Office of the Vice President for
Administration and Finance
SECTION: TRAVEL INDEX: F-4
SUBJECT: MEAL EXPENSE REIMBURSEMENT
Meal expenses for one day trips (non-overnight travel) are not considered travel expenses and are not reimbursable. However, meals included in registration fees for one day events paid or reimbursed by the University are allowed.
Meal expenses for overnight travel may be paid under the provisions of UHV Policy F-1, Reimbursement for Travel and Other Expenses, by reimbursement only. (References)
An employee's business meal expense for a business meeting with an employee from another UH System Component and/or a non-employee may be paid or reimbursed if the meeting was of clear benefit to the University. (References)
A business meal is a form of entertainment in which a University employee discusses University business with an employee from another UH System Component and/or non-employee over breakfast, lunch or dinner. The employee has to have incurred an expense for the meal to be reimbursed. Payment/reimbursement to the employee is limited to business meals for those whose attendance provides benefit and may not be paid with state appropriated or designated tuition funds. Other funds, such as discretionary funds or donated funds restricted for such purpose (i.e. Unit of Excellence funds, if available) may be used for reimbursement. However, payment of business meals with designated funds is allowed for business meals with prospective employees. If a business meal is attended by only UHV employees, reimbursement may only be made from donated funds restricted for such purpose, such as Unit of Excellence funds, if available.
Meals and/or refreshments provided for group meetings attended only by UHV personnel may be paid with discretionary funds only if the meeting, workshop or conference is essential to the operation of the University and the provision of the meal and/or refreshments will expedite the proceedings of the meeting, workshop or conference. Specific prior administrative approval, as evidenced by approval of the expenditure, must also be obtained in order for discretionary funds to be used for this purpose. Payments for meals and/or refreshments provided for group meetings not meeting these criteria may only be made from donated funds restricted for such purpose, such as Unit of Excellence funds, if available.
Reimbursement vouchers should include the Business Expense Reimbursement Report, an itemized detailed receipt verifying payment and documentation reflecting the following:
- Who attended the meeting?
- When was the meeting held? (Time and Date)
- Where was the meeting?
- What was the purpose of the meeting?
- How does the meeting benefit the university?
The voucher must be approved by the official in higher authority than the highest-ranking person of the sponsoring group who was in attendance at the business meal. Documentation must be complete for reimbursement to be approved for payment.
If a business meal is incurred during travel, an employee should not request full per diem for the travel meal for that day.
In accordance with Internal Revenue Service requirements for an accountable plan, the employee must submit a request for reimbursement to their department office no later than 60 days after the expense incurred. Reimbursement requests submitted after the deadline will be treated as taxable income to the employee. The vouchers must then be approved by UH Tax Department and include an Exhibit B, Taxable Payments or Reimbursements to Employees Form as additional documentation. (References)
- UHV Policy B-9, Approval of Travel, Entertainment and Reimbursable Expenses
- UHV Policy F-1, Reimbursement for Travel and Other Expenses
- Business Expense Reimbursement Report Form
- Internal Revenue Service Publication 463, Travel, Entertainment, Gift, and Car Expenses
- Exhibit B, Taxable Payments or Reimbursements to Employees
- UHV General Office Procedures Guide (GOP) Section 3.7, Taxable Fringe Benefits
- UHS AM 03.A.03, Business Travel
Phil D. Castille, Ph.D.
Next review date: August 2016
Origination: Finance Department