PIB TIP: USE PER DIEM DEDUCTIONS. Since Oct. 1, 2009, the federal per diem rate has been $59. If you run through a state with a higher per diem, however, you can use the higher rate for days spent in that state. An over-the-road trucker who’s away from home much of the year saves money by using the per diem instead of gathering meal receipts because few people spend $59 a day on meals. The IRS allows 80 percent of the per diem as a tax deduction, which is $47.20 per day. The Partners in Business program is produced by Overdrive and the consultants at ATBS, the nation’s largest owner-operator business services firm, and is sponsored by Freightliner Trucks.