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IRS Issues Federal ‘High-Low’ Per Diem Rates Effective October 1

BY: Jyme Mariani, Esq. | 09/23/21

The IRS has released the optional “high-low” per diem rates for lodging expenses and meals and incidental expenses (M&IE) that may be used instead of the General Services Administration’s “actual” per diem rates for travel to locations within the continental U.S. (CONUS), the special federal M&IE per diem rates applicable to the transportation industry, and the per diem rate for incidental expenses. The updated high-low rates apply for travel undertaken on or after October 1, 2021 [Notice 2021-52, 9-3-21].

High-Low Rates

The “high” rate for lodging expenses and M&IE increases to $296 (from $292) for travel to any high-cost locality, while the “low” rate increases to $202 (from $198) for travel to any other locality within CONUS. The rates for M&IE increase to $74 (from $71) for high-cost localities and to $64 (from $60) for any other locality within CONUS.

Change to 2020 for Sedona, Ariz.

Notice 2021-52 modifies Notice 2020-71 for the specified period for which Sedona, Ariz., is a high-cost locality. The period is now: October 1-December 31, 2020; March 1-April 30, 2021; and September 1-30, 2021.

To learn more about federal and state laws, regulations, and information to keep your company's payroll operations in compliance, check out Payroll Source Plus!


Jyme Mariani, Esq., is Managing Editor of Payroll Currently and Payroll Information Resources for the APA.