The annual update of the federal per diem rates by the General Services Administration (GSA) occurred on Oct. 1. The State of Arkansas uses those amounts as a maximum amount of actual expenses to be reimbursed for meals and lodging.
The maximum standard rate for lodging will increase to $94 per day for all locations within the State without specified rates. GSA is now including Little Rock in with the standard rates which will result in that rate decreasing from $96 to $94. Hot Springs (Garland County) will increase to $105.
The rate for meals and tips increased to $55 per day while traveling in state and $61 per day if traveling to Hot Springs (Garland County). Meal and tip reimbursement is allowed only in connection with overnight travel, whether in state or out of state, unless “special authorization” under ACA 19-4-903 is given in writing on a Special Meeting Form per UA Little Rock Official Functions Policy #205.1.
When auditing travel reimbursements, UA Little Rock must audit the amounts charged for hotel rooms. Even if the hotel room was paid for by a travel card, the receipt has to be included with the TR-1. The amount is checked against the maximum allowed by the State, and if it exceeds that, the travel accountant will look at the travel authorization (TA) document for the pre-approval and justification for exceeding that amount.
Those justifications are occasionally reviewed by Legislative Audit. It would be unacceptable to an auditor if only a signature approving the hotel rate is included; some justification must be provided. Therefore, when approving the rate to exceed the amount allowed by the State, please provide a signature and justification. An example of acceptable justification is “Conference Hotel” or “Other hotels in area were booked up.”
Finally, we encourage employees to visit our Travel website for helpful travel related information.