I am responsible for planning and conducting meetings for state employees from all over my state.
I kind of have a standard way I've done this for years: When attendees are coming from distances > 100 miles (which happens fairly often) I try to plan the meeting from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and have lunch delivered (usually sandwiches or pizza) so the meeting can continue through the working lunch.
This way most attendees from most parts of the state can attend the meeting without costing their employer an overnight hotel bill. All but those the furthest away (or in really bad weather that impairs travel) can usually leave in the morning and be back home the same evening.
Now I'm getting complaints from meeting participants that they get taxed for the lunch when I schedule it this way. They say they'd rather have the meeting start at 8 a.m so they have to come the night before and stay in a hotel the night before the meeting, because that way they won't be personally taxed for the meal as income.
Well, maybe not, but the state would wind up paying a lot more hotel bills that way, which doesn't make a lot of sense to me, and then the state Agency would also need to pay for their employee's dinner the night before and breakfast morning of the meeting.
Overall, this seems like a waste of taxpayer dollars.
Is there any way to hold these meetings (with a working lunch, mid-day) in a way that the state employees attending the meeting don't wind up getting taxed for the meal?