10-7: Reimbursement for meals and incidental expenses

Effective: January 15, 2024
Approved by: Van Christensen
ReferencesUtah Code 63A-3-107Administrative Code R25-7.


This policy outlines the conditions for reimbursement for meals and incidental expenses for overnight and day trips. The policy states that travelers must not use a p-card to purchase meals while traveling.


Business meal – Meals that are provided by a restaurant and with clients, vendors, employees, or colleagues you do business with.

GSA rate – The generic term for the federal travel reimbursement rates, sometimes called per diem rates. Reimbursement rates for travel are determined by location and are established by the U.S. General Services Administration, Department of Defense, and the Department of State. Rates can be found on the U.S. General Services Administration website

P-card – A state-issued purchasing card used for approved business purchases.

Reimbursement – Money paid to compensate travelers for money spent while traveling on official business.

Reimbursement request – The general term for requesting payment for travel expenses. In Concur, travelers add their expenses to a report. Travelers who cannot use Concur use form FI 51.

Traveler – Any person traveling on official state business for an agency or political subdivision. This definition includes employees, non-employees, board members, elected officials, vendors, volunteers, grant recipients, and award beneficiaries.


A – Reimbursement for overnight trips

1 – Travelers are reimbursed GSA rates for meals and incidental expenses.

1-a – Meals include breakfast, lunch, dinner, tips, and taxes.

1-b – Incidental expenses include expenses for laundry services, tips for ground transportation paid in cash, and fees and tips given to porters, baggage carriers, and hotel staff.

2 – On the first and last day of travel, travelers are reimbursed 75% of GSA rates.

3 – Travelers are not reimbursed for complimentary meals offered at hotels, conferences, conventions, training, or meetings. Travelers are also not reimbursed for business meals paid for by someone else. Travelers must deduct these meals from their reimbursement request.

3-a – Continental breakfasts with hot food items are considered complimentary meals and must be deducted from the traveler’s reimbursement request.

3-b – Travelers with dietary restrictions, see travel policy 10-3 for requesting an accommodation.

4 – Travelers may use a p-card to purchase meals only when paying for a business meal or a meal for a non-employee.

4-a – Meals paid for with a p-card must have a valid business purpose.

4-b – P-card holders must document the business purpose and the attendees. This documentation must be attached to the p-card holder’s reimbursement request.

B – Reimbursement for day trips

1 – Travelers are reimbursed 75% of the GSA rate for meals and incidental expenses for day trips that are longer than 12 hours. The reimbursement is reported as taxable income to the GovOps Division of Finance payroll team.