Do You Claim Tips on Travel Expense Reports?

by Robert Lee; Updated September 26, 2017

Most companies and organizations allow for tips to be included on travel expense reports, and you should claim them using company guidelines. Travel for business often requires using the services of hotel room attendants, waiters, taxi drivers, baggage handlers and others. It is standard business etiquette to provide a reasonable tip for most service workers, with the tips then reimbursed by your company or organization.

Company Policies

People traveling on official business for a company or organization should carefully check the travel expense guidelines before leaving for a trip. Some organizations may specify how much can be spent on tips and for what purpose. For example, the University of Georgia allows employees to tip service workers related to meals, transportation and hotels--with one exception. The university will reimburse employees for tipping waiters, taxi drivers and baggage handlers, but will not reimburse tips paid to a hotel housekeeper. Fairleigh Dickinson University allows for room service tips only if the university representative is able to document the charge as necessary to entertain business guests, such as in a meeting room.

Specific Guidelines

There are generally accepted standards for how much to tip, but organizations may have their own specific policies. Employees who list tips that exceed company guidelines may have their expense reports rejected or they may be asked to justify the additional tip. A note of explanation should be included by the employee when the expense report is submitted if the tip is unusually large or beyond the published guidelines.

Documenting Tips

Tips documented on receipts are ideal for expense reporting purposes. For example, a signed charge slip from a restaurant or cab driver can display the amount you were charged for the service and the gratuity. However, other tips cannot be documented. Organizations expect employees to honestly report cash tips given to baggage handlers, valet parking attendants and others.

When To Tip

Generally, you should always tip when the gratuity is eligible for reimbursement. MSNBC recommends tipping even when the service is bad. In situations like that, you should tip less than the standard amount allowed by your organization and then speak to a manager about the qualify of service, according to MSNBC.

Standard Tipping Guidelines

Check your company guidelines for any specific regulations on how much to tip. MSNBC says you should generally tip 15 percent of the total at a restaurant, $1 or $2 for each bag handled by a baggage handler, and 10 percent of the fare for a taxi driver.

About the Author

Robert Lee has been an entrepreneur and writer with a background in starting small businesses since 1974. He has written for various websites and for several daily and community newspapers on a wide variety of topics, including business, the Internet economy and more. He studied English in college and earned a Bachelor of Arts in liberal arts from Governor's State University.