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Travel & Expense - FAQ

Question 1:

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, Gwinnett, and Richmond counties.

Question 2:

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 such taxes when they are traveling within the State of Georgia. All applicable taxes must be paid when traveling out-of-state.

For non-employee guests visiting the university on official business:  The hotel-motel occupancy tax for guests of the State of Georgia and its instrumentalities staying at hotels within the City of Marietta will not be waived for stays less than 30 consecutive days. Therefore non-employee guests staying at the Crowne Plaza Atlanta-Marietta Hotel, the Hilton Marietta Conference Center and other local hotels will not be eligible for exemption from the hotel-motel occupancy tax.  The University should cover these charges when reimbursing guests.

Question 3:

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.

Question 4:

Can employees pay any travel expenses on their p-card?


No. The only travel related expense that can be paid via p-card is Registration.

Question 5:

Can an employee’s standing authorization to travel be used for out of state travel?


No. Standing authorizations can only be used for in state travel. All other trips must be on separate Travel Requests.

Question 6:

What are the procedures for students traveling with an employee?


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.

Question 7:

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 on file prior to leaving for official business.

Question 8:

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.

Question 9:

Can employees be reimbursed for mileage, when air transportation is more cost effective and efficient?


Employees, who choose to travel by personal vehicle under these circumstances, will only be reimbursed for the cost of the lowest available airfare to the specified destination.

Question 10:

What is the procedure to request an advance for employee travel?


Submit a travel request and letter of need (stating reasons for the advance) to the Vice President of Business and Finance. If the request is approved, the budget office will process the travel advance.


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