Publication 1542
Per Diem Rates
(Revised: 2/2002)

(For Travel Within the Continental United States)


This publication is for employers who pay a per diem allowance to employees for business travel away from home on or after October 1, 2001, within the continental United States (CONUS). It gives the maximum per diem rate you can use without treating part of the per diem allowance as wages for tax purposes. For a detailed discussion on the tax treatment of a per diem allowance, see chapter 13 of Publication 535, Business Expenses, or Revenue Procedure 2001-47, 2001-42 I.R.B. 332.

High-low method.   Table 1, Localities Eligible for $204 ($42 M&IE) Per Diem Amount Under the High-Low Substantiation Method, lists the localities that are treated under that method as high cost localities for all or part of the year as shown in column 4. Table 1 begins on page 2. All other localities within CONUS are eligible for $125 ($34 meals and incidental expenses (M&IE)) per diem under the high-low method.

Regular federal per diem rate method.   Table 2, Maximum Federal Per Diem Rates, gives the regular federal per diem rates published in the Federal Register by the General Services Administration (GSA). It includes the separate rate for meals and incidental expenses (M&IE) for each locality. Table 2 begins on page 4. The standard rate for all locations within CONUS not specifically listed in Table 2 is $85 ($55 for lodging and $30 for M&IE). A federal agency can ask GSA to review the per diem rate in a particular locality. The process is described in footnote 4 of the table.

The lodging rates for approximately 60 cities listed in this publication may change later in 2002. To be sure you have the most current rate, check the Internet (see Per diem rates on the Internet, later) or call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040.

Travel outside CONUS.   The federal per diem rates for localities outside CONUS, including Alaska, Hawaii,
Puerto Rico, the Northern Mariana Islands, U.S. possessions, and all foreign localities, are published monthly. You can buy the per diem supplement, Maximum Travel Per Diem Allowances for Foreign Areas, from the U.S. Government Printing Office. Call (202) 512-1800 (not a toll-free number), write to the Superintendent of Documents, P.O. Box 371954, Pittsburgh, PA 15250-7954, or visit the GPO web site at http://bookstore.gpo.gov.

Per diem rates on the Internet.   You can access the federal per diem rates on the Internet at www.policyworks.gov/perdiem.

Comments and suggestions.   We welcome your comments about this publication and your suggestions for future editions.

You can e-mail us while visiting our web site at www.irs.gov.

You can write to us at the following address:

Internal Revenue Service
Technical Publications Branch
1111 Constitution Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20224

We respond to many letters by telephone. Therefore, it would be helpful if you would include your daytime phone number, including the area code, in your correspondence.

How To Get Tax Help

You can get help with unresolved tax issues, order free publications and forms, ask tax questions, and get more information from the IRS in several ways. By selecting the method that is best for you, you will have quick and easy access to tax help.

Contacting your Taxpayer Advocate.   If you have attempted to deal with an IRS problem unsuccessfully, you should contact your Taxpayer Advocate.

The Taxpayer Advocate represents your interests and concerns within the IRS by protecting your rights and resolving problems that have not been fixed through normal channels. While Taxpayer Advocates cannot change the tax law or make a technical tax decision, they can clear up problems that resulted from previous contacts and ensure that your case is given a complete and impartial review.

To contact your Taxpayer Advocate:

  • Call the Taxpayer Advocate at 1-877-777-4778.
  • Call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040.
  • Call, write, or fax the Taxpayer Advocate office in your area.
  • Call 1-800-829-4059 if you are a TTY/TDD user.

For more information, see Publication 1546, The Taxpayer Advocate Service of the IRS.

Free tax services.   To find out what services are available, get Publication 910, Guide to Free Tax Services. It contains a list of free tax publications and an index of tax topics. It also describes other free tax information services, including tax education and assistance programs and a list of TeleTax topics.

COMPUTE: Personal computer. With your personal computer and modem, you can access the IRS on the Internet at www.irs.gov. While visiting our web site, you can:

  • Find answers to questions you may have.
  • Download forms and publications or search for forms and publications by topic or keyword.
  • View forms that may be filled in electronically, print the completed form, and then save the form for recordkeeping.
  • View Internal Revenue Bulletins published in the last few years.
  • Search regulations and the Internal Revenue Code.
  • Receive our electronic newsletters on hot tax issues and news.
  • Get information on starting and operating a small business.

You can also reach us with your computer using File Transfer Protocol at ftp.irs.gov.

FAX: TaxFax Service. Using the phone attached to your fax machine, you can receive forms and instructions by calling 703-368-9694. Follow the directions from the prompts. When you order forms, enter the catalog number for the form you need. The items you request will be faxed to you.

For help with transmission problems, call the FedWorld Help Desk at 703-487-4608.

PHONE: Phone. Many services are available by phone.

  • Ordering forms, instructions, and publications. Call 1-800-829-3676 to order current and prior year forms, instructions, and publications.
  • Asking tax questions. Call the IRS with your tax questions at 1-800-829-1040.
  • TTY/TDD equipment. If you have access to TTY/TDD equipment, call 1-800-829-4059 to ask tax questions or to order forms and publications.
  • TeleTax topics. Call 1-800-829-4477 to listen to pre-recorded messages covering various tax topics.

Evaluating the quality of our telephone services. To ensure that IRS representatives give accurate, courteous, and professional answers, we evaluate the quality of our telephone services in several ways.

  • A second IRS representative sometimes monitors live telephone calls. That person only evaluates the IRS assistor and does not keep a record of any taxpayer's name or tax identification number.
  • We sometimes record telephone calls to evaluate IRS assistors objectively. We hold these recordings no longer than one week and use them only to measure the quality of assistance.
  • We value our customers' opinions. Throughout this year, we will be surveying our customers for their opinions on our service.

WALKIN: Walk-in. You can walk in to many post offices, libraries, and IRS offices to pick up certain forms, instructions, and publications. Some IRS offices, libraries, grocery stores, copy centers, city and county governments, credit unions, and office supply stores have an extensive collection of products available to print from a CD-ROM or photocopy from reproducible proofs. Also, some IRS offices and libraries have the Internal Revenue Code, regulations, Internal Revenue Bulletins, and Cumulative Bulletins available for research purposes.

ENVELOPE: Mail. You can send your order for forms, instructions, and publications to the Distribution Center nearest to you and receive a response within 10 workdays after your request is received. Find the address that applies to your part of the country.

  • Western part of U.S.:
    Western Area Distribution Center
    Rancho Cordova, CA 95743-0001
  • Central part of U.S.:
    Central Area Distribution Center
    P.O. Box 8903
    Bloomington, IL 61702-8903
  • Eastern part of U.S. and foreign addresses:
    Eastern Area Distribution Center
    P.O. Box 85074
    Richmond, VA 23261-5074

CDROM: CD-ROM. You can order IRS Publication 1796, Federal Tax Products on CD-ROM, and obtain:

  • Current tax forms, instructions, and publications.
  • Prior-year tax forms and instructions.
  • Popular tax forms that may be filled in electronically, printed out for submission, and saved for recordkeeping.
  • Internal Revenue Bulletins.

The CD-ROM can be purchased from National Technical Information Service (NTIS) by calling 1-877-233-6767 or on the Internet at www.irs.gov. The first release is available in mid-December and the final release is available in late January.

IRS Publication 3207, Small Business Resource Guide, is an interactive CD-ROM that contains information important to small businesses. It is available in mid-February. You can get one free copy by calling 1-800-829-3676 or visiting the IRS web site at www.irs.gov.