Reimbursement is limited to the actual cost of lodging expense supported by itemized receipts. Reimbursement for lodging within a 50 mile radius of a person's home office, residence, or headquarters is not allowable. For exceptions, see "retreats and campus workshops faculty and staff".Employees traveling overnight are responsible for ensuring the most reasonable lodging rates are obtained. To accomplish this, employees should:
- Make reservations in advance, whenever practical,
- Utilize minimum rate accommodations,
- Avoid “deluxe” hotels; and
- Obtain corporate/government rates, whenever possible.
The State Accounting Office prohibits the use of domestic lodging in any private residence including AirBNB and/or VRBO (or similar services) as a lodging option even when it presents cost savings, and regardless of the funding source. Only employees who are on international travel status are exempt from this policy.
Employees who stay at a hotel that is holding a scheduled meeting or seminar may incur lodging expenses that exceed the rates generally considered reasonable. The higher cost may be justified in order to avoid excessive transportation costs between a lower cost hotel and the location of the meeting.
When a room is shared with other state employees on travel status, and there is an incremental cost related to the extra traveler, reimbursement will be calculated on a pro rata share of the total cost and must be claimed separately by each employee. Each traveler's (if both are GT employees) Expense Report in the TechWorks Employee Travel & Expense System should indicate the name of the traveler with whom the room was shared and the project number of the other traveler’s TES. If the incremental cost for additional persons is not significant, one employee can claim the entire room expense.
Hotel Excise Tax Exemption
Employees traveling within the State of Georgia on official business are exempt from county or municipal excise tax on lodging in accordance with Section 48-13-51(a)(1)(C)(ii) of the Official Code of Georgia.
This excise tax, which may be referred to as the "Occupancy Tax," may range from 5% to as much as 8%. This tax is not applicable to state employees when lodging is paid directly by the employees through a personal credit card, cash, or check, as well as when the lodging is paid directly by the state or local government through direct-bill or a state credit card.
Employees are required to submit a copy of the tax-exempt form when they register at a hotel: State of Georgia Hotel Tax Exempt Form. This exemption does not apply to employees staying at an out-of-state hotel/motel. Employees should be able to provide proper identification to document their employment as a state or local government employee.
Employees should be sure to present the tax-exempt form to the hotel at check-in. If the hotel refuses to accept the tax-exempt form at check-in, the employee should attempt to resolve the issue with hotel management before checking out at the end of their stay. If the matter is not resolved by the time the employee checks out, the employee should pay the tax. The employee should explain the payment of the tax as an unusual expense on their travel expense statement.
Georgia Tech is authorized to reimburse the employee for the hotel tax if the employee provides the Institution with the following information: employee name: date(s) of lodging; name, address, and telephone number of hotel, and documentation from the hotel of their refusal to omit the appropriate excise tax. Accounts Payable will forward this information to the State Accounting Office or by regular mail to 200 Piedmont Avenue, Suite 1604 West Tower, Atlanta, GA 30334.
Georgia’s “Green Hotels” Program
The Georgia Department of Natural Resources has developed a program to identify and certify lodging properties that are taking significant steps to reduce their demands on Georgia’s natural resources and to act as good corporate citizens. These certified “Green Hotels” meet a stringent standard for environmental stewardship and operational efficiency. By using less toxic cleaning and maintenance chemicals, these hotels provide healthier conditions for guests and employees.
When traveling on state business and hosting meetings, state employees are encouraged to explore opportunities to support these properties where cost-competitive. The current list of certified properties is available here.
Payment for hotel accommodations will be made after the trip in the form of reimbursement to the traveler as requested on an expense report in the TechWorks Employee Travel & Expense System.
Claims for reimbursement should be reported by date, hotel name and amount for each day of lodging claimed. Lodging cannot be lumped together for a date range.
Claims for reimbursement must be documented by a "paid" copy of the bill. Credit card receipts or canceled checks are not acceptable receipts. A travel advance can be obtained through GTRC for all lodging pre-paid by an employee.