Social Security wage base and per-diem travel rates likely to rise


Around this time of year, key inflation-adjusted amounts are set for the coming year. For some of these amounts, there are “hints” at what final numbers may look like. Such is the case for predicting for 2018 to Social Security wage base limit; as well as per-diem allowances for travel acceptable to the IRS. These predictions have been dead-on accurate in the past and, likely, will prove to be the same (or a very close) for 2018 amounts.

Social Security wage base. The Social Security Administration’s Board of Trustees recently released is annual report. The Board estimated that the Social Security wage base for 2018 will be $130,500. The Social Security wage base for 2017 is $127,200.

Comment. Social Security‘s Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (OASDI) program limits the amount of earnings subject to taxation for a given year. This limit changes each year with changes in the national average wage index. The Social Security Administration will announce the official wage base for 2018 before year-end.

Per-diem travel rates. The General Services Administration (GSA) has announced its 2018 Continental U.S. (CONUS) per diem reimbursement rates. These rates are used by federal government employees on official travel and business.

The CONUS per diem rate is made up of three allowances: the standard lodging allowance, the meals allowance and the incidental expense allowance. The standard lodging rate will increase to $93 (up from $91). The GSA made no changes to the meals and incidental expense (M&IE) rate currently set at $51.

For FY 2018, there are more than 300 Nonstandard Areas (NSAs) that have per diem rates higher than the standard CONUS rate. The 2018 rates will apply to government travel on or after October 1, 2017, and through September 30, 2018.