2.03—Reimbursement of Business Meals

Effective: 04/01/2005
Senate Proposal: No
Responsible University Officer: Associate Vice President for Finance
Responsible Office: Financial Services and Operations

Policy Statement

Michigan Tech will reimburse employees/vendors who host events/meals for the purpose of University business.  The active conduct of business must be the primary aspect of the business meal.

Policy Requirements

Claims for reimbursement are to be filed within two (2) weeks of the event on a Business Meal Report form with itemized receipts attached. Individuals from outside of the University must be in attendance for business meal expenses to be reimbursed.  The Business Meal Report must include the host and attendee(s) name, type of event, date of the event, location of the event, and business purpose of the event.  The receipt must show the date, the name of the facility at which the event took place, and an itemized breakdown of the charges.  Reasonable gratuities may be added to the itemized receipt but cannot exceed the standard 20% gratuity.  Any gratuity above the 20% will be the responsibility of the employee.

Reason for Policy

This policy establishes guidelines for fair and consistent reimbursement of reasonable business meals.

Related Policy Information

All business meal costs incurred by University employees hosting such events may be paid for directly by the employee or paid directly to the facility. If on-campus dining is utilized, the requirement for an individual outside the University be in attendance is waived.  When the event takes place at a University facility or is catered by a University unit, payment will be made via inter-account billing. The use of University catering services should always be considered as the option of first choice, and its use is strongly encouraged whenever possible.

Up to three departmental events per fiscal year, where multiple people from the department are in attendance, are allowable.  Examples such as semester welcome events, team-building activities, and departmental retreats are acceptable.

Per IRS regulations, reimbursement requests for travel expenses, including repayment of cash advances and Business Meals, submitted and approved more than 60 days after the event/last day of business travel will be taxable income to the traveler.  Reimbursement requests submitted more than 120 days after the event/last day of business travel are unallowable and will not be reimbursed.  Cash advances which have not been submitted on an expense report or repaid, more than 120 days after the last day of business travel, will be deducted from the recipient’s future paycheck.


  • Claims for reimbursement for the cost of alcoholic beverages may not be submitted.
  • Departmental functions that are considered personal are not authorized for reimbursement by the University. Some examples include:

Holiday Functions

Appreciation Dinners/Luncheons

Administration Professional/Bosses Day

Farewell Parties/Birthdays

Service Recognition Events

Off Campus Retirement Parties

  • Reimbursement for meal expenses for employee spouses and significant others will be permitted only when there is a substantial and bona fide business reason for the person’s attendance. The IRS does not permit tax-free treatment when the spouse or other person is present merely for a social or personal purpose.
  • Athletic teams’ food and meals do not require external guests to be in attendance.
  • Student organizations, groups, and teams’ food and meals do not require external guests to be in attendance.
  • Students traveling with staff/faculty 
    • Business meals paid for by the faculty/staff are reimbursable (example: research projects, student abroad activities)
  • Student traveling without staff/faculty, may claim per diem.


Office/Unit Name

Telephone Number

Financial Services and Operations



Business Meals - Meals which include focused discussions on University business.  Examples include, but are not limited to: banquets, conferences, interviewing prospective employees, potential donors, recruiting prospective students, research sponsors/collaborators, seminars, and workshops.

Student organization/groups 

  • Registered student organization, including learning centers
  • Enterprise
  • Senior Design


Department Dean/Chair/Director or higher in the supervisory chain of command - Approves the expenses being claimed as actual and reasonable.

Host – Ensures all expenses are legitimate, completes the appropriate forms, and provides itemized receipts.


Forms and Instructions

In support of this policy, the following forms/instructions are included:



Adoption Date

04/01/2005 Approved by CFO



Change to policy requirements for reimbursement


Language changes to reflect current university titles and practice.



To reflect current university titles and practice, Responsible University Officer to "Vice President for Finance" and changed Responsible Office to "Financial Services and Operations." Changed contact to "Accounts Payable—906-487-2373"

04/10/2017 Transfer of policy page from HTML to CMS. Business and Finance numbers renamed from "2.2000" to "2. Business and Finance". Specifically from "2.2003—Reimbursement for Business Expenses: Events, Meals, and Banquets" to "2.03—Reimbursement for Business Expenses: Events, Meals, and Banquets".
05/03/2012 To reflect current University titles and practice, MTU is now Michigan Tech and the email address for questions is now hbwebmaster.