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?
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 Richmond.
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?
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 the occupancy tax when they are traveling within the State of Georgia. All applicable taxes must be paid when traveling out-of-state.
What should an employee do if a hotel refuses to accept the tax-exempt form?
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 Budget 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.
What are the procedures for students traveling with an employee?
Students must be on separate travel request forms, even if no expenses will be incurred. Additionally, all student expenses should be kept separate from employee expenses.
Do employees have to submit a travel request even when they are not asking for any reimbursement?
Yes. All employees must have an approved Travel Request Form on file in the Office of Business Services prior to leaving for official business.
Is tipping a maid service, concierge, or valet service (when self-parking is available) an allowable expense?
No. Other unallowable expenses include laundry, entertainment expenses, theater and purchase of alcoholic beverages.
Can employees be reimbursed for meals that are included as part of a registration fee or hotel cost?
Employees CANNOT be reimbursed for meals that are provided by hotels, meetings, conferences, or any other source. If a continental breakfast or reception is offered as part of the travel event and the food/timing is sufficient to serve as a meal, the traveler must reduce the per diem by the appropriate allowance amount. If a meal is offered as part of a conference and the traveler has medical restrictions, the traveler should make every effort to have the conference facilitate his/her needs by the deadline specified by the conference. If the conference does not honor the request, the traveler is not required to deduct the applicable meal allowance from the per diem. However, the traveler must include a note and original meal receipt with the Travel Expense Reimbursement form documenting this information. (SAO Travel Policy Section 4.2)
When should an employee include commute miles on their travel reimbursement form?
When an employee is leaving from any location other than their primary work station (DSC office), then an employee must include their commute miles on the reimbursement form. Example: An employee’s normal commute is 30 miles one way. The employee traveled from home to his/her primary work station to a meeting in Cartersville which is 44 miles from the employee’s primary work station. The employee returned home from the meeting in Cartersville which was a distance of 54 miles. The employee’s business miles traveled are 68 miles. This calculated using 98 actual miles less 30 miles normal one way commute (since the employee left from his/her primary work station no commute miles were used in the trip to Cartersville).
Will the link to the DOAS Car Rental Cost Comparison Form be provided on the DCS website?
Yes. A link is provided to the form on the DSC Travel website at the following address: http://ssl.doas.state.ga.us/vehcostcomp/
Is an employee required to use the mode of transportation determined by the DOAS Car Rental Cost Comparison Form?
An employee can always decide to drive their personal vehicle and be reimbursed at the Tier 2 mileage rate.
Will employees be allowed to submit expense reports more than 30 days after returning from their travel event?
No. All reimbursement requests must be submitted to the Office of Business Services no more than 30 days after returning from a travel event. (Those employees traveling in June and July when the reimbursement system is closed for year-end processing will be allotted additional time to submit their reimbursement request.)
How is the Tier 1 mileage rate determined for an employee to be eligible?
First, an employee must request and be denied a DSC vehicle. Next, an employee must complete the DOAS Car Rental Cost Comparison Form. If a DSC vehicle is unavailable and the cost comparison form shows driving a personal vehicle is the least expensive method of transportation, then the employee can drive their personal vehicle and receive the Tier 1 mileage rate. Please note the vehicle request form showing “unavailable” as well as the car rental cost comparison form must be included with an employee’s travel request to be considered for this reimbursement.