Per Diem

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» Posted by on Aug 3, 2014 in Hotels | 1 comment

According to Wikipedia, per diem is Latin for “per day” or “for each day”. Travelers are authorized per diem when they perform temporary duty (TDY) travel. TDY travel is generally when government employees travel 50 miles or more away from their permanent duty station (PDS). When individuals are gone for more than 12 hours, they are entitled to per diem. The per diem allowance for the government traveler includes lodging, meals, and incidental expenses. It does not include transportation expenses.

Per diem rates for the continental US (CONUS) are established by the General Service Administration (GSA). Rates outside the continental US (OCONUS) are established by the Department of State. These are generally referred to as foreign. Rates outside the continental US, but not considered foreign are established by DOD. Alaska, Hawaii, Guam and Puerto Rico are considered non-foreign areas. Per diem rates are reviewed on an annual basis. The rates are maintained in the eTravel system used by my agency.

Federal employees are entitled to 75% of the meals and incidental (M & IE) allowance for the first and last day of travel status. Incidentals include tips for hotel housekeepers, waiters/waitresses, and porters.

Daily reimbursement for meals provided by the government or as part of a registration fee that the government pays must be reduced by the meal amount. The breakdown for meals provided for the various locality per diem rates is maintained in eTravel systems. Travelers who use these systems can check the meal provided and the daily expense will automatically be reduced.

Receipts must be provided for lodging but receipts for meals do not have to be provided unless the expense incurred is over $75 and the agency, with proper justification, approves actual meal expenses. Lodging taxes for CONUS travel are not included in the per diem allowance. The taxes can be claimed as a separate miscellaneous expense. Taxes for OCONUS and non-foreign travel are included in the per diem rate and cannot be claimed as a separate expense.

Per diem rates for fiscal year 2010 were announced by GSA on August 24, 2009. These rates will be effective October 1, 2009 and will be reflected in eTravel systems.

By Pam Enlow

The contents of this message are mine personally and do not reflect any position of the Government or my agency.

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