New York State reimburses employees for overnight lodging and meals based on an allowance established by the General Service Administration (GSA) for travel within the continental US (CONUS) and by the Department of State for travel outside the continental US (OCONUS). By adhering to these allowances, reimbursements for meals and lodging are not taxable to the employee.
The maximum allowances for travel are updated in SFS each year to coincide with CONUS rate changes. These changes generally take effect October 1 for rate increases, and November 1 for rate decreases. If there is a change in CONUS rates during the year the SFS system will be updated to reflect the new rates. Changes to the OCONUS rate take effect on the first day of the month and may occur during any month throughout the year. Since rates for travel to locations outside the continental United States are updated frequently and New York State business travel to these locations is infrequent, the maximum allowances will only be updated yearly.
Process and Document Preparation:
New York State has accepted the GSA rates set for travel. Rates are available by Federal Fiscal year which begins on October 1 of each year. These rates are found at http://www.gsa.gov/portal/category/104711. Users can change the fiscal year to identify approved rates for prior periods.
The Department of State updates OCONUS rates on the first of each month, these rates can be found at https://aoprals.state.gov/web920/per_diem_action.asp?MenuHide=1&CountryCode=0000.
The site allows individuals to search by foreign location for per diems for prior periods. Since maximum rates for travel to locations outside the continental United States will only be updated in SFS annually, it is the Business Unit’s responsibility to develop controls that provide reasonable assurance travelers traveling outside the United States use the correct per diem rate for location and the dates of their travel.