LODGING, MEALS and INCIDENTAL EXPENSES
Per Diem Allowance (PD): A daily payment for subsistence expenses of the actual cost of lodging, and a set amount for meals and incidental expenses.
Allowable CONUS Per Diem Amounts: Standard rate: $123 (actual cost of lodging not to exceed [NTE] $77 + Meals and Incidental Expenses [M&IE] $46). Lodging and M&IE rates vary depending on locality. If the rate for a particular location is not noted on the locality per diem listing, the standard rate applies. The GovTrip system will not accept a locality rate that is incorrect. All travel vouchers must be approved by the traveler’s supervisor/fundholder. When the supervisor is absent, the official designated as ‘Acting’ may approve the travel voucher, otherwise, this authority cannot be delegated.
Actual Subsistence Expense (ASE): The maximum amount of reimbursement for actual subsistence expenses that may be authorized or approved for each calendar day or fraction thereof shall not exceed 150% of the applicable maximum per diem rate as shown in Appendix A, Chapter 301, FTR, or the most current per diem rates can be found on the internet at http://www.gsa.gov/portal/category/21287. Steve Helmrich is the approving official of ASE. A letter of request must be submitted through the Transportation Assistant/Area Director requesting any actual lodging expense prior to travel. Receipts are required for all lodging and all other expenses over $35.
M&IE (Meals and Incidental Expenses) Allowances: Per diem allowable for the day travel begins shall be three-fourths of the applicable M&IE rate prescribed for the lodging location. Per diem allowable for the day travel ends shall be three-fourths of the M&IE rate applicable to the preceding calendar day.
NOTE: Time of departure and return is no longer required to be listed on the voucher.
Per Diem for travel more that 12 hours but not exceeding 24 hours is calculated as follows: lodging not required; three-fourths of the applicable M&IE allowance for the temporary duty assignment location. If more than one temporary duty point is involved, the per diem allowance shall be calculated using the highest of the M&IE rates prescribed for the location where official business is performed.
Deductions in M&IE Allowances: When meals are furnished by the Government without cost, deductions shall be made to M&IE portion of per diem rate per table rates in FTR. Continental breakfast offered by hotels need not be deducted. Remaining $7 is allocated for incidental expenses, including tips for waiters, bellhops, baggage handling, and service personnel in lodging accommodations, and mailing cost associated with payment of Government sponsored charge card billings. Laundry, dry cleaning and pressing may be claimed if:
(1) Expense was incurred at the temporary duty location; AND
(2) Traveler must incur a minimum of four consecutive nights lodging on official travel.
Lodging Occupancy Tax Exemptions: Individual travelers who incur lodging occupancy taxes are exempt from paying these taxes only when the State or local taxing authority provides a specific exemption to Federal Employees on official travel. Properly completed exemption certificates and satisfactory credentials must be presented to the hotel/motel clerk at time of registration. Travelers are cautioned not to use ‘make shift’ or standard forms or to claim exemptions to which they are not entitled. All taxes on lodging obtained in NON-FOREIGN areas will be claimed as a miscellaneous expense on the travel voucher.
Telephone Calls: Official telephone calls are permitted and one personal telephone call home per day (when traveling more than one night). Reimbursement for actual call expenses for each night’s lodging is limited to an average of $5 per day aggregate for domestic travel and $15 per day aggregate for foreign travel. Phone access fees charged by the hotel are not included in the $7 per day aggregate. See Bulletin 02-315.
Documentation on the voucher should indicate whether phone calls are business or personal. When a coin box telephone is used, and it is stated on the travel voucher, the employee is required to self-certify that the use of the Government telephone system was not practical and that commercial calls were made in accordance with the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR).
Local Travel reimbursement is paid via completion of a form SF1164. Registration fees for attendance at local meetings must be paid with the Government PCMS Purchase Card or Convenience Check in the event the vendor does not accept credit cards.
Travel to Temporary Duty Station (TDY): When a Government-owned vehicle (GOV) is available, but the employee chooses to use a privately owned automobile (personal preference), the rate of reimbursement shall be 19 cents per mile. When GOV is not available, employees who travel by privately owned vehicle (POV) between their homes and TDY point will be allowed mileage at the rate of 51 cents per mile for the miles driven (not to exceed cost of common carrier). The mileage rate for those employees committed or assigned a GOV that choose to use their privately owned automobile is 19 cents. Chapter 14 - Property provides additional information regarding GOV usage.
NOTE: Employees are expected to use the mode of transportation most advantageous to the government, considering both time and cost. Reimbursement will be limited to the least costly method.
Use of Common Carrier (CC): Must use contract travel management company (GovTrip). Less than first class accommodations must be used for travel on official business. Government contracted travel agents must be used for booking travel. The allowed charge for agent ticketing will be claimed as a separate expense.
When combining personal travel with official travel, a personal credit card must be used for the personal portion of the CC tickets. The administration fee for business/personal combination tickets that must be reissued will be charged to the traveler.
The government encourages employees who travel frequently to participate in various frequent traveler programs offered by airlines, hotels, and car rental vendors. Employees may be reimbursed for the cost to enter certain frequent traveler programs when entering the program is expected to result in savings to the government. Employees may now retain frequent flyer miles and other promotional materials obtained incident to official travel for personal use and may use frequent flyer miles to upgrade class of service for air and train accommodations without approval from the agency. See Bulletin 02-302.
City Pairs Program: Travelers must comply with the mandatory provisions of the FTR governing the use of contract airline service between designated city-pairs. Cash is not to be used to circumvent the regulations governing airline city-pair contracts. See P&P 343.4 - Contract Air Service regarding the use of penalty airfare tickets.
ARS employees are required to use cash (includes personal credit cards, checks, travelers checks and currency) to procure all passenger transportation services costing $10 or less and to pay excess baggage charges costing $15 or less. Employees are permitted to use cash, in rare instances (without written approval), to procure passenger transportation services when the cost is over $10.00 but does not exceed $100.
Taxicabs may be authorized as advantageous to the Government and considered an allowed reimbursable expense in the following circumstances:
1. Travel to and from common carrier terminals; to office on day of departure; and home on day of return for overnight travel. Limousine service usually costs less than taxicabs and should be utilized when available.
2. While on TDY, travel to training or meeting site if necessary (public transportation is first choice if available).
3. In addition to reimbursement of taxi fare, the employee will be allowed reimbursement of tips in the amount of 15%.
Rental Vehicles may be authorized when advantageous to the Government. When renting a vehicle for domestic travel, extra insurance options such as collision damage waiver (CDW) and personal liability coverage are not reimbursable. When renting a vehicle while on foreign travel, insurance charges will be reimbursed by the Government. If a rental vehicle is used for official business and personal travel, the charges must be prorated accordingly.
Annual Leave in Connection with Temporary Duty: When annual leave is taken in connection with temporary duty assignment, there must be a statement on the travel authorization (AD-202) that shows the time(s) and date(s) that annual leave begins and ends and this leave must be approved by the AD. When annual leave is approved in connection with temporary duty, the approving official must have sufficient information to be certain that the travel was not planned for personal preference. A more detailed justification in memo form to Area Director is required when the number of days is more than 2 official duty days, or the employee is deviating from the authorized itinerary and/or mode of transportation in order to take annual leave.
Government Charge Card Holders: Employees who travel two or more times per year on official business should apply for a government charge card. Government charge card renewals will be sent automatically to each member approximately 15 days before current card expires. Holders of charge cards are reminded that these cards are only to be used for official business and bills must be paid within 30 days of receipt of billing unless there are discrepancies with the bill and the credit card company has been notified of such discrepancies. Travel vouchers should be completed within 5 working days after travel ends. Holder must notify card company of your personal change of address.
Technician and CAT III Scientist Travel to Meetings: It will be NPA policy to disapprove travel costs for technicians and Category III scientists to attend scientific meetings. Exceptions to this policy will be made when travel is for the purpose of obtaining formalized training (submit SF-182) or for certain extenuating circumstances. Authorship will not be accepted as justification for travel. Exceptions require memo of justification to AD for approval.