IRS increasing owner-ops' per diem beginning in October

Updated Sep 11, 2021

Trucking news and briefs for Thursday, Sept. 9, 2021:

IRS increasing per diem for next year

The allowable per diem for owner-operators will increase by $3 beginning Oct. 1, according to the Internal Revenue Service.

The $3 increase brings the per diem for those traveling in the continental United States to $69.

Owner-operators, using their Schedule C business expense form, will now be able to deduct $55.20 off of their income for every day they’re on the road and away from home. Though the allotted per diem is $69, the IRS only allows a deduction of 80% of that from operators’ income, which equals $55.20.

To qualify for the per diem, IRS rules state your work must be away from “your tax home substantially longer” than a normal work day, and you must sleep away from your home on the days the per diem is being used, ATBS says.

The per diem rate for owner-operators has been $66 since Oct. 1, 2018, when the IRS increased the rate by $3 from $63.

Trucker dies after crashing into Indiana scalehouse

A 2021 Freightliner pulling a box trailer and being driven by James G. Bristol, of Jefferson City, Tennessee, crashed into a scalehouse on I-74 in Indiana. Bristol was pronounced dead at the scene. The building at the weigh station was unoccupied at the time of the crash.A 2021 Freightliner pulling a box trailer and being driven by James G. Bristol, of Jefferson City, Tennessee, crashed into a scalehouse on I-74 in Indiana. Bristol was pronounced dead at the scene. The building at the weigh station was unoccupied at the time of the crash.Indiana State Police

A 63-year-old trucker from Tennessee died Wednesday morning, Sept. 8, when the tractor-trailer he was driving crashed into an unoccupied scalehouse on Interstate 74 in Indiana.

Indiana State Police say the single-vehicle crash at the I-74 weigh station in northern Dearborn County near the 171 mile marker.

The troopers' initial investigation indicates a 2021 Freightliner pulling a box trailer and being driven by James G. Bristol, of Jefferson City, Tennessee, was traveling westbound on I-74 near the Indiana/Ohio state line. 

According to the troopers, for an unknown reason, the vehicle left the interstate and entered the I-74 weigh station, where it then drove into the scalehouse. The semi came to rest inside of the building. 

A statement from ISP said tow trucks were called to the scene to pull the truck away from the building to gain access to the driver. When Bristol was located, he was found to have sustained fatal injuries. The unoccupied building was destroyed in the collision.

Information obtained by investigators indicates a medical issue may have played a role in the crash. Drugs and alcohol are not suspected as factors in the crash. An autopsy on the driver is pending. 

Man sentenced for issuing fraudulent military documents for CDL waivers

Philip Mungin, of Maryland, was sentenced last month after pleading guilty in April to forgery of military discharge certificates and identity theft in order to help people obtain CDLs through the Department of Transportation’s Military Skills Test Waiver Program.

Mungin, under the false identity of a military transition specialist, manufactured and sold fraudulent military discharge certificates (DD-214s), which falsely claimed the bearer was trained and qualified to operate commercial vehicles, according to DOT’s Office of Inspector General.

According to DOT OIG, the fraudulent DD-214s allowed at least 30 individuals to obtain a CDL through the waiver program, which waives the CDL testing and education requirements for individuals with equivalent military training.

I-10 pavement project closing lanes near Phoenix

A project to improve the riding surface along Interstate 10 in areas west of the I-17 “Stack” interchange in Arizona’s West Valley is scheduled to start this weekend, Sept. 10-13, according to the Arizona Department of Transportation.

Crews will remove the top layer of older, worn rubberized asphalt along sections of I-10 during a series of weekend closures this fall.

The $12-million project will start with a closure of eastbound I-10 between Avondale Boulevard and 99th Avenue from 9 p.m. Friday, Sept. 10, to 5 a.m. Monday, Sept. 13. The eastbound I-10 on-ramps at Litchfield and Dysart roads also will be closed. 

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