For authorized out-of-state employee travel, with appropriate documentation, reimbursement for the actual cost of the traveler's hotel room and meals is authorized by State law (rather than a per diem). It is expected that reasonably priced accommodations and reasonably priced meals will be used.
Meal costs (including applicable tips) must be documented on the certified travel reimbursement request. The traveler must include the actual cost incurred for his/ her breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Itemized meal receipts are not required and should not be imaged into Optidoc unless required by the college/school/department dean's office or VP. Maximum reimbursement limits (including tax and tip) are:
$25 for breakfast
$50 for lunch
$75 for dinner
Meal expenses that include persons outside UAB would be considered entertainment and should not be claimed as part of the travel expense. The entire meal (including the traveler) must be processed as Entertainment under a separate payment request on a non-grant account (unless allowed by the sponsor).
Note: Additional documentation may be required to further clarify unusual expenses.
If one employee pays for meals for a group of other UAB employees in travel status because the restaurant does not wish to issue separate checks, an itemized receipt is required and the paying employee's travel reimbursement request must include a notation as to who was covered by that bill and the payment request numbers of those individuals. The other employees' reimbursement requests should include a notation that this cost was covered by the paying employee's reimbursement request with a notation of the related payment requests. Also, to allow for the necessary review, the paying employee's department must submit all of the affected travel reimbursement requests at the same time. In cases where the restaurant will not split a check when multiple UAB employees are dining together, the traveler can either be reimbursed up to $75 without a receipt OR can submit the itemized receipt to document the amount being requested (up to $75 per person).
According to federal income tax regulations, meals reimbursed if an overnight stay was not required must be included in the traveler's taxable income and will appear on IRS Form W-2 Wage and tax statement. Taxable meals must be charged to Oracle object code 8301030.
Where an employee's meal is included in the conference/seminar registration fee, no additional expenses for that meal are allowable (including continental breakfast and any transportation to/from the meal). Any additional cost incurred for the traveler's meal at an official banquet is allowable when attendance is required. The traveler must include as documentation for meal expenses a copy of the conference itinerary, outlining the conference meeting dates, identifying the meals provided, identifying any extra banquet meals for which the traveler paid directly, etc.
Per the State Examiners, alcoholic beverage or related costs can never be paid for or reimbursed by UAB. Some examples of alcohol-related costs include: corkage fees, taxes on the alcohol, tips directly attributable to the alcohol (such as tips to a bartender for alcoholic beverage service, tips to a wine steward or sommelier, the applicable portion of a percentage meal tip or service charge, etc.). The traveler is responsible for ensuring that all alcoholic beverages or alcohol-related costs have been excluded from payment requests prior to submission, whether or not receipts are submitted with the payment request. Where a receipt is provided as supporting documentation for the payment request, the traveler should clearly note such exclusions on the receipt to make it clear what is included in the reimbursement request.