Fall 2021 Guidance/COVID-19 Information

Food Type Payments

Reimbursement or Payment for Food/Beverages – N.Y.S. Requirements

Under certain circumstances, cost of food and beverages can be considered an appropriate N.Y.S. expenditure (applies equally to R.F. funds). The following guidelines are intended to clarify those circumstances and limitations.

It is important to note that N.Y.S. has issued no formal guidelines as to appropriate expenses; rather each incident is audited on a case-by-case basis. Under flexibility extended to agencies, local practices should be consistent and defensible, reflecting the spirit of occasional SUNY and N.Y.S. audit comments and perceptions of appropriate use of public funds. Generally, purchases that are considered to be or have the appearance of being improper should be avoided. 

Sales tax is not reimbursable.  A tax exempt form should be provided to the vendor at time of purchase.

Three general guidelines apply:

  1. Under no circumstances is the cost of alcoholic beverages acceptable.
  2. Normally N.Y.S. employees are not to be recipients of food/beverages, such costs are considered to be a usual personal responsibility. Certain circumstances, noted below, are acceptable.
  3. Non-travel status food/beverage must be relatable to official business and vital to the attainment of the business purpose. Therefore, purely or primarily social or courtesy events are not considered appropriate State expenditures (this would include birthday, retirement, and promotion receptions).


Allowable Costs

1. Official Business Travel Status

Reimbursement for food costs in accordance with standard reimbursement rates is acceptable; reimbursed via travel reimbursement voucher (see Travel Guidelines).


(Candidate, consultant, student acting in an official administrative capacity) food expenses are paid by Standard Voucher.

2. Meal Allowances

Per the President's Cabinet, the allowable rates for candidate-related meal expenses are as follows:

  • Breakfast: $ 6
  • Lunch: $10
  • Dinner: $24

Exceptions to this policy apply to searches for members of the President's Council or at the discretion of the appropriate vice president.

3. Formal Official Business Settings

Food/beverages supporting a formal official business setting (conference, workshop, training session), evidenced by a formal program agenda, statement of purpose, listing of participants; the food/beverages must serve a demonstrably essential/important ingredient for success, not merely a hospitality enhancement; a working lunch session which could not have been scheduled differently nor individually paid could be acceptable if justified.

4. Participant Fees

Food/beverage/hospitality supported by participant fees (typically within a conference registration fee), evidenced by a formal program/agenda, state of purpose, listing of participants.

Unallowable Costs

  1. Alcoholic beverages
  2. Food/beverage provided in a largely social unstructured setting, such as reception, parties, gatherings which do not serve a clear official business purpose.
  3. Food/beverages provided as incidental to normal meetings (staff meetings, committee meetings, etc.) on which the success of the meeting does not depend. Typically involving predominantly employees, the food/beverage serve no essential purpose, therefore, the costs of which should not be borne by State funds.

Employee Reimbursement for Food-Type Expenses

(Not Travel Related)

Occasionally employees of the College incur expenses for food/beverages that they pay with their own funds while conducting legitimate College business.

Employee food reimbursement claims should be submitted to the Accounts Payable Department using a Standard Voucher (PDF). Questions regarding use of the Standard Voucher may be directed to Kristi Hughston at Ext. 2582.

Food-type expenses must be justified (serve a business purpose) and be reasonable. The employee should submit copies of invoices, receipts, cancelled checks, and/or credit card statements along with information about the event or items. A list of attendees and their status may be required. The above-mentioned guidelines apply.