Tax (Per Diem question)


Well-Known Member
As a furloughed pilot trying to get as much money back this tax season to cover bills I was wondering about per diem standards. I was told that if your state in which you reisde pays more per day then the empolyer you work for you can write this off on taxes. I.e state of Indiana pays 45 a day where PSA was only giving me $35 (hypothetical). Is this true and if so how do you go about it?

Also I am a fan of doing my own taxes. I am hesitant to pay someone to do them for me. Although I wonder if it would be worth it for me to pay and get more money back by letting a professional prepare my taxes this year? Thoughts?


Well-Known Member
Can you write more than the standard deduction off this year? For most FO's the answer is no unless they have a wife that makes good money, they pay a LOT in student loan interest, or they lie thru their teeth on the writeoffs (I'm not talking embellishing I'm talking fabricating). Just something to consider before you go thru all that trouble. The standard deduction is something like $5,500 this year.

Also it's not state based it's locality based. IOW DCA has a higher meals and incidentals (M&I) rate than probably any place in Indiana.


Piece of Trash
Yeah, run 'em both, but unless you've got a house or a LOT of deductions, it's probably gonna work out better to go with the standard deduction. I've got a house and a kid, so itemizing generally works for me.

As for per-diem, I just use the government average rate instead of doing it per overnight. It normally works out better that way, and it's a whole lot less of a pain in the ass.


Well-Known Member
if you want to go through the trouble of looking up every city you overnighted in, you can. My accountant just uses the average provided by the government. I believe you can itemize 75% of the difference between what you get and the government average.

There are a few online accounting firms that specialize in flight crew tax returns, and can probably make the most sense of all the rules. With all that being said, if you're single and this is your only source of income, it's probably not worth your time.