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Lodging and Meals


In order to be reimbursed for both meals and lodging, a traveler must be in “official travel status,” i.e., at a distance greater than 35 miles from both the traveler’s official station and place of residence. Travelers may be reimbursed for lodging and meals on weekends and holidays while in travel status.

Overnight Travel
Per diem, meal and lodging rates for domestic and foreign travel may be found at: http://www.gsa.gov. A full per diem is considered to be dinner the first day, lodging, and breakfast the following day. Incidental expenses such as tips to porters, hotel maids, etc. are included in the per diem.


Reimbursement of actual lodging costs is authorized based on the geographical area of assignment. Refer to http://www.gsa.gov for lodging rates. Employees must attach the original lodging receipt to the Travel Payment Request Form in order to claim reimbursement.

When lodging is paid by another organization, a copy of the meeting or conference agenda must be attached to the Travel Payment Request Form.

If expenses for lodging are not being claimed, this should be explained on the travel form and the traveler may claim the meal allowance for the area.

For travel in NYS, employees should use the Tax Exempt Certificate for lodging. These forms can be obtained by contacting our office at x2731. For out of state travel, taxes are not included in the maximum lodging amount, and may be reimbursed.

Only breakfast and dinner are reimbursable meals; lunch is not a reimbursable expense. Meal rates are established by the federal government. Eligibility for an allowance or reimbursement for breakfast and/or dinner is determined by the time of departure from the traveler's official work station or home, whichever is beneficial to the project, and the time of return to the traveler's official station or home.

Employees will be allowed reimbursement for breakfast if on the day of departure the traveler begins travel before 7:00 a.m., or on the day of return the traveler's trip ends after 8:00 a.m.

Employees are allowed reimbursement for dinner if on the day of departure the travel begins before 6:00 p.m., or on the day of return the traveler's trip ends after 7:00 p.m.

Meals funded as part of a conference or meeting may not be separately claimed for reimbursement. Please submit meeting agendas with your Travel Payment Request.

Day Trips
When the traveler is in official travel status for less than a full day and incurs no lodging expenses, reimbursement for breakfast and dinner will be made in accordance with the eligibility for meal requirements as described under Meals above. For non-overnight travel, an employee may claim the un-receipted meal allowance, (the current rate is $5.00 for breakfast and $12.00 for dinner) or actual expenses up to the federal maximum meal allowances with a receipt.

Under most circumstances, the Internal Revenue Service considers reimbursements paid to a person for meal expenses incurred during one-day, non-overnight travel as taxable income. Payments to RF employees for non-overnight meal expenses must be included in the employee's paycheck as gross income and reported on the employee's Wage and Tax Statement, IRS Form W-2. In addition, taxes must be withheld and fringe benefits must be charged to the account from which the employee is paid.

When claiming a meal allowance payment or reimbursement for non-overnight travel, use the Taxable Meal Payment Request and Authorization Form .

Meals, Lodging and Incidental Expenses
Travel costs must comply with A-21 requirements, specific sponsor regulations, and must be in accordance with all export control regulations and RF travel policies.