When on a business trip, the occasion may call for you to entertain (i.e., incur expenses for meals or light refreshments for others) for the business purpose of promoting goodwill, donor cultivation, or similar social or recreational activities in support of the university’s mission.

In situations when a university traveler is hosting others at a business-related activity and a meal is being served, you may be reimbursed for the cost of the meal up to the per-person limits noted below. 

For meals that are not associated with an entertainment event, different limits apply.  When traveling within the United States, the maximum daily total for all meal costs is $74 (excluding entertainment meals). The maximum daily limits for meals when traveling abroad vary by location and are based on the U.S. State Department's rates.

Business Related Entertainment Meal Per-person Limit
Breakfast $27.00
Lunch/Brunch $47.00
Dinner $81.00
Light Refreshments $19.00

These limits include the cost of food, beverages, labor, sales tax, delivery charges and other service fees.

If the university is paying for the meal for your spouse or domestic partner or the spouse or domestic partner of your guest, additional approval for reimbursement will be required.

To submit for reimbursement, use the same Travel Reimbursement Request Form you are using to file your expense report for the trip. In the “Special Circumstances” section, list details about the entertainment activity, including the guest names and their affiliations, meal type (breakfast, lunch, dinner or light refreshments), the business purpose of the event, the location, the total amount, the per person amount and the date.  

Receipts are required for all entertainment expenses of $75 or more per occasion. 

Whether traveling domestically or internationally, there is a daily maximum limit on the amount that is allowable to be spent on meals. That daily limit may be exceeded due to a business-related entertainment.

Entertainment expenses will not be reimbursed if:

  • The activity is not directly related to the employee’s job
  • The expense is lavish or extravagant under the circumstances
  • The traveler who is hosting the event is not present at the activity
  • The expense is not substantiated with supporting documentation and justification

All entertainment expenses must comply with UC policy BUS-79.

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