Meal Expense Maximums for Meetings and Entertainment

Medical School Building

The maximum amount per person that can be reimbursed for allowable meeting and entertainment occasions varies depending on the meal:

Meal Maximums per Person

Meal type

Maximum per person

Breakfast

$27

Lunch

$47

Dinner

$81

Light refreshment

$19

Current maximums come from UC Policy BUS-79 and were updated effective March 1, 2016

Per-person meal expense is for an entire event and:

  • Includes: Pre-meal items (e.g., beverages and hors d'oeuvres), meal, labor, sales tax, delivery charges, and other service fees.
  • Doesn't include: Room rental and setup fees, media rental fees, decorations, and other non-meal expenses.

The host is required to provide receipts for departmental review. The receipts must identify both food and beverage charges.

Frequency Limits

UCI does not pay or reimburse frequent or routine expenditures for meals or light refreshments for employees as they're considered taxable income by the IRS.

For meetings and entertainment events, limit:
  • Meals to once per month, per group
  • Light refreshments to twice per month, per group

Tax Implications for Meal Expenses

A meal or entertainment expense is taxable income if:

  • The activity is not directly related to the employee's job
  • The expense if lavish or extravagant under the circumstances
  • The official host (or other designated employee) is not present when the activity takes place
  • The expense of $75 or more per occasion must be supported by original itemized receipts or acceptable electronic receipts
  • It is deemed the employee did not adequately account to UCI for these expenses within a reasonable period of time