Virginia's Judicial System


Meal and Lodging Guidelines

(Revised July 1, 2008)

The following lodging and meal guidelines have been adopted for individuals traveling on behalf of the Judicial System. All requests for reimbursement of travel expense must be submitted by completing a Travel Expense Reimbursement Voucher, Form DA-02-041. These guidelines must be followed by all Judicial personnel except where otherwise addressed by the Code of Virginia.

Lodging

Generally, the maximum reimbursement for lodging in-state, excluding applicable taxes and surcharges, is $70.00 per night. The out-of-state rate is $88.00 excluding applicable taxes and surcharges. Exceptions to the reimbursement rates are included on the enclosed Lodging Guideline Tables.

State government rates must always be requested by all travelers and confirmed both at the time reservations are made and during check-in.

Supporting receipts and original hotel bills for lodging accommodations must be submitted with the travel voucher and any unusual charges fully explained. Lodging: In-State | Out-of-State

Meals

Travel meal expenses are reimbursable only for overnight official business travel outside the traveler’s official station. In extreme cases, an exception to this policy may be made after application in writing to and approved by the Executive Secretary of the Supreme Court. To be reimbursed for breakfast expenses, the traveler must, out of business necessity, leave home before 6:30 a.m. To be reimbursed for lunch expenses, the traveler must, out of business necessity, leave their official station before 11:00 a.m. or return to their official station after 2:00 p.m. To be reimbursed for dinner expenses, the traveler must, out of business necessity, be unable to return home before 7:30 p.m. In order to claim any meals (breakfast, lunch or dinner), the departure and arrival (return) times must be entered on the travel voucher.

The maximum amount reimbursable for meals taken within the State is $44.00 per day. The meal guidelines are $8.00 for breakfast, $12.00 for lunch and $24.00 for dinner, including applicable tax and gratuity. The maximum amount reimbursable for meals taken outside the State is $54.00 per day. Out of State meals guidelines are $10.00 for breakfast, $14.00 for lunch and $30.00 for dinner. Actual costs of meals should be claimed, but not to exceed the maximum daily allowance. To permit travelers additional flexibility in managing travel meal budgets, for days in which the traveler is eligible to be reimbursed for 2 or 3 meals, a meal rollover policy is permitted. Under this policy, each traveler may save all or a portion of the individual meal expense guideline amount allowed but not incurred during any one meal, and spend that portion saved on meal expenses incurred within another meal taken on the same day of travel. This meal rollover policy provides reimbursement only for actual costs incurred by a single traveler up to the maximum amount allowed for the meals included in the rollover during a single day of travel.

The IRS requires a receipt for each meal expenditure of $75.00 or more, including meal tips. This includes such meals reimbursed under the rollover policy and situations where one traveler purchases and claims reimbursement for the meals of any other official business traveler. The absence of such documentary evidence requires the meal reimbursement amount to be reported as gross income to the employee.

Meals - Other

Meals and meal tip expenses not involving an overnight stay are not reimbursable unless documentation supporting the reimbursement clearly establishes that the meal is taken during overtime work periods or for official business reasons. To be eligible for reimbursement, non-travel official business meals must be essential to the agency’s mission, a business necessity, involve substantive and bona fide business discussions, and approved by the Agency Head or designee. Reimbursements for meals provided at regularly scheduled or routine meetings are not permitted. These expenditures are also subject to the meal guidelines set forth above.

Transportation

Personal Automobiles may be used when traveling on official State business. Such use will be reimbursed at the rate and under the conditions established in the current Appropriations Act and shall be calculated in the most direct route reasonably available. The current mileage reimbursement rate is .505 per mile. The criteria to be used to determine that the use of a personal automobile rather than a State-owned automobile is as follows:

The supervisor or designee, certifies that a State-owned automobile is not available, or determines that it is in the best interest of the Commonwealth to utilize a personal automobile.

The use of a personal automobile is cost beneficial to the State.

In analyzing the cost/benefit of personal automobile use, consider all costs associated with obtaining parking, operating, and/or returning a State-owned automobile in relation to the cost of operating a personal automobile. Generally, a personal automobile is considered cost beneficial under the following circumstances:

Occasional travel planned for distances of less than 75 miles per day. – For overnight travel, consider the average daily mileage over the period the state vehicle would otherwise be needed.

Constant daily routine travel or travel by employees whose base point is outside of the Richmond metropolitan area.

Commuting Mileage –The cost for round trip mileage traveled by an employee between his/her residence and the office/building/court where the traveler performs his/her duties on a routine basis is considered a personal expense and is not reimbursable.

State-Owned Trip Pool Vehicles can be reserved for individuals who will be traveling on official State business. Sufficient notice must be given, as required by the Division of Fleet Management, in order to reserve a vehicle. When a vehicle is picked up at Fleet Management, a Travel Request Form (CP-2) which has been executed by the Assistant Executive Secretary of the Supreme Court must be presented. Requests for vehicles for a period longer that three weeks may be made in writing to the Assistant Executive Secretary. All fuel and maintenance of vehicles should be obtained at State facilities wherever possible.

Permanent Use of State-Owned Vehicles must be requested through the Assistant Executive Secretary of the Supreme Court. Such us is strictly limited to those employees whose job travel requirements make commuting the only cost-effective or practical alternative.

Vehicle Rentals for travelers while on official business may be made through commercial rental agencies. The traveler should inquire about a commercial discount rate when the vehicle is rented. If a discount rate is not available, the employee should make all feasible attempts to find another car rental agency which will provide a discount. Use of luxury vehicle is strongly discouraged (justification required). When rental vehicles are used, travelers will be reimbursed for actual expenses rather than mileage rates; therefore, receipts for the car rental and an accurate accounting of gas purchases must be submitted with the travel voucher in lieu of mileage. The total amount of gas purchases should be entered on the travel voucher under the “Other Expenses” column. Rental vehicles should be refueled before being turned in that refueling charges by the rental vendor are usually very expensive. The option to purchase insurance offered by rental car contractors should be declined and will not be reimbursed. Employees are responsible for operating the rental cars in a safe and responsible manner. If a traveler on official business is involved in a vehicle accident while operation a rental car, the following procedure should be followed:

Contract the local police or state police of the jurisdiction where the accident occurred.

Notify the contractor by calling the telephone number identified in the rental car agreement and complete a contractor-provided Vehicle Accident Report.

Contract the Office of the Executive Secretary of the Supreme Court and notify them of the accident. They will contract the Department of General Services, Division of Risk Management.

Parking and Toll expenses are reimbursable. If the reimbursement claim exceeds $10.00 a receipt is required. In all cases, the name of the facility (bridge, tunnel or turnpike) as well as the names and reasons for inclusion of a charge for passengers, where applicable, must be included in an attachment to the travel voucher and the amount(s) itemized under “Other Expenses.”