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Business Meals

Certified Business Meals

  • Must have supervisor approval.
  • Must have a substantive and bona fide business purpose deemed essential to the University's mission.
  • Must include more than one person.
  • Must be documented with itemized original receipts (maintain all receipts in the department).
  • Must adhere to meal expenditure limits.
  • Must have the required purpose or reason, number of participants, and affiliation documented.
  • Departments can use the existing Business Meal Certification Form located on the Accounts Payable Forms page.

Typical Participants

  • Representatives of the state
  • Private consultants as part of training or professional development
  • University donors
  • Business representatives
  • Prospective employees or students for the purpose of recruitment
  • Employees who are required to work through their meal periods
  • Students and employees at student functions directly related to education of the students

Expense Limits & Restrictions

State & Grant Funds

**Note: UVA policies may permit spending other types of funds for food/meal expenses, but they may not be allowable on grants and other sponsored programs funding.  Be sure to review the following links.

http://www.virginia.edu/sponsoredprograms/compliance/FoodGuidanceOverview.html

http://www.virginia.edu/sponsoredprograms/compliance/FoodFAQs.html#documents

Meals using state or grant funds can claim the actual meal cost per person up to the limits shown on the Rate Guide.

  • Meals using state or grant funds can claim the actual meal cost per person up to 50% over the limits with the appropriate Supervisor’s approval and written justification.
  • Meals using state or grant funds cannot exceed 50% over the limits.
  • Meal tipping and taxes are included in the expense limit for the meal, on all funds.

    Restriction

    • Alcohol -- Any expenses for alcohol during a business meal will NOT be paid from state funds.
    • Spouses -- Spouses of business meal participants that have a legitimate business purpose may attend a business meal, but their portion of the expense will NOT be paid from state funds.
    • Staff Meetings -- Meal expenses for staff meetings will NOT be paid from state funds, unless employees were required to work through their meal periods.

Local Funds

  • Meals using Local funds can claim the actual meal cost per person up to the limits shown on the Local Funds Limits page.
  • Meal tipping and taxes are included in the expense limit for the meal on all funds.

    Restriction

    • Alcohol -- With the appropriate Supervisor’s approval alcohol for business meal consumption may be purchased on local funds only.
    • Alcohol consumed with a meal, where the cost of the alcohol exceeds the cost of the food, requires the approval of the Dean or Vice President.
    • Spouses -- With written approval of the Dean or Vice President local funds may also be used to pay for meal expenses of spouses of business meal participants.
    • Staff meetings -- Meal expenses for staff meetings can be paid on local funds only.
    • Please note: Information on circumstances under which alcohol may be served at the University is published in Policy VII.F.3, "Sale of Alcoholic Beverages", which does not address the payment restrictions above.

Internal Catering

  • When an internal caterer is the meal vendor, higher limits are allowed from state funds, and locality is not considered.
  • These limits may NEVER be exceeded when using State funds, and their use is limited to a very short and specific list of internal caterers. Internal catering limits and vendors may be found at Internal Catering Meal Limits.

Direct Payment vs. Reimbursement

  • Generally, individuals should pay for business meals and then request reimbursement using the Payment Voucher.
  • Direct payment for business meals is very limited, and can be made only in the following circumstances:
    • Petty cash advances for business meals when reimbursement is not practical.
    • Unprepared food (e.g., grocery store food items) purchased using the University Purchasing Card.
    • Meals supplied by either eVA excluded or internal vendors.
    • Restaurant meals ordered on a standing purchase order created by buyers in Procurement & Supplier Diversity Services(PSDS). Departmentally created purchase orders are not allowable.

Business Meal Chart

The following chart lists common types of meals, their defining characteristics, and the documentation that may be required in addition to purpose or reason and number of participants, both of which are always required.

Common Types of Business MealsDefining CriteriaDocumentation Required In Addition to Purpose/Reason and Number of Participants
Recruitment Meal Hosted by the University for the purpose of recruiting prospective faculty, staff, or students. Names of participants if fewer than six; if more than six, their affiliations are sufficient.
Meals with Guest Speakers/Recruiters Meal is served to large group while attendees listen to speaker(s). Name of the guest speaker or recruiter and identification of the group addressed.
Student Function Function hosted by the University and related to the education of students. Cannot be an employee function where students are present. No additional information required.
Training Training must last for longer than two hours and either trainers or trainees must be from outside the department. The word "training" and the type of training conducted. Names of participants if fewer than six; if more than six, their affiliations are sufficient.
Working Meal Employees are required to work during their meal periods. Food is generally brought into the workplace. Names of participants if fewer than six.
Committee Meetings Working meeting of a committee. Names of participants if fewer than 6; if more than six, their affiliations are sufficient.
Receptions for the Public Function must have been open to the general public, and public announcement must have been made. Affirmation that the public was invited.
Staff Meetings or Food for Office Functions (Local funds only) At the discretion of the funding department, but must be relevant to the work of the department, and participants must have been required to attend. Names of participants if fewer than six.