Travel Information

What amounts are allowable for meals?

See the Summary of Allowable Travel Expenses for allowable amounts and the time frames eligible for reimbursement.

If I go under the allowable amount for lunch, can I spend more than the allowable amount for dinner?

If a traveler is in travel status long enough to qualify for more than one meal the total of all meals is considered rather than the individual amounts. For example, if you were in travel status the entire day for an out-of-state trip and your actual expenses were $7 for breakfast, $10 for lunch, and $23 for dinner you still would be within the allowable daily maximums.

If I go under the allowable amount for one day, can I spend more than the allowable amount for another day on the same trip?
No, each day is treated separately regarding the maximum allowable meal amounts.

Are receipts required for meal expenses?

Receipts for an individual's meals are only required when the amount of the meal exceeds $75.00 or if a T&H Card is used for payment. As the individual meal limits for domestic travel are well below $75.00, receipts usually would not be required for reimbursement. However, when claiming actual expenses for an individual's meals for foreign travel, receipts would be required for meals of $75.00 or more. Use of the per diem method for an individual's meals would not require receipts. However, group meals for either domestic or international travel require itemized receipts, regardless of the amount.

Am I allowed to claim the full "per diem" for meals, whether I spent that amount or not?

There is no "per diem" amount for domestic travel. For domestic travel only the actual amounts spent (subject to daily maximums) may be claimed for reimbursement. If you did not spend the maximum amount, you should not claim the maximum amount.

However, for foreign travel ISU allows the foreign per diem rates established by the U.S. State Department. If the traveler is using a T&H Card, then they can charge up to the per diem amount on the card for meals and incidentals. Since the T&H Card records actual expenses, travelers using this method to pay for meals do not automatically receive the per diem.

If I was in a very expensive location, how can I get reimbursed for the amount I spent in excess of the daily maximum?

The meal limits were set by the Board of Regents, depending on whether the travel is in-state or out-of-state. Normally, your reimbursement should be capped to these specific limits.

If there are extenuating circumstances you add a note explaining the reasons why you are requesting an exception. However, routinely overriding the limits set by the Board of Regents is not allowed.

Allowable exceptions would include attending a banquet where the fixed price exceeded the allowable meal limit or paying for a group interview meal. Unallowable exceptions would include choosing unreasonably priced restaurants when other options are available. When a group of ISU employees goes out together for a meal, having one person pick up the tab is not a justification for exceeding the per-person limit.

On my Payroll Info on AccessPlus there was an amount recorded for "Taxable Meals." What does this mean?

Meals on trips not requiring overnight travel are required to be reported to the IRS as taxable income unless the primary purpose of the meal was to discuss business with a client (not another ISU employee). Workday Expenses automatically records non-overnight meals as taxable.

This page was last updated on June 29, 2019.