Does the government pay for the contractors conference registration fee if the government is inviting the contractor to the conference?
As a general rule the government does not pay the costs incurred by contractor personnel while in attendance at commercial or government sponsored symposia or conferences. In the case where a contractor decides to send people to a conference and it is not required by any of his government contracts he would pay the costs and charge these expenses to his general and administrative overhead account.
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However, if attendance of contractor personnel is required and approved in the performance of a government contract, the contractor will be reimbursed for the costs in accordance with the terms and conditions of the contract and the following FAR guidance:
31.205-43 -- Trade, Business, Technical and Professional Activity Costs.
31.205-44 -- Training and Education Costs.
31.205-46 -- Travel Costs.