Learn about Per Diem Rates

As with lodging, the Commonwealth of Virginia utilizes per diem rates for domestic meals and incidental expenses that are governed by the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA). The meals and incidental expenses (IE) breakdown for the 48 contiguous United States is available at www.gsa.gov/mie. The meals and incidental per diem must correspond to the location specified for the overnight lodging.

Domestic and International per diem rates are built into the Mason Finance Gateway and include

  • Meals, including taxes and tips
  • Transportation to where meals are taken
  • Personal telephone calls
  • Laundry expenses
  • Tips to baggage handlers

International Per Diem Rates

Travel Departure and Return Dates

On travel departure and return days, travelers automatically receive 75% of the per diem meal allowance plus the $5 incidental allowance, regardless of the time of departure or return. The return day allowance is based on the rate at the location where the traveler spent the night prior to returning to the home base.

No-Cost Meals

The daily per diem rate must be reduced for all “no-cost” meals the traveler receives.  “No-cost” meals are those included in event registration fees, provided by the hotel or paid for by someone other than the traveler. For example, a continental breakfast or reception is offered as part of the travel event and the food/timing is sufficient to serve as a meal, the traveler must deduct the per diem by the appropriate allowance amount. If a meal is offered as part of a conference and the traveler has medical restrictions, the traveler should make every effort to have the conference facilitate their need by the deadline specified by the conference. If the conference does not honor the request, the traveler is not required to deduct the applicable meal allowance for the per diem. However, the traveler must include a comment in the Mason Finance Gateway to document this information. The Per Diem Wizard embedded in the Mason Finance Gateway allows users to deduct meals and will automatically perform the calculation.

Traveler with Medical Restrictions

If a meal is offered as part of a conference and the traveler has medical restrictions, the traveler should make every effort to have the conference facilitate their need by the deadline specified by the conference.

If the conference does not honor the request, the traveler is not required to deduct the applicable meal allowance for the per diem. However, the traveler must include a note in the Description field of the Mason Finance Gateway indicating the restriction and unavailability of accommodation.

Business Meals

Generally, meal expenses must involve an overnight stay to qualify for reimbursement. An individual who is not in a travel status may be eligible for reimbursement if they are approved to provide a business meal. For additional information on Business Meals, please review the Food and Beverage Procedures.

Local Area Per Diem Maximums

Maximum rates are per person and include tax and tip

October 1, 2018 - PresentBreakfastLunchDinner
Washington Metro (Arlington, Fairfax)$27.00$28.50$51.00
Prince William County (SciTech)$19.50$21.00$34.50
Loudoun County$21.00$24.00$39
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