How can you keep employees out on the road without busting the company’s travel budget? You can get more bang for your travel buck if you use the federal government’s per diem rates.
With per diems, you pay employees a predetermined flat, daily amount for their hotel, meal and incidental expenses, instead of reimbursing them for the full cost. The General Services Administration (GSA) just released the fed’s 2015 per diem rates, effective Oct. 1, 2015. However, you can continue to use the 2014 rates through the end of the year.
TAX RULES: If your per diems don’t exceed the fed’s rates, reimbursements to employees are tax-free. For per diems exceeding the fed’s, only the excess is taxable.
No receipts: Since you already know what employees can spend, they don’t need receipts for expenses the per diems cover. However, they must still document the time, place and business purpose of their trips, and submit receipts for expenses the per diems don’t cover.
Go mobile: Several mobile apps are available that allow employees to store and organize receipts electronically, thus cutting down on dreaded paperwork chores.