Meals & Lodging Expenses

University regulations governing reimbursement of food and lodging expenses while traveling for business are based on various requirements, including the Internal Revenue Service, the State of California and federal funding agencies.

In addition to the general guidelines provided below, see the article, Per Diem Expenses, for specific information on per diem funding for overseas travel and Guidelines for Infrequent Travelers for a reference to basic travel considerations.

Meals and incidentals for travelers on University business are reimbursed based on the following terms:

  • The amount the traveler actually paid while on University business, subject to a limit for each full day on travel status. Please note this is not a per diem.
  • Receipts are not required for meal and incidental expenses claimed under the travel policy. The meal and incidental expense cap is not to be treated as a per diem, and there is no exception to the cap.
  • Meals and incidental expenses will not be reimbursed unless the entire length of the trip is at least 24 hours or the travel includes an overnight stay verified by a lodging receipt. Some exceptions to this requirement may apply.
  • Expenses for meals incurred by employees who entertain while traveling on University business are reimbursable in accordance with the University's policy on Entertainment, Business and Finance Bulletin BUS-79.

Lodging expenses are reimbursed on the following terms:

  • Reimbursement is based on the amount actually incurred, and is subject to a maximum dollar limit.
  • Original, itemized receipts for all lodging expenses as well as any entertainment expenditures included in the lodging claim are required for reimbursement. As per policy G-28, Lodging is not reimbursable if the lodging site is within a 40-mile radius of the traveler's residence or office.
  • When non-commercial facilities such as cabins, house trailers, vans, field camping equipment or other such facilities are used, the traveler shall be reimbursed a daily amount based on an estimate of actual expenses up to 100% of the applicable federal per diem rate for the appropriate geographic area.

Exemption from Occupancy Tax

As a general rule, University employees traveling on official University business are exempt from payment of occupancy taxes imposed by certain California cities or counties on "transient" (or individual travelers') rental rooms. To avoid misunderstandings, travelers should identify themselves as University employees and claim exemption from the tax when checking into the hotel. However, occupancy tax ordinances in a few California cities do not authorize exemptions for University employees. The traveler may complete an exemption certificate if one is required.