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Handbook of Business Procedures

Date published: 
Last revised: 
Issued by: 

June 29, 2005
July 11, 2014
Travel Services

 

Part 11. Travel - Table of Contents


11.5.2. MEALS AND LODGING

A. Introduction

Reimbursements for meal and lodging expenses include overnight travel and lease of an apartment or house. Reimbursement for meals and lodging expenses is subject to official rules and regulations. The amounts that may be claimed depend on the sources of funding.

B. General Requirements for Meals and Lodging Reimbursements

Meal and lodging expenses are not reimbursable without an overnight stay. Only single occupancy rates can be claimed. If two or more employees share lodging, the expense should be divided equally between the employees. Excess meal and lodging expenses for one day may not be carried forward or backward to another day.

IRS Publication 463: Travel, Entertainment, Gift, and Car Expenses

An employee may only be reimbursed for meals or lodging expenses incurred within the employee's designated headquarters if the expenses are mandatory and connected with training, a seminar, or a conference.

Expenses incurred the day before official business begins or the day after official business ends are reimbursable. Expenses incurred more than one day before official business begins or more than one day after official business ends are reimbursable only if the expenses are incurred to qualify for a discount airfare and results in a savings to the University.

State employees of The University of Texas are exempt from Texas state hotel occupancy taxes. A University employee traveler must present the hotel with a completed exemption certificate, available from the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts. If a hotel refuses to honor the certificate, the traveler will be reimbursed for the tax, and the state comptroller should be notified of the hotel's refusal. Employees are not exempt from county or municipal hotel occupancy taxes.

If actual lodging expenses exceed allowable expenses, hotel occupancy tax reimbursement is limited to the tax attributable to the allowed lodging expenses. Example: Travel on state funds within Texas is limited to lodging expenses of $85 per day. If actual lodging expenses are $100 and local occupancy taxes are $10.00, the reimbursable tax is $8.50. This is calculated as follows:

($85/$100) x $10.00 = 85% x $10.00 = $8.50

When traveling out-of-state, the meal expense reimbursement rate may be reduced and a corresponding amount used to increase the lodging reimbursement rate. However, lodging expense may not be reduced to increase the meal reimbursement rate.

Local accounts may reimburse tips and gratuities incurred during travel for official business. The amount of the reimbursement may not exceed 20 percent of the reimbursed amount. The tip or gratuity is separate from the daily meal limit and should be itemized in the "Other Travel" section of the voucher.

Voucher Requirements:

  • If an original receipt is not available, a copy of the receipt, canceled check, or credit card slip must be submitted with the voucher transmittal form. The voucher must state that the original receipt is unavailable.
  • To reimburse an employee for meals or lodging incurred within the designated headquarters, a statement must be added to the voucher stating that the expenses were mandatory and connected with training, a seminar, or a conference.

Texas Hotel Occupancy Tax Exemption Certificate*

C. Prohibited Reimbursements

An employee may not be reimbursed for meals or lodging expenses incurred within the employee's designated headquarters unless the expenses are mandatory and connected with training, a seminar, or a conference. See Part 11.5.3 B of this policy for further information.

Meal and lodging expenses may not be reimbursed for any days the employee is absent from duty for personal reasons. Personal reasons include but are not limited to illness, a family emergency, breakdown of a motor vehicle, and any occurrence not connected with official duties.

An employee can only be reimbursed for his or her own expenditures, not for expenditures incurred by other individuals.

Alcoholic beverages and associated tips are not reimbursable expenses.

State accounts may not reimburse tips and gratuities incurred during travel for official business.

Part 11.5.3 B General Requirements for Meals and Lodging Reimbursements

D. Overnight Travel in Texas

1. State Accounts

State accounts and state-funded 18- and 26-accounts are limited by the U.S. General Services Administration federal per diem tables. The rates may be found in *DEFINE using the GG1 command. These rates are updated each Oct. 1, when the federal government announces their updated rates.

Reimbursements for travel to a Texas city for any county not listed in the federal rate tables are limited to actual expenses not to exceed $123, of which meals can be up to $46 per day, instead of the federal default rate total of $109.

2. Local Accounts

Local accounts are limited to a combination of actual meal and lodging expenses not to exceed $220 per day. If meal expenses exceed $41 per day, itemized meals receipts and a written explanation will be required.

E. Overnight Travel Outside Texas but in Continental U.S.

1. State Accounts

State accounts and state-funded 18- and 26-accounts are limited by the U.S. General Services Administration federal per diem tables. The rates may be found in *DEFINE using the GG1 command. These rates are updated each Oct. 1, when the federal government announces their updated rates.

2. Local Accounts

Local accounts are limited to a combination of actual meal and lodging expenses not to exceed $325 per day. If meal expenses exceed $41 per day, itemized meals receipts and an explanation will be required.

F. Travel Outside Continental U.S.

Reimbursement for meals and lodging is limited to the actual expenses not to exceed $350 per day. If meal expenses exceed $41 per day, itemized meals receipts are required with a written explanation.

Voucher Requirements:

  • If travel is to a foreign country, expenses must be converted to U.S. dollars. The voucher must specify the exchange rate used.
  • If required, a copy of the approved Request for President's Approval form must be attached to the voucher.

G. Lease of an Apartment or House

If a department anticipates that an employee will be at a duty point for at least one month, the expense of leasing an apartment or house may be reimbursed.

The apartment or house must be leased from a commercial establishment. The name of the employee must appear on the lease, and the purpose for leasing must be the conservation of state funds. Any deposit required for the lease of a house or apartment is the sole responsibility of the employee and is not reimbursable.

Voucher Requirements:

  • The voucher may not encompass more than one month's expenses.
  • The expense of leasing an apartment or house for the month must be listed as a lump-sum amount.
  • The voucher must itemize the meal expenses on a daily basis.
  • A copy of the lease agreement and proof of the lease payment must be attached to the voucher.
  • When applicable, an invoice or billing statement from a furniture rental company or utility company must be attached to the voucher.
  • When applicable, proof that an application fee has been paid must be attached to the voucher.

H. Exceptions to Reimbursement Limits

Executive heads of component institutions of The University of Texas System may be reimbursed for their actual expenses for meals and lodging when traveling on official business. Employees who are authorized to accompany or represent these officials may also be reimbursed for their actual expenses for meals and lodging. Written authorization from the official must be submitted with the employee's Travel Payment Voucher (VP5) transmittal form.

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Part 11. Travel - Table of Contents