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Municipal Technical Advisory Service (MTAS)

Meals and Incidentals

Reference Number: MTAS-1167
Reviewed Date: 12/15/2022

Receipts are not required for meals and incidentals. The authorized traveler may be reimbursed the daily amount based on the rate schedule and the authorized length of stay. The per diem meal amounts are expected to cover meals, tips, porters and incidental expenses. The authorized traveler will not be reimbursed more than this.

Whether meals may be claimed depends on when the traveler leaves and returns to the official station. The traveler's official station is home or work, whichever produces the least cost to the city. Under the state travel regulations, reimbursement for meals is not permitted for one-day travel status with no overnight stay.

Regardless of which reimbursement rate the city uses, the amounts include tip, gratuity, etc. The hour and date of departure and return must be shown on the expense reimbursement form.

The excess cost of an official banquet may be allowed provided proper documentation or explanation is submitted with the expense reimbursement form. If a meal is included as part of a conference or seminar registration, or is included with the air fare, then the allowance for that meal should be subtracted from the total allowance for the day. For example, if a dinner is included as part of the conference fee, the maximum meal allowance for the day should be reduced by the allowed dinner amount.

The municipality has selected to reimburse travelers at the ____________________________ [enter either federal or state] travel regulation rates. The city's rates will automatically change when the selected agency rates are adjusted.

Miscellaneous Expenses
A. Registration fees for approved conferences, conventions, seminars, meetings and other educational programs will be allowed and will generally include the cost of official banquets, meals, lodging and registration fees. Registration fees should be specified on the original travel request form and can include a request for pre-registration fee payment.

B. A $5 allowance will be reimbursable for hotel/motel check-in and baggage handling expenses.

C. Laundry, valet service, tips and gratuities are considered personal expenses and are not reimbursable.

D. For travel outside the United States, all expenses claimed must be converted to U.S. dollars. The conversion rate and computation should be shown on each receipt.