According to the IRS, “Per diem is an allowance paid to your employees for lodging, meals, and incidental expenses incurred when traveling. This allowance is in lieu of paying their actual travel expenses.” This explains why missionaries are able to request allowances to be designated as travel expenses via our EOM report. Deputation missionaries especially benefit from this system, as they are often traveling for ministry. Correctly designating per diem travel amounts on the EOM allows a missionary to increase their legally non-taxable ministry expenses. “Per diem payments are not part of the employee’s wages if the payment is equal to or less than the federal per diem rate and the employer receives an expense report from the employee.” For per diem, the expense report must include the business purpose of the trip and the date and place of the trip. Although you should save all receipts for ministry expenses, you are not required to send receipts for your per diem allowances claimed on the EOM Report. These rates are determined by the U.S. General Services Administration. Current rates can be found here: Per diem rates | GSA.

Please bear in mind these important things when claiming per diem travel expenses:

1. Only ministry-related travel is claimable through the Accountable Reimbursement Plan. No personal travel can be included.
2. Travel must be away from your tax home, which is generally the place that you live.
3. On the first and last day of travel, a missionary can only claim 75% of the federal per diem rates.

For more information, feel free to read the IRS documentation: About Publication 463, Travel, Gift, and Car Expenses | Internal Revenue Service ( Please reach out to your Field Service Coordinator with any questions. Thank you!