Meals and Incidentals

Travel-Related Meals
The University will reimburse employees for travel-related meals based on the Per Diem Rate Tables provided in Publication 1542 “Per Diem Rates” of the Internal Revenue Service. The “High-Low” method will be used. This method specifies that the rate for meals and incidentals effective October 1, 2010 is $52 per day except for specified cities and dates which permit a $65 reimbursement. The $65 per diem reimbursement rate is also used for travel outside the United States. The per diem rates include incidental expenditures such as snacks, beverages, and tips to wait staff, maids, and porters. A printable pdf version of Publication 1542 – Table 2 can be downloaded from the IRS website.

For partial travel days, the reimbursement rate is itemized as follows:

Low Cost High Cost
Breakfast $ 9.00 $13.00
Lunch $ 15.00 $19.00
Dinner $ 28.00 $33.00

 

Employees must not request a full day per diem if meals are provided at a conference or event (see Conference/Event-Related Meals below). Refer to the chart above to determine the appropriate reimbursement rate.

Employees using Valparaiso University Procurement Cards for travel may not use the card for meals, unless the meal is included in a registration fee (see Conference/Event-Related Meals below). Meals are reimbursed based on per diem rates only. Charges for hotel room service on Procurement Cards are also prohibited. See the Procurement Card Policy – consequences may apply.

Reimbursements are subject to budget restrictions placed on the trip by the budget officers or supervisors.

Conference/Event-Related Meals
Frequently, meals are included in conference or event registration fees. Meals included in a registration fee are not subject to the terms of the per diem reimbursement policy, but additional meals not provided during the conference or event will be subject to the per diem policy. For example, if a registration fee includes lunch and dinner, the breakfast per diem may be included on the travel reimbursement request. Per diem reimbursement requests must not be submitted if meals are included in the registration fee.

The entire registration fee may be paid using a University procurement card even though the fee includes meals. See the Procurement Card Policy for additional information.

One-Day Travel
Due to IRS reporting requirements, meals for one-day trips will not be reimbursed. However, if the one-day trip exceeds a 10-hour workday, the “Dinner” portion of the per diem rate will be reimbursed. Breakfast and lunch will not be reimbursed under any circumstances. In the event the workday exceeds 10 hours, the time of departure and time of return must be noted on the Travel Expense Report.

Business Guest
Reimbursements for a meal provided to a business guest during the travel period may be included on the Travel Expense Report if the purpose of the meal is to discuss University business. The name of the guest and business purpose must be provided on the Travel Expense Report. The reimbursement is based on actual expenditures, so a detailed receipt must be provided. The purchase of alcoholic beverages/spirits is permitted when hosting a business guest when the expenditure is approved by the appropriate supervisor. However, use of current budget accounts (“10” accounts) for the purchase of alcoholic beverages/spirits is prohibited. If alcoholic beverages are served, a restricted account must be used to cover the cost of the beverages.

For non travel-related meal reimbursements, see “Non Travel-Related Meal Reimbursement” below.

Personal Guest
If the employee travels with a personal guest, the cost of the guest’s meals will be the responsibility of the employee or the personal guest.

Non Travel-Related Meal Reimbursements
Reimbursements for non-travel meals and other expenditures will be subject to the conditions set forth in the Valparaiso University Hospitality Policy. The Hospitality Policy establishes guidelines for meals provided at business meetings and events as well as those provided to guests of the University such as guest speakers. The reimbursements are based on actual expenditures as detailed on original receipts. See the Hospitality Policy for additional information. Hospitality meal reimbursements must be submitted on a “Hospitality Expenditures Reimbursement Request” form, not a travel expense reimbursement form.