A Microsoft Word version of this letter is available for download and PRINTING.
September 19, 2011
TO THE ADMINISTRATOR ADDRESSED:
SUBJECT: Current Mileage and Travel Reimbursement Rates
The Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts has changed the standard per diem travel rates for lodging and meals for cities and counties not specifically listed in the federal Domestic Maximum Per Diem Rates. The standard rates, effective until September 30, 2012, are up to $77 per night for lodging and up to $46 per day for meals. The automobile mileage reimbursement rate, which became effective July 1, 2011, remains at 55.5 cents per mile. Mileage and travel reimbursement rates are subject to change at any time.
For ease of reference, this letter describes how to find current and updated reimbursement rates on the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts website. The mileage, lodging, and meal reimbursement rates published by the Comptroller apply to all grants funded by the Texas Education Agency (TEA) for individuals on travel status.
For more detailed information regarding allowable travel expenses, consult the Texas State Comptroller’s website, at http://window.state.tx.us. Follow these steps to locate information on the Comptroller’s site regarding per diem rates for lodging and meals for specific cities or counties:
See the attached guidelines for more information. With questions, please contact the Division of Grants Administration at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cory Green, Chief Grants Administrator
Summary of Current Texas Travel Reimbursement Guidelines
Mileage, lodging, and meal reimbursement rates published by the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts apply to all grants funded by the Texas Education Agency (TEA) for individuals on travel status.
No change has been made to the following guidelines, restated here for ease of reference:
As of September 1, 2009, the Texas Mileage Guide is no longer used to calculate mileage. Travelers are required to calculate mileage by one of the following two methods:
Travelers are required to select the shortest and most economical route but may justify the selection of another route if it was chosen for safety reasons and specific justification of the selection is given.
To assist employees in documenting their travel, some districts have developed mileage charts listing the distance between various duty points within the district. Such a chart should be developed in accordance with local policy and must be based on one of the two approved methods of mileage calculation (odometer reading or electronic mapping source). Travelers whose districts have developed such a chart are not required to calculate their mileage by either the odometer reading or electronic mapping source method; reference to the district’s mileage chart is sufficient.
Meals and Lodging
If local policy restricts travel, per diem, and other travel expenses to a rate less than state law, the applicant must budget and request reimbursement from the grant at the lesser rate.
If local policy exceeds the maximum recovery rate specified in the Appropriations Bill, then the difference must be paid from state or local funds, i.e., not from grant funds.
Travel allowances, in which the per diem is paid to the employee regardless of the amount actually expended, are not allowable.
In-State and Out-of-State Travel
Follow these steps to access meal and lodging reimbursement information and rates through the Texas State Comptroller’s website at http://window.state.tx.us.
In-State Day Trips
“Designated headquarters” is defined as the area within the boundaries of the city or town in which a traveler’s place of employment is located. Travel must take the employee outside designated headquarters for more than six consecutive hours; the cost of meals for travel lasting less than six consecutive hours is not allowable to be charged to the grant.
For both in-state and out-of-state travel, the traveler may apply funds available for meal reimbursement (i.e., up to the rate specified in the Federal Rate Schedule or $46, depending on whether the destination is specified in the Federal Rate Schedule) toward lodging. For instance, if the traveler chooses for the sake of convenience to stay in a hotel that costs $10 more a night than the allowable maximum for lodging, the traveler can apply $10 of the maximum available for meal reimbursement toward the lodging rate. If the traveler chooses to apply meal reimbursement to lodging, the maximum meal reimbursement rate is reduced by the same amount (applying $10 of the meal reimbursement to lodging would reduce the meal reimbursement by $10). NOTE: The opposite case does not apply; that is, a traveler may not reduce the amount spent on lodging and increase the amount spent on meals. Under no circumstances may a traveler be reimbursed from grant funds for meals at a rate that exceeds the rate given on the Federal Rate Schedule (or $46, depending on whether the destination is specified in the Federal Rate Schedule).
Travel costs that are not supported by proper documentation as described above are not allowable to be charged to TEA grants and are subject to disallowance by state and federal auditors and monitors.
If you have any questions about these travel reimbursement rates that apply to all TEA grants, please contact the Division of Grants Administration at email@example.com.
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