Per Diem is the amount provided to a traveler to cover expenses such as food, beverages, meals, meal gratuities, fees and tips given to porters, baggage carriers, bellhops, hotel maids, stewards or stewardess on ships and hotel individuals in foreign countries. Per Diem is a fixed amount for official travel status and is not a reimbursement for actual costs incurred.
Official Travel Status: the traveler is physically away from their primary work station by a distance of 50 miles or more, or the travel includes an overnight stay.
Tips and Gratuity: are included in the per diem allowance amount and cannot be claimed separately, even if the gratuity is unrelated to a meal expense. This includes all amounts related to baggage handling, hotel services, or for what services gratuities are usual and customary.
Federal per diem rates are determined each fiscal year and become effective October 1.
Per diem is based on the final trip destination not the state of origin. To calculate per diem allowance by the state, or for foreign per diem, visit U.S. General Services Administration Per Diem Rates.
In-State Per Diem, 49.00 per day
- Breakfast $7.00
- Lunch $16.00
- Dinner $26.00
Per Diem Eligibility Time Parameters:
- 7 a.m. and after no breakfast
- 11 a.m. and after no lunch
- 5 p.m. and after no per diem
- 8 a.m. and before no per diem
- 2 p.m. and before no lunch
- 7 p.m. and before no dinner
Same Day Meals
Depending on the departure and/or return time reimbursements may be considered taxable income. In order for reimbursement to be excluded from taxable income, when there is not an overnight stay, the travel reimbursement must be ordinary and directly related to the conduct of university business, IRC 274(a)(1)(A).
In those few situations whereby the department has agreed to reimburse outside of the IRC 162(a) and IRC 274(a)(1)(A), reimbursement will be reported as taxable income to the employee.
Communication while in Travel Status:
Telephone — the cost of personal telephone calls to others within the U.S. while on official travel status is allowed. Travelers are allowed to incur the cost of one phone call for each full or partial day of official travel not to exceed 10 minutes per call.
Internet Access — The cost to gain access to the internet at the temporary work location or lodging vendor for official U of I business is allowed. The cost to access the internet aboard airplanes, or other locations may be allowable, provided that a justification is attached to the travel claim that such access is essential in the performance of official U of I business it is not intended for personal convenience or entertainment.
Laundry and Dry Cleaning Services — The cost for laundry and dry cleaning services are allowable if the duration of the official travel exceeds five (5) calendar days.
Entertainment — The cost of entertainment, such as in-room movies, video games, pay-per-view television programs or similar items, are not allowable.
Ground Transportation — Tips such as taxis and shuttles are allowed for reimbursement as long as they are reasonable and the use of the ground transportation was the most economical and effective means of transportation both from the standpoint of time and cost of the transportation fares.