Per Diem/Lodging and Meal Allowance
Employees who travel within the State of Alabama (outside the base area) on official University business will be paid a per diem allowance. This allowance is set by State law and is paid to the traveler in lieu of actual expenses for lodging and meals. The per diem allowance for in-state travel that requires an overnight stay is set at $75.00 per day.
Per Diem Example: An employee leaves the University at 8:00 a.m., travels to Montgomery, and returns to the University at 11:00 a.m. the next day. This person will be paid $150.00.
Effective May 26, 2017, the Governor of Alabama signed House Bill 550, an amendment to the State Travel Law Section 36-7-21, Code of Alabama 1975. This amendment states the following:
"...persons traveling in the service of the state or any of its departments, institutions, boards, bureaus, commissions, councils, committees, or other agencies, outside of the State of Alabama or within the State of Alabama for purposes of attending or assisting in hosting a convention, conference, seminar, or other meeting of a state or national organization of which the state or individual is a dues-paying member that is held within the state shall be allowed all of their actual and necessary expenses in addition to the actual expenses for transportation. In-state travel authorized under this section is subject to the same documentation requirements as out-of-state travel."
Therefore, effective immediately and for all travel that commenced after May 26, 2017, this law will apply. Travel made to a conference or other meeting within the state of Alabama of a state or national organization of which the University or individual traveler is a dues-paying member will follow the University's out-of-state travel policy instead of the in-state, per-diem policy. Travel forms submitted will need to include documentation proving that the University or traveler is a dues-paying member of the hosting organization.
Travel Outside the Base Area That Does Not Require Overnight Stay
No travel allowance shall be paid for a trip of less than six hours. The traveler shall be paid a meal allowance of $11.25 for a trip of six to 12 hours. For travel in excess of 12 hours, but not overnight, the traveler shall be paid $30.00.
Example: An employee leaves the University at 7:00 a.m., travels to Montgomery and returns at 3:00 p.m. the same day. This traveler is absent for eight hours and is entitled to a meal allowance of $11.25.
Example: An employee leaves the University at 8:00 a.m., travels to Montgomery and returns to the University at 9:00 p.m. the same day. The traveler is absent for 13 hours and is entitled to an allowance of $30.00.
Federal and State tax regulations consider reimbursement for meal allowances paid to University employees for in-state travel not requiring an overnight stay to be taxable income. The University will report the meal allowance on IRS Form W-2 Wage and Tax Statement as earnings, and appropriate taxes will be deducted from the traveler's paycheck.
The base area generally consists of the city limits of Mobile. The base area for USA Baldwin County generally consists of the city limits of Fairhope.
Other Allowable Expenses
The Internal Revenue Service requires that receipts be provided for all expenditures that cost $75.00 or more. This requirement is in addition to the receipts required below.
|Repairs to University vehicles||Yes|
|Gasoline for University vehicles||Yes|
|Rental automobile (see limitations)||Yes|
|Telephone calls (Note: Personal calls are not allowable)||Yes|
|Tips (for items other than meals)||No|
|Taxi fares and limousine service $25 and under||No|
|Taxi fares and limousine service over $25||Yes|
(Note: Taxi fares to and from meals are not allowable)
Non-Allowable Expenses (Not All-Inclusive)
Valet services, laundry, alcoholic beverages, recreational activities, personal telephone calls, taxis to and from meals, and other personal expenses will not be reimbursed as part of in-state expenses.
Waiving Per Diem
When an employee's travel expenses are less than per diem allowance, the employee may choose to be reimbursed for the actual cost of travel. In this case, a signed statement in which the traveler voluntarily waives the per diem allowance must be included with the In-state Travel Form (Click here to access the Waiver of Per Diem form for In-State Travel). The employee should still indicate the hours of departure and return even though the per diem is waived.
Except for intercollegiate athletics team travel, advance payments of lodging and meals are not allowable for travel within the State.
Travel Status Car Mileage
While traveling in-state, employees will be reimbursed for travel status car mileage at the federal standard mileage rate. Employees are entitled to a mileage allowance from their base station to their destination and return or for miles actually traveled from home to their destination and return, whichever is less. Normal commutes from the employee's home to their work base are not considered travel status car mileage and will not be reimbursed.
Requests for reimbursement of authorized in-state travel expenses should be submitted on the official University Travel Reimbursement form (click here to access the University Travel Reimbursement form) It must have the traveler's signature in the certification space, and be approved by the department head and the appropriate dean or administrator. The purpose of the trip should be indicated and applicable receipts should be attached. The dates and hours of departure and return, length of stay documentation, points of travel, mode of transportation, mileage (if by private automobile), and the per diem and transportation expense claimed should be indicated on this form. The hours of departure and return should be indicated even though the employee is waiving the per diem reimbursement.
See the General Travel Information section for additional information concerning out-of-state travel.