Food/Meals

If food is required for an Award, ideally it would be itemized in the proposal budget.  If food for research was not included in the budget, then the purchase should include a documented justification for why the food was required.  The justification would include how the purchase of food is necessary to achieve the award objectives.  

Auditors scrutinize meal purchases because they can include unallowable costs such as alcohol and/or per meal cost over the per diem allocation.  Provision of an itemize receipt will provide proof of the cost allowability.

Unlikely.  See the Food section on our website for more information on purchases of Food/Meals.

The purchase of alcoholic beverages is not allowable, except where explicit sponsor approval has been received, or the alcohol will be used as a supply item in a project.  For more information see the Food section on our website. Allowable alcohol purchases must be made on a discretionary budget. See Discretionary Budgets for more information.

First in planning the event and selecting the meal to be served every effort should be made to have a margin between the planned meal cost and the allowable per-diem. This will allow some cushion for no-shows before the per-diem is exceeded. If however the per-diem per participant is exceeded and the amount is reasonable under the circumstances we would consider the additional cost allowable. There is still a possibility that an auditor would disagree and deem the excess over per-diem unallowable.

Yes, this will provide good supporting documentation for the number of people that the meal cost covered (determine the cost per participant).

Yes, this would provide good supporting documentation to demonstrate that there was a business purpose for the meal and that it is not a social event.

No, coffee service and other drinks for breaks can be treated as incidental and not included in individual per diem.

GCA no longer applies the food flag to sponsored Awards/budgets. Departments are responsible for knowing if food (this particular event) was included in the proposal or that written sponsor approval has been obtained. You should only need to fill out the meal form once.

This depends on the sponsor and the terms and conditions applicable to the award. Some sponsors do not allow meal costs for employees of the institution if they are not in travel status. If they are attending the workshop and are approved by the sponsor, the sponsor's approval should be retained on file.

The cost of the dinner and how it benefits the Award should be part of the original proposal. As with all expenses, there is a requirement to show how the expense is necessary for the achievement of the award objectives. See Spending/Food for more information.

The food cost including any applicable taxes, tips & service charges, etc., may not exceed the per diem allocation for the meal.  So in your case the cost of food, drinks, tax & tip and/or service charge may not exceed $19 per person. Some non-federal sponsors may allow meal costs to exceed the standard per-diem rate.  Written sponsor approval is required in these instances.