Financial Services Manual (FIN)

Effective: 6/21/1983

Revised: 9/12/2011

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FIN 509: Meals and Lodging

Purpose

To provide meal and lodging allowances for university employees in travel status

Source

Financial Services

Policy


Long-Term Travel

An employee temporarily assigned to a location outside the 50-mile radius from his or her residence and designated duty post for 30 days or more will be reimbursed as follows.

  1. The traveler is allowed regular lodging and per diem allowances for a period not to exceed seven days while arranging for long-term assignment accommodations.
  2. In-State: No more than $20 per day may be reimbursed for per diem, and no more than $39 per day may be reimbursed for lodging and per diem. Lodging includes all related costs such as electricity, gas, water, telephone, etc. Original receipts (itemized when available) are required for all of these charges regardless of who pays the cost. The itemized portion of the telephone bill must accompany the reimbursement claim if more than the monthly service charge is to be reimbursed.
  3. Out-of-State: The traveler may claim the maximum amount established by the appropriate provost/vice provost/vice president on a case-by-case basis depending upon the location. This amount is established when the Travel Authorization/Claim Form is approved.

Meal Allowances

All meal per diem allowances include incidental expenses (e.g., gratuities, laundry, and newspapers). Original receipts supporting the actual cost of meals and incidental expenses are not required.

The amount to be reimbursed is that which the traveler actually spent for the meal and other allowable incidental expenses up to the total per diem allowed, as indicated in Per Diem Rates by State on the Travel Advances & Reimbursements Web site.

Per diem expenses are not allowed when at a traveler’s residence. Also, when a portion of a traveler’s working time is spent within a specifically assigned or limited geographical area, i.e., a campus or teaching location, and the same route is traveled frequently and routinely on one-day trips, per diem expenses are not allowed at any location.

When a traveler is entitled to a full day’s allowance, the amount expended for any one meal is at the discretion of the traveler. However, the total amount claimed for all meals and incidental expenses in one day cannot exceed the maximum per diem allowance (see Exception to the Maximums).

Travelers who are required to buy a meal in excess of the maximum meal allowance at a conference or meeting may be reimbursed for actual expenses if an original receipt (itemized when available) and explanation are provided to Travel Reimbursements.

Business Meals Incurred in Travel Status

Business meals, food, and related expenses incurred while in travel status are reimbursed in accordance with FIN 420–02, “Business Meals, Food, and Related Expenses.” Business meals, food, and related expenses can be claimed while in travel status when a non-ASU person is being hosted. No travel meal per diems are to be claimed for any meals reimbursed by the filing of a Business Meals and Related Expenses Form.

Expenditures for business meals not exceeding $200 per meal may be claimed on a travel claim along with other travel expenses. Attach the Business Meals and Related Expenses Form to the travel claim; or document all the information from the Business Meals and Related Expenses Form on the travel claim.

Meal Per Diems for Domestic Travel

Meal and incidental expenses for out-of-state and in-state travel are reimbursed based on federal per diem rates as stipulated by the Internal Revenue Service, with minor modifications approved by the State of Arizona. Six different per diem reimbursement rates have been approved, depending on the travel destination. Refer to the Financial Services Per Diem by State website for a list of current rates.

To identify which per diem rate to use, refer to the current Per Diem Rates by State. The index is also available through Travel Reimbursements. To use the Per Diem Rates by State, first locate the state in which the travel destination is located. If the specific city is listed, use the meals and incidental expenses (M&IE) rate indicated for that city. If the city is not listed, refer to the county in which the city is located and use the applicable rate. If neither the city nor the county is listed, apply the default rate of $34.00 for both in-state and out-of-state travel.

All cities within 100 miles of the Arizona border, e.g., Las Vegas, are considered in-state and reimbursed at the default rate of $34.00 per day unless approved as out-of-state travel before the trip, in accordance with FIN 505–01, “Out-of-State Travel Authorization.”

Meal Per Diems for Foreign Travel

Meal and incidental expenses for foreign travel, Alaska, and Hawaii are reimbursed, up to the maximum rate allowed, at the established rates published in the U.S. Department of State Standardized Regulations. A copy of the regulations is available for review at Travel Reimbursements or on the Internet at www.state.gov/m/a/als/prdm. Foreign meal per diem rates are allocated for meals, when necessary, in the same proportion as the high-cost per diem allowance: 20 percent for breakfast, 25 percent for lunch, and 55 percent for dinner. Maximum rates of reimbursement are not authorized when free meals are provided at a conference or by an airline.

Meal Allowance Eligibility

A traveler must be in overnight travel status to be eligible for a meal allowance. Overnight travel status is a condition in which an individual is conducting necessary university business that involves at least one night’s lodging, is outside a 50-mile radius from his or her residence and/or designated duty post, and the travel has supervisory approval. Meal expenses when not in overnight travel status are considered additional compensation to the employee and can be processed through Financial Services-Payroll Services. Federal tax rules require that employers treat the reimbursement of these meals as taxable wages. These meal expenses will be included, net of taxes, in the employee’s next regular paycheck and will be reported as additional compensation on the employee’s annual IRS Form W-2 Box 1. To process a same-day meal reimbursement, departments should submit the ASU Taxable Same Day Meal Reimbursement Request form to Financial Services-Payroll Services for processing. Please do not include same-day meal reimbursements on travel claim. Travel will make an adjustment to any travel claim that includes same-day meal reimbursements.

Same-day meal reimbursements are based on the following rules:

  1. six hours in travel status qualify one meal reimbursement

    and

  2. 12 hours in travel status qualify two meal reimbursements.

Cut-off hours for meal expenses and the additional compensation a traveler not in overnight travel status can incur based on the default rate of $34 for meals appear in the following table:D

Travel
Status
Hours
Time Meal
was Consumed
Breakfast Lunch Dinner
at least 612:00 a.m.–10:00 a.m.$7
10:01 a.m.–4:00 p.m.$10
4:01 p.m.–11:59 p.m.$17
at least 1212:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.$7$10
10:01 a.m.–11:59 p.m.$10$17

endtable

Meal allowance eligibility is not affected when a traveler crosses different time zones. Allowance eligibility is based upon the originating time zone of the travel on the day the per diem is being requested, e.g., a traveler arriving in Phoenix at 1:30 p.m. from the East Coast is allowed lunch per diem based on the East Coast time zone, which is two hours ahead of Phoenix during standard time months and three hours ahead of Phoenix during daylight saving time months.

Allowances for individual meals for travelers on overnight travel status are based on the following conditions:

Breakfast
Travelers are eligible for the breakfast per diem if in overnight travel status and travel commences at or before 6:00 a.m. or ends at or after 6:00 a.m.

Lunch
Travelers are eligible for the lunch per diem when in overnight travel status and travel commences at or before 12:00 p.m. or ends at or after 12:00 p.m.

Dinner
Travelers are eligible for the dinner per diem when in overnight travel status and travel commences at or before 6:00 p.m. or ends at or after 6:00 p.m.

Other than Day-Shift Workers

The meal allowances specified above may be modified as necessary to provide equitable treatment to individuals who work other than a normal day shift. Modifications specifying the amounts and procedures must be approved by the appropriate provost/vice provost/vice president, or by other individuals delegated in writing who report to the provost/vice provost/vice president. The maximum meal reimbursement limits are based on the type of meal appropriate to the same time of day, with the maximum reimbursement for an off-shift meal being the same as the maximum shown on the reimbursement schedule.

Meals Provided

If meals are provided at no additional cost by the transporting carrier or are included in the conference registration fee (excluding continental breakfast if eggs and/or meat are not available), the traveler is not entitled to a meal per diem allowance for those particular meals.

If the breakfast provided was only a continental breakfast and the traveler ate a full breakfast where protein was served, the traveler is eligible for the standard breakfast per diem. This explanation must be noted on the travel claim submitted to Travel Reimbursements.

If circumstances, such as unique dietary needs, make it necessary to forgo the provided meal, the traveler may then claim up to the maximum meal allowance. In such cases, a receipt and a written explanation must be provided to Travel Reimbursements.


Lodging Allowances

The lodging reimbursement amount includes room charges, but excludes applicable taxes. Lodging reimbursement rates are set by the State of Arizona Joint Legislative Budget Council based on federal government rates. Lodging costs incurred within a 50-mile radius of the designated duty post or residence will not be reimbursed unless an emergency exists and the appropriate provost/vice provost/vice president, or individuals reporting to them, who have been delegated this authority in writing, approve. Lodging must be at a commercial establishment, and the individual is required to request the lowest available rate (e.g., the government, commercial, or corporate rate).

Maximum Reimbursements for Lodging

Conference Lodging
A traveler attending a conference or other formal meeting as an official representative of the university may be reimbursed the least expensive (single room) conference lodging cost if a brochure of the conference, including the name of the suggested hotel, is included with the Travel Authorization/Claim Form. Accommodations at alternate hotels in the immediate vicinity of the conference may be considered conference designated lodging when:
  1. there are no vacancies at the conference hotel and the traveler has obtained comparable rates at alternate hotels

    or

  2. the traveler stays at a hotel with a lower lodging rate than the recommended hotel.

Meetings or staff retreats held by university departments that require attendees to stay overnight may not be held at a commercial establishment where the lodging rate is above the maximum lodging rate allowed by the Per Diem Rates by State. An exception to exceed the maximum lodging rate may be granted in advance of the conference by the appropriate provost/vice provost/vice president, or by other individuals delegated in writing who report to the provost/vice provost/vice president.

Other than Conference Lodging
Individuals not attending a conference or other formal meeting with recommended hotel accommodations but traveling on authorized university business are reimbursed in accordance with the current Per Diem Rates by State. The index may also be picked up at Travel Reimbursements. Refer to the Per Diem Rates by State to determine the reimbursement as follows:
  1. If a traveler stays in a hotel located in a domestic city listed in the Per Diem Rates by State, reimbursement is for the actual cost of the accommodations and is not to exceed the maximum lodging amount.
  2. If a traveler stays in a domestic city not included in the Per Diem Rates by State, but the county that includes the city is listed, reimbursement is for the actual cost of the accommodations and is not to exceed the maximum lodging amount for the county.
  3. If a traveler stays in a domestic city or county not listed in the Per Diem Rates by State, reimbursement is for the actual cost of the accommodations and is not to exceed the default lodging allowance of $60.
  4. Travel within 100 miles of the Arizona border, e.g., to Las Vegas, is considered in-state travel and the in-state default lodging allowance of $60 applies, unless the trip is approved in advance as out-of-state travel in accordance with FIN 505–01, “Out-of-State Travel Authorization.”

The maximum lodging reimbursement amount does not include applicable taxes, i.e., the actual cost reimbursed may exceed the maximum by the total of the applicable taxes.

Lodging for Foreign Travel

Lodging expenses for foreign travel or for Alaska and Hawaii are normally reimbursed, up to the maximum rate allowed, at the established rates published by the U.S. Department of State Standardized Regulations. A copy of this listing is available for review in Travel Reimbursements or on the Internet at www.state.gov/m/a/als/prdm. From the Foreign Per Diem Rates listing, select the year of travel, then the month and year of travel. Original receipts are required. Itemized receipts are preferred and may be required in certain circumstances before reimbursement is made. Receipts supporting the actual cost of lodging are required. Maximum rates of reimbursement are not authorized when free or low-cost lodging is provided.

Shared Lodging

When two individuals in travel status share a room, each traveler may claim for reimbursement his or her portion of the original receipt (itemized when available), up to the maximum individual allowable amount, with total reimbursement not to exceed the amount on the original receipt. The original lodging bill indicating the total amount paid by each traveler must be attached to one traveler’s claim, and a photocopy with the same information must be attached to the other traveler’s claim. If one traveler paid the entire lodging bill, the original receipt (itemized when available) must be submitted by that traveler. The names of all authorized travelers sharing the room must be listed on the original receipt. Each of the other travelers’ claims should:

  1. indicate that the entire lodging bill was paid by another authorized traveler

    and

  2. include the name of that traveler.

When lodging is shared with an individual not in authorized university travel status, reimbursement shall not exceed the single room rate for the conference or the maximum allowance in the Per Diem Rates by State.

An individual may claim only reimbursement for the room in which he or she stayed. A traveler may not claim lodging reimbursement for other authorized travelers if a room was not shared. Each individual is responsible for his or her own lodging expense when rooms are not shared.

Noncommercial Lodging

Employees in authorized travel status may stay at a personal residence rather than at a commercial establishment and obtain lodging reimbursement up to 50 percent of the allowable rate for a commercial establishment, under the following restrictions.

  1. This special lodging arrangement occurs in extremely rare circumstances, e.g., overnight lodging is required in a remote area where hotel lodging is difficult to locate, rates charged are considered excessive, and/or the university employee needs to lodge within a personal home to learn about a different culture.
  2. The person(s) offering the lodging arrangement may not be related to the university employee.
  3. For in-state travel, the Travel Authorization/Claim Form must be used and not the In-State Travel Authorization/Claim Form.
  4. Approval for the university employee to incur travel expense and lodge in a personal residence must be given in advance by the initiation of the Travel Authorization/Claim Form. The intent to lodge at a personal residence must be described clearly on the form. Even though this travel may be only in-state, the authorizing travel official must sign this form.
  5. An assistant director or higher must also specifically approve the Travel Authorization/Claim Form for noncommercial lodging before the trip.

Lodging Receipts

Original receipts are required. Itemized receipts are preferred and may be required in certain circumstances before reimbursement is made. Receipts for lodging expenses must be attached to the Travel Authorization/Claim Form for reimbursement. A valid receipt is the original receipt issued by the establishment and must contain:

  1. the name of the traveler
  2. the lodging date(s)
  3. the name, address, and telephone number of the lodging establishment
  4. the per night cost

    and

  5. the total cost of the lodging.

A credit card receipt is acceptable only if the lodging establishment has entered the same information on the charge slip that is required to be on a valid receipt.

Lodging in Excess of $5,000

A purchase order may be issued to a hotel for room charges if the total billing is expected to be $5,000 or more. If the total billing is less than $5,000, the hotel bill must be paid from a travel advance or charged to a Diners Club university travel card. Prior to issuing a purchase order to a hotel, Purchasing and Business Services will forward the purchase order to Travel Reimbursements for review and approval of the room rate. The room rate being paid must comply with the maximum reimbursement amount described elsewhere in this policy.


Exception to the Maximums

If the department head states in writing that compliance with the meals and lodging maximums is impractical in a certain situation, and the president, provost/vice provost/vice president approves, actual costs may be reimbursed even if listed maximums are exceeded. Such exceptions must be approved in writing before travel. When seeking reimbursement for travel expenses, the traveler must attach the written approval to the Travel Authorization/Claim Form. The authority to exceed the travel maximums has been delegated by the president to the provost/vice provost/vice president and permits the provost/vice provost/vice president to delegate this authority in writing to other individuals reporting to them.

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