majority of companies assist transferees with the cost of meals during San Diego relocation. The two primary policy components which typically cover
meals are the home finding trip(s) and the final trip to the destination
Previously, meals were often covered during temporary housing as well. However, with extended temporary housing periods due to the housing market, some companies are removing meal coverage during this period as a cost control measure. For companies still opting to assist with meal costs during temporary housing, it is typically only if kitchen facilities are not available in the housing accommodations. Additionally, the cost of lunches are not included in the meal calculation during the temporary housing period, resulting in a lower per diem or cap compared to the home finding trip or final trip.
When covering meals, companies typically provide one of the following:
- A per diem- Control costs with a daily, flat amount provided. Receipts are not required.
- Cap- Control costs with a daily cap. Receipts are required.
- Receipts- No cost restriction.
- Allowances- Lump sum or miscellaneous allowances. Receipts are not required.
When covering the cost of meals, SIRVA suggests providing a meal per diem versus reimbursement of expenses from receipts. This method eliminates determining what is considered a "reasonable" cost for IRS purposes and eliminates the hassle of obtaining, retaining, submitting and auditing meal expenses.
Based on SIRVA’s policy database, if a Lump Sum or Miscellaneous Allowance is not used, the most popular method for assisting with meal expenses is a per diem.
If the company is controlling costs with a per diem or a cap, the most common amounts are $30 or $35 per day per person. To keep up with standard cost of living increases, SIRVA recommends the following per diems:
- $40 per family member, ages 13 and older, and
- $20 per family member, ages 12 and younger
Typically children’s meal per diems or caps are one-half of the adult amounts.
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