Frequently Asked Questions
Q: The Federal per diem rates include meal rates for various locations in Georgia. Are employees authorized to follow the federal guidelines when traveling to these locations in Georgia?
A: Federal per diem rates should only be used when employees travel outside the state of Georgia. Employees who travel within Georgia are limited to the $28 per day meal limit regardless of the travel destination and regardless of whether the Federal per diem rates specify a higher limit. However, certain counties within Georgia have been designated as “high cost areas. Employees who are both working and spending the night in these high cost areas are limited to $36 per day for meals. High cost areas are limited to the following counties: Chatham, Cobb, DeKalb, Fulton, Glynn, and Gwinnett.
Q: What taxes are employees exempt from paying when they are traveling on official business and are required to stay overnight in a hotel or motel?
A: Employees are exempt from paying the county or municipal excise tax (also known as Occupancy Tax) on lodging. However, employees are still required to pay the State sales tax associated with the lodging expense. Employees are only exempt from paying such taxes when they are traveling within the State of Georgia. All applicable taxes must be paid when traveling out-of-state.
Q: What should an employee do if a hotel refuses to accept the tax-exempt form?
A: Employees should be sure to present the tax-exempt form to the hotel at check-in. If the hotel refuses to accept the tax-exempt form at check-in, the employee should attempt to resolve the issue with hotel management before checking out at the end of their stay. If the matter is not resolved by the time the employee checks out, the employee should pay the tax. The employee should explain the payment of the tax as an unusual expense on their travel expense statement. The Accounts Payable office will reimburse the employee for the hotel/motel tax if the employee provides us with the following information: employee name; date(s) of lodging; name, address, and telephone number of hotel.
Q: What are the procedures for students traveling with an employee?
A: The students must be on separate Travel Requests, even if they are not going to incur any expenses. Additionally, please keep all student expenses separate from employee expenses.
Q: Is tipping a maid service, concierge or valet service (when self parking is available) an allowable expense?
A: No. Other unallowable expenses include laundry, entertainment expenses, theater and purchase of alcoholic beverages.
Q: Are meal receipts required for reimbursement?
A: No, but it is important to note that any expenses that exceed the per diem allowance must be explained (i.e. a banquet that is an integral part of the conference or meeting) and might not be reimbursed. Additionally, high-level administrative approval will also be required, thus, delaying the processing of the reimbursement (and, still might not be reimbursed).
Q: What travel expenses be pre-paid?
A: Airfare, registration fees, and lodging.
Q: What are commute miles?
A: Commute miles are the distance traveled from the employee’s residence to his/her home campus. Normal commuting miles must be deducted when calculating business miles if the employee departs from his/her residence or returns to his/her residence on a normal working day. If travel occurs on a weekend or holiday, mileage is calculated from the point of departure with no reduction for normal commuting miles.