Congress has left town for the holidays after passing a historic tax reform bill that President Trump signed into law today. Below is additional information on F4A and clarification of rules on driver’s meal expenses in the new tax law.
Congress followed passage of the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” by passing a clean continuing resolution (CR) to keep the government funded through January 19th. ATA and our F4A Coalition worked very hard, using the bi-partisan support we have been building, to have the F4A language included in the CR. We were disappointed that in the end, Congress passed a clean bill without addressing other issues. We are told by senior members of Congress that the January 19th appropriations bill may be broad enough to carry this policy fix, but we are mindful that we have heard that before and not yet crossed the finish line.
As we head into the new year, ATA will continue to look at all options, both legislatively and administratively, to secure language and win this fight in early 2018. Interstate commerce cannot operate with a patchwork of the current labor rules, and we will continue to be all hands on deck.
Thank you for all your hard work and support this year on F4A, and we will update you as we digest and analyze our options over the holidays.
Per Diem changes in Tax bill
The federal tax reform package that President Trump signed into law today, changes the rules for some truck drivers on the expenses they incur for meals and incidentals while they are away from home on travel. One component of this tax bill was to reduce the number of itemized deductions across all taxpayers, not limited to our industry.
Employee truck drivers whose carrier does not pay them a per diem allowance will no longer be able to take the costs of meals and incidentals as an itemized deduction as they have in the past. This may not make a difference to some drivers, since the new tax law also doubles the standard deduction for taxpayers, so that far fewer taxpayers will be itemizing at all. Note that owner-operators will still be able to deduct their costs for meals and incidentals, just as they have in the past, since owner-operators are in business for themselves, and those costs are a deductible business expenses.
Some carriers pay their employee drivers a separate per diem allowance to cover meals and incidentals. The rules for carriers and drivers in that situation do not change. Carriers that pay their drivers a per diem will still be able to deduct those amounts as business expenses, and those per diems will not be income to the drivers that receive them. Please contact Bob Pitcher, ATA Vice President, State Laws, should you need further clarification of the per diem issue. Bob can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As we close out 2017, we can’t thank our members and the entire ATA Federation for all of your support and help in telling our story and securing victories for our industry.
We look forward to a successful 2018 and wish you a healthy and happy holiday.
President & CEO
American Trucking Associations