Food and Refreshments

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  1. If we have a contract with a conference planner, can the conference planner arrange for the provision of food at our conference and charge, collect, and retain a fee for the provision of the food? 

Yes.  A contractor may retain fees it receives from conference attendees for goods and services it provides to the attendees, such as meals, lodging, and refreshments, provided it is not directed to do so by the Department.  The fee is called a “personal convenience fee,” and is an expense the attendee is voluntarily paying in order to obtain services that the Department does not consider an integral part of the conference.  The fee is collected by the contractor, on his or her own behalf, not on behalf of the government.  If you have an existing contract with a conference planner, this component of the contract must be “no-cost.”  A no-cost contract is one where the contractor makes its money off fees the contractor collects and the government is not responsible for any costs.  You should work with your contracting officer to execute this.