When is a 1-day travel per diem reimbursement considered taxable?

Reimbursement for meal and incidental expenses when no overnight travel is involved requires that the reimbursement amount be reported as part of the employee's taxable income unless it is a valid Group Meal with a clear business purpose and a list of attendees is supplied.

EXAMPLE:  An employee travels from Philadelphia to UP. During the return trip from UP, the employee stops and eats lunch. If the employee requests reimbursement for the meal, the total benefit that an employee will receive (total per diem, out of pocket meal reimbursement, or PCARD Meal expense) is the 1-Day Taxable Meal Amount and must be entered on the Fixed Meal entry that is created by the itinerary.  

How to handle taxable meals for 1-day travel in an ERS report:

  1. In Report Header select the checkbox for "Does this report include 1-Day Meal Reimbursement". This turns on the reminder for the taxable amount field on the Fixed Meal expense.
  2. Create the itinerary and the Fixed Meal expense for the per diem.
  3. In the Expense List, click on the Fixed Meal expense to open it.
  4. Enter the total amount of the meal expense benefit that the traveler is claiming in the 1-Day Taxable Meal Amount field.  The amount entered may be any of the following but must not exceed the original amount of the Fixed Meal expense entry:
  • total allowable per diem, or
  • actual out of pocket meal expense, or
  • actual PCARD Meal expense, or
  • actual out of pocket meal expense plus actual PCARD Meal expense

NOTE: If per diem is reduced to actual spent the taxable amount is the actual spent amount (out of pocket plus PCARD Meals). It will be less than the original amount of the Fixed Meal entry.

IRS Taxable Per Diem Policy