- 1.0 Purpose
This document defines "business meals," the circumstances in which
the University will pay or reimburse individuals for business meal
expenses, and the source(s) of funds that may be used in each circumstance.
This policy does NOT cover "Travel Meals", which are addressed in
-- Policy VI.G.1.
- 2.0 Policy [Top]
2.1 "Business Meal" Expenses -- General Information
The University will pay for or reimburse individuals for actual expenses
incurred, up to specified limits, for those meals that are deemed
to fall under the definition of "business meals", as stated below. All such payments and reimbursements must
be reviewed and approved by Procurement Services prior to disbursement.
In order to be approved, all requests for payment or reimbursement
for business meals must be submitted in accordance with published
Procurement Services procedures. These procedures will also describe
requirements for approval and documentation, which will include receipts
and written justification for categorizing the expense as a "business
Certification of ALL business meals, regardless of the source of funds
used, requires the signature of the Dean, Vice President, or designee
on the appropriate approval document. Additional approvals may be
required, depending on the nature of the meal and source of funds.
Reimbursement for correctly certified business meals is NOT treated
as taxable income.
2.2 Direct Payment vs. Reimbursement
Regardless of payment method, all payments must be made using the
established procedures published for the payment method by Procurement
In all but four specific circumstances (see below), individuals should
pay for the meals and then request reimbursement using the established
procedure published by Procurement Services.
Direct payment can be made to the vendor for business meals in the
- Petty cash advances for business meals when reimbursement is not
practical. All state and local spending limits apply.
- Catered meals supplied by either external or internal vendors.
- Unprepared food (e.g.: grocery store food items) purchased using
University Purchasing Card. All state and local spending limits
and restrictions apply.
- Restaurant meals on a standing purchase order created by buyers
in Procurement Services. LPOs may not be used for this purpose.
Should be used only when no other method is available.
2.3 Payment from State Funds: Dollar Limits
On state funds, business meals may be paid only up to specific dollar
limits per person per meal. These limits depend on the locality where
the meal is taken.
The Commonwealth of Virginia's Department of Accounts determines these
limits and they are subject to change. Current state limits are posted
Meal, and Incidental Expense Limits" -- State Funds.
·**Note**: Reimbursement from state funds can be claimed
for business meal costs exceeding the above limits by up to 50%, with
written justification and approval of a Dean, Vice President, or designee
on the appropriate approval document.
Catered meals from internal vendors -- For internal catering
vendors only, spending limits may be set higher than the state funds
limits, but these limits cannot be exceeded. Other restrictions on the
use of state and local funds still apply. See "Lodging,
Meal, and Incidental Expense Limits" -- State Funds -- Internal Catering
for current spending limits for internal catering and a list of internal
Catered meals from external vendors -- All state spending limits
and restrictions apply.
2.4 Payment from State Funds: Additional Restrictions
There are additional restrictions on the types of meal expenses that
can be paid from state funds:
- Alcohol -- Any expenses for alcohol during a business meal
will NOT be paid from state funds.
- Spouses -- Spouses of business meal participants may attend
a business meal, but their portion of the expense will NOT be paid
from state funds.
2.5 Payment from Local Funds
Business meal expenses may be paid from local funds, up to local funds
spending limits, which are generally higher than state limits. Current
local funds spending limits for business meals are published at "Lodging,
Meal, and Incidental Expense Limits" -- Local Funds.
With written approval of Dean or Vice President, local funds may also
be used to pay for:
- Meal expenses for spouses of employees or guests
2.6 Purchase of Alcohol
All alcohol must be purchased with local funds only. Information on
circumstances under which alcohol may be served is published in Policy VII.F.3,
"Sale of Alcoholic Beverages".
- Alcohol purchased separately from meals for university-related
events requires the written approval of a Dean or Vice President.
- Alcohol consumed with meals, where the cost of alcohol does not
exceed the cost of the meal, requires only the normal Dean, Vice
President, or Designee approval. However, if the cost of the alcohol
exceeds the cost of the meal, written approval of a Dean or Vice
President is required.
- 3.0 Definitions
A "business meal" must have departmental approval, include more than
one person, and have a substantive and bona fide business purpose
deemed essential to the University's mission.
Note: Business meals are distinct from both daytrip and
overnight "Travel Meals". Business meals may be taken while traveling,
but the meal must be claimed as "travel" or "business", not both.
A "catered meal" is supplied by either an internal or external vendor
and requires both planning and forethought on the part of the purchaser,
including a pre-established menu.
"Travel Meals" are meals for which an individual may be reimbursed for
no other reason than that the meal was taken while traveling on approved
University business. Travel meal reimbursement may be claimed only for
the traveler, not for others who may be present.
- 4.0 References [Top]
This policy closely follows the state guidelines described in the
Commonwealth Accounting Policies and Procedures (CAPP)
manual, Section 20335, State Travel Regulations (Adobe Acrobat
Payment Vouchers" -- Procedure 6-101.
and Services Procurement Guide
Meal, and Incidental Expense Limits
- 5.0 Approvals and Revisions [Top]
Previous version in effect from 7/01/01 to 1/06/04 available in