Sign In
  • Question

    Can we utilize the Government Purchase Card for payment?


    Answer

    According to the DoD Government Charge Card Guide, the purchase of food and meals is prohibited.  However, if an agency determines that a reception with “light” refreshments (no meals), as provided in the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Federal Personnel Manual, would materially enhance the effectiveness of an awards ceremony conducted under authority of the Government Employees’ Incentive Awards Act,15 the cost of those refreshments may be considered a necessary expense for the purposes of the Act. Written coordination with local legal counsel and the Financial/Resource Manager is required prior to purchase of any such refreshments. Additional information regarding acceptable food purchases is available on the GAO website at http://www.gao.gov/special.pubs/appforum2005/approfunds/. 
     
    The Army Fiscal Law Deskbook, Chapter 2, Section IX (Typical Questionable Expenses) is another excellent resource.  Generally, providing free food for government employees is prohibited.  The free food rule applies to snacks and refreshments as well as meals. (See 68 Comp. Gen. 46, 48 (1988); 42 Comp. Gen. 149, 151 (1962); B-140912, Nov 24, 1959).The Deskbook discusses two exceptions to the general prohibition to providing free food to government employees at their official duty stations. These exceptions are derived from the Government Employees Training Act, 5 USC 4109.  The first is the training exception and the other exception is referred to as the "formal meetings and conferences" exception.  The Deskbook goes in-depth about each one of these exceptions. 
     
    That being said, Air Force Instruction (AFI) 52-105, Chaplain Corps Resourcing, refers to "faith group required supplies such as communion hosts, grape juice, and wine required to perform religious worship services" as a direct mission requirement funded with APF funds.
     
    I would recommend discussing this purchase with the A-OPC to determine whether an exception applies, and then obtaining written concurrence from your legal counsel and Financial Manager before proceeding with the purchase using GPC.

    Open full Question Details