-adjusted-gross-income limit.

You can do so by one of two methods.

•Method 1: You can claim 3 /4 of the standard meal allowance.
•Method 2: You can prorate using any method that you consistently apply and that is in accordance with reasonable business practice." <--- End Quote.

Based on the examples that follow this description of the Methods 1 and 2.  If you are away from home any part of the day, it is acceptable business practice to count that day as a full day for meal allowance if you so wish.  So I don't know why IRS lists Method 1 or Method 2, because it would be foolish not to count the days leaving and arriving home as full days away from home.  Weird....  So to maximize the benefit, you should record 'leave home' at the start of the log day in which you leave (midnight normally), and similarly record 'arrive home' at the end of the log day when you arrive home (midnight at end of log day).

Download the IRS Pub 529 from

Requires free Acrobat Reader Version 7 is available.


Canada Information:

Please visit the following site to get the most up to date information on Canada.

Canadian drivers are subject to tax rules as outlined in the following publication:


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Copyright © 1998-2013 Drivers Daily Log - Fritz Roland Bjorklund & Bruce A. Luebke.  All rights reserved.
Last modified: Wednesday August 27, 2014.