Travel Expense Reimbursement Policy
Day Trip Reimbursement
Travelers may be reimbursed for breakfast and/or dinner for day trips based on departure and return times. Travelers are entitled to reimbursement for breakfast if they leave at least one hour before their normal work start time, and/or for dinner if they return at least two hours later than their normal work ending time.
Meal receipts are required by the traveler. Travelers with meal receipts will be reimbursed up to the maximum meal allowance established for the current year. Breakfast and dinner are reimbursable meals; lunch is not. No reimbursement will be received by travelers without meal receipts. Current NYS per diem rates are available online.
The IRS considers all meal reimbursements not associated with overnight travel taxable. These amounts will be reported annually in the employee's W-2.
Overnight Travel Reimbursement
Employees may be reimbursed for meals, lodging and incidental expenses when traveling overnight for state-related business. Breakfast and dinner are reimbursable meals; lunch is not.
Employees may be reimbursed for actual lodging and meal costs based on federal reimbursement rates for the county of lodging. Since rates are based on location of lodging, the county and city must be indicated on the travel voucher.
Each day the traveler is in overnight travel status, the traveler is eligible for reimbursement for lodging up to a maximum lodging per diem and meals up to the maximum meal per diem. Meals include dinner the first night and breakfast the following day. Receipts are required for all lodging and meal expenses.
Travelers are also eligible for an additional breakfast if they have to leave at least one hour before their normal work start time the first day, and/or for dinner if they return at least two hours later than their normal work ending time on the last day of travel. In these cases, breakfast and/or dinner will be reimbursed up to the maximum amount of the meal per diem specified for the particular area of lodging. The meal per diem allowance is apportioned for breakfast and dinner. Receipts must be provided.
Maximum lodging rates exclude taxes. For travel within New York State, a Tax Exemption Certificate (ST-129) (pdf) should be used. For travel outside of New York State, state and local taxes are not included in the maximum lodging amount and will be reimbursed in addition to the per diem amount.
Finally, on occasion, travelers may be unable to find a hotel at a rate that does not exceed the maximum federal lodging per diem rate for the location of travel. If that occurs, the traveler must obtain prior written approval to exceed the federal rate from the Controller.
Only actual, reasonable and necessary business-related expenses will be reimbursed and must be properly indicated and justified on the voucher. Receipts are required.
Business related expenses such as:
- Telephone calls
- Internet connection fees
- Baggage transfer and storage expenses
- Supplies and materials
- Expenses for speeding fines, parking tickets, laundry, valet services, entertainment (e.g., theatre tickets, in-room movies), and other personal charges.
- Social activities such as sightseeing and golf outings are considered personal expenses and will not be reimbursed.