Monday, August 15, 2016

GSA Released Per Diem Rates for Fiscal Year 2017

The General Services Administration (GSA) has just released Government per diem rates for fiscal year 2017. As most Government contractors are aware, travel costs charged to Government contracts are considered reasonable and allowable only if they do not exceed the maximum rates in the JTRs (Joint Travel Regulations) and the FTRs (Federal Travel Regulations). FAR 31.205-46 contains provision whereby higher rates may be claimed but those rates must be justified and contemporaneously documented. Most contractors try to avoid the extra Government scrutiny that comes with claiming lodging and meals that exceed the GSA maximums.

The basic per diem rate is $142 per day broken down between lodging at $91 and meals and incidental expenses at $51. This rate represents a nominal increase from the current $140 per day and applies to about 2,600 locations throughout the lower 48. However, those 2,600 locations are not places where contractors are likely to travel. The preponderance of contractor travel is to the 400 or so locations that justify higher rates based on higher cost of lodging and meals. These 400 locations include all of the major U.S. cities.

Most of the cities have different rates depending upon the time of the year. For example, the lodging rate for San Francisco ranges from $172 per night to $242 per night, depending upon month, while New York ranges from $168 to $301.

Fiscal Year 2017 is a bit unusual in that lodging rates have dropped from fiscal year 2016 in many instances. For example, October in New York dropped from $306 per night to $301 per night.  So contractors need to adjust the travel policies to ensure they don't incur excess lodging costs when the new rates go into effect. We know of a case a few years back where contract auditors (not the DCAA) cited a contractor for a system deficiency when it implemented a per diem reduction one month late.

All of the fiscal year 2017 per diem rates are now available. Click here and follow the instructions.

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