Business Meals Payment

Receipts for business meals are always required regardless of the amount. When paying with a credit card, the employee should retain an itemized bill as well as the signature receipt with the tip amount. When there are 10 or fewer people attending a meal, the name, title, and association/company of each attendee must be provided.

Non-travel related business meals are allowed on internally (University) funded accounts, but they are generally prohibited on federal grants and contracts unless explicitly allowed in the award documents. Alcohol is always prohibited on federal grants and contracts but may be charged to internally funded accounts. Award documentation for non-federal awards should be consulted for any applicable restrictions.

Some departments and programs may have their own preferences and/or procedures for business meals on top of what is required of University policy.

When you want to pay for Business Meals, the University makes available the GEMS systems as the preferred process for these payments.  The LBC provides training and support for the use of this system.

GEMS – the University’s corporate credit card that works in conjunction with the web-based expense management system. The card provides faculty and staff with a convenient method of procuring and paying for travel expenditures and small dollar purchases.

The faculty and staff GEMS card is a university issued credit card and is the preferred method paying for business meals.  The GEMS card typically has a $500 single purchase procurement limit; but does not apply to Business Meals.

The University has a rule prohibiting purchasing on one receipt any one item out of pocket that totals over $500 and requesting reimbursement (all travel arrangements being the notable exception). Please see policy below.

Supporting Documentation Standards
Each disbursement transaction must be supported by adequate documentation. This requirement is primarily driven by federal regulations, but even more basic than that-it is just good business practice. If the University is making the payment, it should know precisely what it is paying for. This document describes the various supporting documentation requirements of the University.

  • All receiptsmust sufficiently detail the item(s) that were purchased.
  • All expenses must be adequately documented whether a receipt is required.
  • Receiptsare required for all expenses of $75 or more. Hotel/lodging expenses are an exception and must have receipts regardless of dollar amounts.
  • Meals charged to grants are required to have a detailed/itemized receipt no matter what amount.
  • A description of the good or service purchased/business purpose, date of purchase, and amount of expense must accompany all requests for reimbursement or payment.
  • Proof of Payment is required.
    • Lost receipts requirements:
      • A note acknowledging the receipt(s) was lost
      • Confirm reimbursement will not occur from another source
      • Description of the item(s) that were purchased, business purpose, date of occurrence, and amount of expense

To learn more about how to pay for Business Meals, please contact SSD Local Business Center at and the LBC Grant Specialist assigned to your accounts will get in touch with you within two business days.

Related links:

GEMS System Login Page:
GEMS Quick Start Guide: