Frequently Asked Questions

Business Meals

If the Department requires individual meal receipts instead of paying straight per diem, don't we need to send the receipts with the TERV?

Virginia is a Per Diem state.  That means that receipts are not required for individual meals.  If the department wants to reimburse individual meals based on actual expenses, you may add up the receipts for the day, put the amount in the Per Diem column and maintain the receipts on the department's copy of the TERV.  The only meal receipts the Travel Office needs to see are Business Meal receipts.

Does the Tier III Restructured Policy Per Diem Calculator also calculate the departure and return travel days?

Yes.  The Calculator will provide the correct amounts for meals on the 75% departure and return travel days.

The Per Diem Allowance includes an amount for "Incidentals".  For what expenses should this be used?

Types of expenses covered by Per Diem Incidentals may include but are not limited to hotel tips (bell-hop, maid, and valet parking), in-room safes and laundering fees.

What account codes do I use to code the different types of meals?

Meals or Per Diem during Travel - including Business Meals - are coded to 712880 (Travel, Meal Reimbursements).  Local Business Meals from a Restaurant or Caterer must be coded to 712640 (Food and Dietary Services).  Groceries purchased for a meal event must be coded to 713620 (Food and Dietary Supplies) and any non-food supplies specific to that meal must be coded to 713630 (Food Service Supplies)   Note:  Meals during day-trips are disallowed unless they are charged to an agency fund (account beginning with 8).  These meals are reportable on the employee's W-2 and must be coded to 712870 (Travel, Meal Reimbursements - Reportable to the IRS). 

On what amount is the 20% maximum meal tip calculated?

The tip is calculated on the meal receipt total (meal + taxes).

If we attend a one-day conference, are we able to get reimbursed for lunch?

College Policy does not allow meal reimbursement for day-trips (travel & return home same day) unless an employee worked overtime hours (2 or more).  If Overtime meals are claimed, The TERV must include (1) why the employee was required to work past their normal work day and (2) the traveler's normal hours and the overtime hours worked.  Overtime meals are limited to actual expenses.  Original itemized receipts are required and meals must be within the College Policy per diem allowance.  Without receipts, reimbursement will be made at the rate of $5 for meals within an employee’s official station (within 25-mile radius of home base) and $10.00 outside the official station.  The meal is not reimbursable if taken at the end of the overtime period.  Overtime Meals are reportable and taxable on the employee's W-2.  Note:  Overtime Meals must be coded to 712870 (Travel, Meal Reimbursements - Reportable to the IRS).

What do I do if the Conference provides meals but my medical restrictions prevent me from consuming these meals?

If a meal is offered as part of a conference and the traveler has medical restrictions, the traveler should make every effort to have the conference facilitate his/her needs by the deadline specified by the conference. If the conference does not honor the request, the traveler is not required to deduct the applicable meal allowance from the per diem.  The traveler must include a statement with the TERV that he or she has a medical condition which did not allow the traveler to eat the standard meal offered AND that the traveler requested an alternative meal and one was not provided.  Documentation from a medical professional is not necessary.

When we are reimbursing someone for per diem but they stayed with a friend or family instead of in a hotel, what is required?

Lodging information is required when paying per diem.  If the individual stays with family or friends, they must provide the complete address of where they stayed, including the zip code.


What is required for a Business Meal and what form do I use for reimbursement?

Business Meals during Travel must be included on the TERV with other expenses for the travel period.  For Local business meals, the Non-Travel Business Meal Form located on the Travel website must be used.  Documentation for all Business Meals must include (1) an original, itemized meal receipt, (2) the specific business purpose, and (3) the number of attendees (attendee names and affiliations are required for 10 or less), (4) average cost per person (total receipt amount divided by # of attendees) and (5) justification and approval for meals up to 50% over the meal allowance.

In addition to the business purpose for a business meal on a Business Meal form, do you require an agenda?

An agenda is not required for Business Meals.  However, if there is a list of attendees already prepared, the Travel Office would appreciate a copy attached to the Business Meal Form.

Can the department reimburse a guest's spouse on a business meal?

No.  Only the expenses for the guest may be reimbursed under State funds.

Does the Non Travel Business Meal form need to be completed for a direct payment to a caterer?

No.  The Vendor Payment Request (VPR) form should be used for direct payments to vendors.  However, attached to the VPR should be documentation that satisfies the 5 elements of a business meal:  (1) Meal Date, (2) Specific Business Purpose, (3) Names & affiliations of attendees if 10 or less (attendee count only if over 10), (4) Average cost per participant and (5) justification and approval if the meal exceeds the allowance.

There is a federal guideline which states that business meals must occur within the normal hours of the business day.  Does the College adhere to that guideline?

No.  The College recognizes that this guideline is not appropriate for the College environment.

Can an employee get reimbursed for their meal in a business meal that falls under sponsored programs where the grant only allows business meal reimbursements for non-CWM attendees?

Yes.  If both meals are on the same receipt, if the meal is within College Policy guidelines and the department approves the reimbursement for the employee's meal charges.  If OSP has approved reimbursement for only the non-CWM attendees, the employee’s meal cannot be coded to the grant index and must be coded to a non-grant department index.

If the conference provides breakfast but it only consists of danish and coffee, must the meal be deducted from per diem?

No.  The new 2015 College Policy states that continental breakfasts do not have to be deducted from per diem.

When someone attends a conference, and we need to attach an agenda to the TERV to show conference meals provided, but the agenda is really large, what should we do?

It is only the "Daily Schedule" part of the agenda which shows breaks and meals provided during the conference that is required.  Usually, this is just a few pages within the larger agenda and should be printed and attached to the TERV.  However, if the agenda is extremely long (more than 8-10 pages), you can note on the TERV "agenda too large to print, conference agenda link provided upon request".  If we see this, we will email you for the link to determine if meals were provided.

Some conference agendas state "lunch break" or just "lunch".  What if the meal is not provided?

The College expects the traveler to take advantage of free meals offered at a conference and deduct the meal amount from per diem.  Simply not attending a meal is insufficient reason for not accepting meals provided.  Generally, when a conference does not provide a meal, the agenda will state "lunch break", "lunch on own", "lunch available for purchase" or some notation in the conference literature that indicates there was a charge for the meal.  If the agenda simply states "lunch" or "dinner", the Travel Office must assume that lunch or dinner was provided.  If this is not the case, it is the responsibility of the traveler to provide additional documentation showing there was a charge for the meals.

What do we do if there were charges for meals in addition to the registration fees?

The conference will usually provide documentation when there are charges required for meals in addition to the registration fees as the payment for meals is usually required when registration is paid.  When this happens, save a copy of the documentation showing the meal charges and add the documentation to the TERV when it is submitted.  When meals are paid with registration, the total charges (registration fees plus meals) should be coded as Registration and the meals deducted from the traveler's per diem.