Only actual amounts paid for meals may be claimed. The Internal Revenue Service requires employees to substantiate the cost of meals under an accountable plan. The Administrative Office of the Courts/Probation requires all officers and employees to keep itemized receipts (not credit card receipts) for meal expenses. Transfer the receipt information to the expense voucher and attach the receipts to the expense voucher to satisfy the IRS requirement for an accountable plan. Unsubstantiated meal expenses will not be reimbursed. Again, the amounts claimed should be actual meal costs. Tips are a reimbursable expense. No reimbursement may be made for alcoholic beverages.
There are time limitations on reimbursements for meals. The time limitations do not include the time taken for the meal. If departure is before 6:30 a.m. or 1½ hours before the officer or employee begins work, whichever is earlier, breakfast may be reimbursed. Noon meals may be reimbursed if departure is at or before 11 a.m. (for overnight travel) or the return time is at or after 2 p.m. (from overnight travel). Noon meals for 1-day travel are not reimbursable. If the return time is after 7 p.m. or 2 hours after the officer’s or employee’s workday ends, whichever is later, the evening meal may be reimbursed. Meal expenses incurred in the city or town in which the residence or primary work location of such employee or officer is located are not reimbursable. Reimbursement for meal expenses incurred on 1-day travel is taxable income to the officer or employee if the expenses are $200 or more in any one year--December 1 through November 30. The total amount is taxable income.
Reimbursements for meals will not exceed the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) limit on meals. Meal allowances include tips. Guidelines for meal allowances can be found on the following Web site: www.gsa.gov. Employees or officers will not be reimbursed for any meal that was provided as part of an event or function should they choose to eat elsewhere absent good cause shown.
Amended December 11, 2013.