An official guest is a person who has been invited to an OSU facility or function for a specific purpose that benefits the university’s mission. Official guests include, but are not limited to, candidates to fill positions, prospective students, visiting scientists, scholars, dignitaries, guest speakers, and advisory board members. A clear benefit to OSU must be documented when requesting payment of invited guest expenses.
When hosting, an employee spousal/partner meal is allowable when a job candidate or guest is accompanied by their spouse/partner. Employee spouse/partner meals are not normally reimbursable. The number of employees with accompanying spouse/partners should be reasonable for the occasion.
- Meal and refreshment costs should be reasonable for the occasion.
- Gratuities/tips - Reimbursement for a tip of up to 15% of the charge is allowable when hosting groups or guests. The 15% limit does not apply when the establishment adds a service charge for larger groups in lieu of gratuity. In this case, the amount of the service charge is not within the control of the customer. Tips or fees for alcoholic beverage service are not reimbursable. These costs need to be separated and included with alcoholic beverage purchase.
- Alcoholic beverages - Reimbursement of alcoholic beverages is not allowed on institutional funds. See your office manager for reimbursement from the OSU Foundation.
- Official guests hosted at an employee’s home - The employee can request reimbursement for food and supplies purchased for the function. The Personal Reimbursement form must include an itemized sales slip of the items purchased, a list of attendees, and a clear statement of the business purpose. Alcoholic beverages are not reimbursable.
- Employee spouse/partner meals - Allowable when a job candidate or guest is accompanied by their spouse/partner. Employee spouse/partner meals are normally not reimbursable and the number should be reasonable for the occasion.
Personal Reimbursement Form
Fill out the Personal Reimbursement Form. Include the dates, names of the individuals hosted, location, and purpose of the event. Attach event flyer if applicable.
Itemized Receipts Required
Meals, gratuities, and alcoholic beverages for official guests must be separately itemized on the receipt. A “tear tag” showing only the total charges is not adequate. The employee should insist on an itemized receipt. If the restaurant will be sending a bill, the employee must still turn in the supporting documentation to the Travel Specialist.
Reimbursement with university funds for the cost of alcoholic beverages is not allowed. If alcoholic beverages are part of a meal when hosting an official guest, a separate itemized receipt should be obtained from the restaurant. Alcoholic beverages can then be paid for directly from outside agency (OSU Foundation) or personal funds. The only exceptions to this rule are:
- if the cost is charged to a grant, or contract fund and is expressly authorized by the terms of the grant, or contract; or
- if the full cost of the alcoholic beverages is recovered through charges to the participants or paid by an off-campus group, usually using a workshop index.