Per Diem Rates 2020

Story Highlights
  • GSA Per Diem Rates
  • Things you can spend your per diem on
  • Rates for each state and city

Per diem is the daily allowance that employers give to their employees to cover their living expenses when traveling for work. Even though per diem allowances aren’t forced upon employers by any agency of the government, it is socially a requirement for employers to compensate per diem.

Each state and city has its own federal per diem rates set by the General Services Administration. The biggest question regarding the per diem is that whether it is taxable or not. The quick answer to it is, it depends. As long as the per diem given by the employer doesn’t exceed the federal per diem rate, it isn’t taxable. Any amount exceeding the per diem rate set by the GSA is subject to tax. Assuming your employer won’t exceed it, you can spend the per diem without the worry of tax in most cases.

The per diem rate changes significantly depending on where you, as an employee headed for work. For example, in California, when an employee travels to Visalia, Tulare the per diem rate is $112. Compare it with San Francisco which has a federal per diem rate of $334, the difference is vast.

The rates given above are this month’s rate for both cities. It may vary in the future.

How much is per diem in my state?

Unfortunately, there isn’t a straightforward answer to this question. Not only because it is different from place to place but it also differs each month. For a given period of the year, you may receive per diem up to $200 and you’d wish to get half of it in another time. So what you may get in per diem allowance can increase or fall drastically.

As mentioned at the beginning of our post, the rates are regulated by the General Services Administration. Because we can’t give a set figure, it is best for you to always check in with GSA’s website and see the figures for yourself.

Visit to see the full list of rates for each state and city.

What’s included in your per diem?

There isn’t a rule set by the GSA nor your employer that you’ll be spending your per diem in the desired way. It is simply for the daily costs that you’ll have to pay up for doing your job. You can also keep it, so there are no regulations on this. Therefore, it is up to you to spend the per diem you’ve given the way you need/want.

Generally speaking though, per diem is there for you so to take care of your meal, lodging, travel, or any other expenses that may occur during your visit for work.

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