Justification for Actual Expenses for OGC October 2006 TC/PC Meetings

Background:

The Federal PerDiem rate for Tyson’s Corner, Virginia during the time of the TC/PC is $166 for Lodging and $64 for M&IE.   Room Rates which have been negotiated with the Sheraton Premier are $209 per night.  Sheraton Premier is also the Meeting Facility.  Meeting Room availability is tied to number of Room Nights utilized by Meeting Attendees.  All of the Technical Committee Meetings and associated functions including, Continental Breakfast, Breaks, and Reception are in the Sheraton Premier Facility.   

The Federal Travel Regulations authorize designated agency officials to approve actual expenses in certain situations up to 300% of the maximum applicable per diem rate.  The FTR allows for authorization of actual expenses when lodging and or meals are procured at a prearranged place such as a hotel where a meeting, conference or training session is held.

Justification:

In this case since the prearranged location for all of the OGC activities is the Sheraton Premier Conference Center with a negotiated room rate below the normal room rate, authorization of actual expenses may be allowed.  Each traveler will need authorization, from their agency, or an agency can give blanket authorization for its employees who are attending the meeting.  Approval for actual expenses must be obtained prior to travel.  

The primary justification is the fact that the Meeting facility is the Sheraton Premier.  Additional justification includes:

Costs are reduced by OGC and its sponsors providing continental breakfast and breaks on most days to meeting attendees
Sheraton Premier facility eliminates the need for a rental car thus saving substantially on daily costs.  Car rentals for Washington Metro during that period generally range from $68 - $93 per day.  

Applicable section of the FTR:

Subpart D—Actual Expense

 

§301-11.300  When is actual expense reimbursement warranted?
When:

(a) Lodging and/or meals are procured at a prearranged place such as a hotel where a meeting, conference or training session is held;
(b) Costs have escalated because of special events (e.g., missile launching periods, sporting events, World’s Fair, conventions, natural disasters); lodging and meal expenses within prescribed allowances cannot be obtained nearby; and costs to commute to/from the nearby location consume most or all of the savings achieved from occupying less expensive lodging;
(c) Because of mission requirements; or
(d) Any other reason approved within your agency.

§301-11.301  Who in my agency can authorize/approve my request for actual expense?
Any official designated by the head of your agency.

§301-11.302  When should I request authorization for reimbursement under actual expense?
Request for authorization for reimbursement under actual expense should be made in advance of travel. However, subject to your agency’s policy, after the fact approvals may be granted when supported by an explanation acceptable to your agency.

§301-11.303  What is the maximum amount that I may be reimbursed under actual expense?
The maximum amount that you may be reimbursed under actual expense is limited to 300 percent (rounded to the next higher dollar) of the applicable maximum per diem rate. However, subject to your agency’s policy, a lesser amount may be authorized.

§301-11.304  What if my expenses are less than the authorized amount?
When authorized actual expense and your expenses are less than the locality per diem rate or the authorized amount, reimbursement is limited to the expenses incurred.

§301-11.305  What if my actual expenses exceed the 300 percent ceiling?
Your reimbursement is limited to the 300 percent ceiling. There is no authority to exceed this ceiling.

§301-11.306  What expenses am I required to itemize under actual expense?
You must itemize all expenses, including meals, (each meal must be itemized separately) for which you will be reimbursed under actual expense. However, expenses that do not accrue daily (e.g., laundry, dry cleaning, etc.) may be averaged over the number of days your agency authorizes/approves actual expenses. Receipts are required for lodging, regardless of amount and any individual meal when the cost exceeds $75. Your agency may require receipts for other allowable per diem expenses, but it must inform you of this requirement in advance of travel. When your agency limits M&IE reimbursement to either the prescribed maximum M&IE rate for the locality concerned or a reduced M&IE rate, it may or may not require M&IE itemization at its discretion.

** source - GSA.gov.