Travel Reimbursement

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Overview

Travel Reimbursement Request forms are used for the reimbursement of travel expenses of employees, students, and non-employees. A travel reimbursement cannot be filed before the trip is completed and should be filed in a reasonable period of time. The IRS defines reasonable as within 60 days. If the trip is exceptionally lengthy, interim filings may be permitted.

Travel reimbursements on grant funds must be submitted within 3 months of completing the trip.  If it is not submitted within this time frame, Sponsored Projects Services (SPS) must approve before payment is made.  It must be sent to SPS with an explanation for the lateness.

There are 3 signatures required on a Travel Reimbursement form.

Traveler: The traveler must sign in the claimant's signature box and should be an original signature.  Another individual cannot sign for the traveler. When it is difficult to obtain an original signature, a faxed or scanned signature that is readable, is acceptable for payment processing.  We do not accept electronic signatures.

Certifier Approval: If you are in training, this box is signed by the Travel Office.  If you have been travel certified, you are required to sign in this box.

Department Approval: This box must be signed by someone in the department who is authorized to sign on the index being used.  This is done via the UO Department Signature Authorization Form. Travelers cannot sign as department approval for their own travel.

If the traveler does not want to claim the maximum allowable rates, the reimbursement must state "claiming only".

One person can claim expenses for another person and be reimbursed. They must have proof that they paid the expense in order to be reimbursed.

When combining personal travel with UO business travel, payment will be based on the least expensive and reasonable means of transportation, and the meal and lodging per diem to which the traveler would have been entitled to while traveling on official business. This is generally one day before and one day after the dates of the conference/meeting. No payment will be made for vacation days. Expenses associated with an employee's family and friends that travel with the traveler, are not reimbursable. Sight seeing costs are also considered a personal expense and will not be reimbursed. An airfare quote is required.

Incidental expenses have already been figured into the meal per diem and are not reimbursed as separate expenses. The term "incidental expenses" includes laundry, cleaning and pressing of clothing and tips and gratuities.

Travel Paid By Outside Source

Outside agency requests – when an outside agency requests a representative from your department to deliver a presentation, your department staff will be proactive in asking the requesting agency to make the travel arrangements in advance of the presentation date.  In a situation where the requesting agency cannot make the travel arrangements in advance of the presentation date due to time constraints, and the meeting and/or presentation would not occur if your department did not make the travel arrangements in advance, it is reasonable for your department staff to make the travel arrangements and bill the requesting agency for reimbursement of the travel expenses.  These types of situations will hopefully be unusual and infrequent in nature, and should be treated as exceptions.  When expenses are pre-paid, the account code should be A3103, Misc A/R. Money received should be deposited to A3103 to clear the receivable. The preferred method of pursuing reimbursement  for an exception would be to ask the requesting agency to email or fax a Purchase Order to your department and then invoice the requesting agency for reimbursement of the travel expenses.  Please see the OUS policy below:

I. Travel Paid by Outside Source

“Outside entities may reimburse the campus, pay a service provider directly, or reimburse an employee for travel expenses related to OUS business. If the service provider is paid directly, or if reimbursement is made to an employee, documentation should be maintained in the campus travel records. Documentation should include the traveler's name, identity of the outside source, travel destination, travel dates and OUS business purpose. If reimbursement is made to the campus, it should be accounted for as a reduction of expense.
When a travel reimbursement payment is made by the foundation, it must be reported by the foundation to the president annually as required by OAR 580-46-035(6)(d).”
http://www.ous.edu/dept/cont-div/fpm/trav-95-100#.230

Business Purpose

All Travel Reimbursements/Payments must include a business purpose. The business purpose should be descriptive enough to clearly answer any questions regarding who traveled, the necessity of their travel, and the benefit to UO. IRS defines purpose as "Business purpose for the expense or the business benefit gained or expected to be gained". Please spell out any acronyms.  Add any details deemed important to explain circumstances.

Travelers who are on extended research trips should provide a daily log to document a business purpose for all days.  The log should include dates, name(s) of the organization(s) involved; names and positions of individuals visited/consulted; places, monuments, or institutions visited; or other descriptions as appropriate.  A description of the activity should be specific and mention for example, the research topic, paper title, etc., as appropriate.


Inadequate Descriptions:

  • Attend Conference
  • Research
  • Book Research
  • Collaboration
  • Meet with Colleagues
  • Site Visits
  • Give a lecture
  • Speaker

Adequate business purpose descriptions with additional notes to offer supporting details:

  • Attend and present at the Gatlinburg Conference on Research and Theory in Intellectual Disability. Conference is March 5-7 at Hotel Allegro in Chicago, IL. This is in support of xxx grant objectives.
  • Interview candidate for Human Physiology faculty position – Tenure Track Asst. Professor.
  • Travel to University of Washington to recruit students for graduate program in xxx department. Two personal days at end of trip.  Comparison airfare quote attached shows business only price is more than actual air expense.
  • Field trip to Mojave Desert to study vertebrate fossil sites. Research agenda attached.
  • Invited speaker, graduate program chair at Univ. of Wisconsin and author of “War on Feminine Terror”, presented a seminar on women’s and gender history to UO Women in Graduate Science (WGS) on March 3.
  • In state mileage for fall term to attend events, board meetings and town hall meetings, meet with alumni, conduct student recruitment, and meet with marketing representatives and UO colleagues to discuss recruitment efforts.  Specific trip details outlined in attached mileage log.
  • Traveler, a Family Intervention Specialist and principle on xxx grant, conducted training for Oakhurst School staff in Boston for behavioral interventions as part of the xxx grant requirements.  Stopover in Chicago two days prior for personal time.  Airfare comparison attached to show that the stopover resulted in a more expensive air ticket.  Traveler is requesting the “business only” portion.
  • Travel to research book project regarding Slavic Linguistics.  Reviewed museum documents on 10/1-3, met with Prof. Ambrose at the UC Berkeley regarding his research Slavic Linguistics on 10/4, gave a lecture history on Slavic language in the US to the xxx class at Stanford University on 10/5, and participated in the Slavic Discovery workshop on 10/6.
  • Traveler was invited to be a judge for the Idaho District III Class A Division Concert Band Festival 4/18-19.  He then flew to Phoenix to attend a concert of a musical piece that the UO School of Music helped commission.  On 4/20-22 as part of the inaugural musical presentation, he met with Arizona State University composers and conductors to discuss the project, attended a reception with the musicians and the attended the concert.  See attached documentation regarding activities. 
  • Traveler attended director’s review of the LHC (Large Hadron Collider) ATLAS Detector Upgrade Project Meeting held at Brookhaven National Lab Jul 11-12.  Traveler rented a car as there is little public transportation to the lab and the closest hotel is 10 miles away.
  • Travel to Junior World Track Championships in Sacramento, Jun 10-12.   Traveled with three additional UO coaches, Coach A, Coach B and Asst. Coach C.  Rented car which was direct billed to department to attend athletic events and track functions located at various venues in Sacramento.  See attached schedule of events.

Meals

Meal and incidental expenses are reimbursed at per diem rates. Meal expenses may be reimbursed only if the traveler qualifies for lodging expense reimbursement and the meal has not been provided by the conference/meeting or hotel. If the traveler stays in a Bed & Breakfast, breakfast per diem would not be an allowable expense. Continental breakfast is not considered a meal. One day trips.

  • On the day the trip begins, the traveler is eligible for 100% of the per diem if the trip begins before 7am.
  • On the day the trip begins, the traveler is eligible for Lunch & Dinner if the trip begins between 7am and 12:59 pm.
  • On the day the trip begins, the traveler is eligible for dinner if the trip begins at 1pm or after.
  • On the day the trip concludes, the traveler is eligible for 100% of the per diem if the trip concludes at 6pm or after.
  • On the day the trip concludes, the traveler is eligible for Breakfast & Lunch if the trip concludes between 12 noon and 5:59pm.
  • On the day the trip concludes, the traveler is eligible for Breakfast if they return prior to 12 noon.
  • For the day the traveler returns from a trip, the per diem rate specified for the last location where the traveler stayed overnight is used.
  • When traveler is in more than 1 city per day, the meal per diem paid is for the city in which they spend the night.

Travel Reimbursement Rates for meals from Jan. 1, 2010 and after are shown below:

  Low Cities $52.00
  High Cities $65.00

Travel Reimbursement Rates for meals from Nov. 1, 2005 to Dec. 31, 2009 are shown below:

  Low Cities $45.00
  High Cities $58.00

The breakdown for specific meals is as follows:

  • 25% of the per diem for breakfast
  • 25% of the per diem for lunch
  • 50% of the per diem for dinner

Related Links:

There are two options for a traveler to be reimbursed for someone else's meals:

(1) The traveler may pay for the meals directly and provide receipts for the actual expense up to a maximum of the allowable per diem for the meal(s).
(2) The traveler may give the individual cash up to the allowable per diem. This is required to be documented by a signature sheet. The person that received the money has to sign the sheet and fill in the amount they received to make it valid.

A traveler may not claim per diem for someone else.

One day trips

The IRS considers breakfast and dinner allowances, figured on the basis of hours worked (such as those permitted below) to be taxable to the employee. If such breakfast and dinner allowances are paid, account code 28502 - Overtime Meal Allowance - must be used. Meals on one-day trips cannot be reimbursed to a non-employee.

When a traveler departs and returns the same day, meal expenses are reimbursed only in the following cases:

  • When an employee leaves their official station two or more hours before their regular work shift, they are eligible for breakfast per diem.
  • When an employee returns to their official station two or more hours after their regular work shift, they are eligible for dinner per diem.

Lunches on one day trips are reimbursed only in the following cases...

  • When traveling as an OUS Board member or unpaid member of an advisory committee.
  • When a meal at a convention, conference or meeting is part of the agenda and the cost of the meal has not previously been paid with the registration fee. Receipt and documentation required.
  • When directed or required to attend mealtime business meetings, including community or public relations meetings. Receipt and documentation required.
  • Trips by athletic teams and student groups. Receipt required.

Lodging

Lodging expenses are normally reimbursed when it is determined that the traveler would not reasonably be expected to return to his or her residence between work shifts. The maximum allowable lodging rate is generally the per diem rate plus tax when staying in commercial lodging facilities. Receipts are required.

Lodging tax should be listed as a miscellaneous expense unless an exception is made to pay actual at a conference/meeting hotel.  Tax should then be included in the daily amount listed in the itinerary section.  Lodging tax cannot be listed as a miscellaneous expense on foreign travel.

Reimbursement for all lodging expenses will be reimbursed at actual cost up to the current per diem rates. Original, itemized hotel receipts are required and must show the following:

  • Traveler's name (or names if reimbursement is being claimed for more than one University employee)
  • Date(s) occupied
  • Actual rate charged per room
  • Indication that the amount submitted for reimbursement has been paid in full

Exceptions to the current per diem limit (e.g. conferences) may be reimbursed at actual and reasonable cost with the appropriate documentation.

On a case by case basis, exceptions will be made for travel to remote or non-standard locations, both domestic and foreign. Please contact the BAO Travel Office for assistance.

When staying in non-commercial facilities (e.g. camping equipment, recreational vehicle or private home) the maximum per diem allowed is $25.00 per night.  No overnight lodging will be reimbursed if the traveler's home base is within 50 miles. Exceptions only with justification.

A traveler can be reimbursed for someone else's lodging if they have a receipt. They can be reimbursed up to the per diem amount or the actual if it's a conference/meeting. If the receipt is not in the traveler's name they will need to provide proof that they paid for the lodging. Lodging for another person should be listed in the other expenses section of the reimbursement.

Non-commercial Lodging per diem is $25.00

Travel Reimbursement Rates for Lodging from Jan. 1, 2014 and after are shown below:

                   Low Cities$118.00Plus Tax
 High Cities$186.00Plus Tax


 

 

Travel Reimbursement Rates for Lodging from Jan. 1, 2012 thru Dec. 31, 2013 are shown below:

                    Low Cities$111.00Plus Tax
 High Cities$177.00Plus Tax


 

 

Travel Reimbursement Rates for Lodging from Jan. 1, 2011 thru Dec. 31, 2011 are shown below:

                    Low Cities$108.00Plus Tax
 High Cities$168.00Plus Tax


 

 

Related Links:

Transportation

Airfare that is purchased from someone other than one of the contracted travel agencies can be reimbursed. This includes airfare purchased from any travel agency, directly from the airlines, or from an internet site. If a traveler purchases the ticket directly, they cannot be reimbursed until the trip is complete. Original receipt is required.

If the traveler is seeking reimbursement for airfare, the receipt must show traveler's (passenger) name - complete itinerary/dates of travel, ticket number and the payment information. The UO will not reimburse for tickets purchased using frequent flier miles, except for the fees associated with this type of ticket.

All employees are required to travel using routes, schedules and airlines that provide the lowest rates and most efficient travel. If the traveler is combining personal travel with business travel, a comparison airfare quote is required.

When traveling out of state for UO business and choosing to drive rather than fly, the cost of flying may be more economical than claiming mileage.  A comparison airfare quote should be obtained per comparison airfare quote policy (hyperlink:  http://ba.uoregon.edu/content/air-travel-when-to-get-a-comparison-air-fare-quote)   and printed at the time the travel is arranged and included with the travel reimbursement.  The traveler can be reimbursed for either the cost of flying (Airfare in Lieu of Mileage) or mileage, whichever is less. When comparing prices, speculative expenses like airline baggage fees or airport shuttles cannot be included in the comparison quote or claimed for reimbursement.    

When preparing the travel reimbursement, list “Airfare in Lieu of Mileage” in the Mileage section of the electronic form with an explanation.  An employee may be reimbursed for the following costs associated with air travel between his or her official station and destination:

  • The cost of round-trip commercial air fare that would have been incurred or mileage, whichever is less. Airfare quote must be provided with the reimbursement.
  • Private vehicle mileage to and from the air terminal that would normally be used for departure.
  • Lodging and meal expenses that the employee would normally incur with air travel.

When claiming Airfare in Lieu of Miles, additional expenses associated with the private vehicle cannot be claimed, i.e. parking and tolls. 

If you have a bona fide business purpose for driving a private vehicle out of state, document the reason with the travel reimbursement, e.g.  transport a large amount of equipment or driving to remote or multiple locations.

Private car mileage of 10 miles each way is allowed to and from the Eugene airport. If a family member has to take the traveler to the airport, a round trip of 20 miles can be claimed on the beginning and ending day of the trip.

Conferences/Meetings

Travel reimbursements must have a copy of the conference/meeting brochure, email, or letter of invitation attached showing the agenda, dates of the conference/meeting and what was included in the conference i.e. meals/banquets. In addition, the IRS states that the convention/conference/meeting agenda or program generally shows the purpose of the conference/meeting. This information shows that attendance at the conference/meeting benefits the individual's official duties and responsibilities of their position and helps document the travel expense. If this is not obvious, state the benefit or role. For more information see the Business Purpose Section.

Meal per diem may not be claimed if a meal is provided at a hosted function such as meals included in the conference registration fee.

Banquets or special meals served at conferences that are in excess of the per diem are an allowable expense. Documentation, such as the brochure or registration form, must be attached verifying the meal expense and a receipt showing it was paid.

The maximum allowable lodging cost is generally the per diem rate plus tax, receipts are required. Exceptions for conferences & meetings may be reimbursed at actual and reasonable cost with appropriate documentation such as a conference brochure that shows all of the following:

  • Assigned conference hotel(s)
  • Lodging rate assigned to the conference, and
  • Lodging receipt that shows the amount paid. 

Exceptions other than conferences or meetings should be rare. Lodging tax should be included in the daily total.

Most conference registration fees are paid in advance to the conference rather than being paid by the individual. However, if the fee is paid by the individual, they cannot be reimbursed until the travel is complete. At that time the conference registration fee may be included in the travel reimbursement. Documentation for registration fees include conference brochure and/or registration forms identifying the applicable costs and something that shows it was paid. Social/recreational activities associated with a business conference are usually not reimbursable or payable. If you think a social activity is applicable and should be reimbursed write a justification and submit it with the reimbursement. Use account code 28601 for registration fees.

Prospective Employees

Reimbursement is limited to travel for personal interview. Expenses need to be approved in advance. Contact the Provost or Vice President Office for your area. Travel expenses of a spouse are generally not allowed but may be approved in certain instances. Prior approval is required.

Sabbatical or Other Leave

As a general policy, the use of University funds for travel while an employee is on sabbatical or other types of leave, is warranted only in exceptional circumstances. If you are planning a trip while on sabbatical/leave you should seek your Dean's/Director's office approval and then the Vice Provost of Academic Affairs approval prior to the trip. The written request for approval must include the following:

  • Name of individual on leave.
  • Home department of faculty member.
  • Dates of travel
  • Destination
  • The circumstances justifying the expense from U of O funds and purpose of travel.
  • The source of funds (state, contract, grant, gift etc).
  • The benefit the U of O will get from this trip.
  • The estimate cost of the trip.

If the trip is approved, a copy of the approved letter must be attached to any payments or reimbursements that are submitted.

Sabbatical Travel Approval Request Form

CAS Sabbatical Policy

Miscellaneous

Necessary business related travel expenses are normally eligible for reimbursement. Personal expenses are not reimbursed.

Expenses normally eligible for reimbursement are as follows:

  • ATM cash advance fees and the cost of purchasing traveler's checks.
  • Visa and passport expenses when necessary for business travel.
  • Taxi/Limo/Shuttle fares are allowable but must be itemized by date and destination. Tips are not reimbursable.
    • Fares would not be reimbursable for a trip to a restaurant if suitable meals can be obtained at the business site. See definition of Incidental Expenses.
  • Airline baggage fees - one bag fee allowed at beginning & end of trip.
  • Bridge/ferry tolls and parking fees but must be itemized.
  • Phone calls are an allowable expense. Business calls are unlimited but must be itemized by date and who called. Personal calls are not allowed except one phone call home every other day to check in with family. These phone calls must also be itemized and have to be a reasonable amount and length of time.
  • Airfare change fees are reimbursed if the change was made for business reasons. Must be explained in the miscellaneous section and requires a receipt.
  • Emergency purchases of materials and supplies such as office supplies, copies, faxes, postage etc, but have to be itemized and are separated by account code 28994 in the lower accounting section because they are not considered a travel expense.
  • Collision Damage Waiver (CDW)/Loss Damage Waiver (LDW) on car rental.
  • Internet service is allowed at a reasonable cost to conduct UO business.

Expenses not reimbursed are as follows:

  • Home to office travel.
  • Deviations from the most direct and usually traveled route unless justified.
  • Expenses incurred because the traveler was accompanied by a spouse or family members.
  • Insurance on airfare.
  • Tips/gratuity.
  • Laundry.
  • Interest on personal credit cards.
  • Mileage reimbursement on rented vehicles.

Receipts

When a receipt is required it has to be the original. Copies will only be allowed in rare instances. Credit card receipts are very seldom acceptable for reimbursement since they normally do not describe the detail of the expense. Copies of the carbon copy of a check are also not acceptable. Small receipts should be taped (not stapled) to a larger piece of paper for imaging purposes. If a receipt is in a foreign language it is required that it not only be converted to US dollars, but translated to English also.

Receipts for airfare purchased through an internet website should have the following elements:

  • Passenger name
  • Complete itinerary
  • Ticket number
  • Payment information
More information about airfare receipts from the internet can be found at http://ba.uoregon.edu/content/air-travel-internet-airfare-purchasing

Original itemized hotel receipts are required and must show the following:

  • Traveler's name (or names if reimbursement is being claimed for more than one University employee)
  • Date(s) occupied
  • Actual rate charged per room
  • Indication that the amount submitted for reimbursement has been paid in full

Receipts are required for the following:

  • Airfare/Train/Bus (such as greyhound)
  • Banquet or conference meals over the per diem
  • Lodging
  • Conference Registration
  • Car Rental
  • Expenses for other people
  • Foreign transaction/currency exchange fees
  • Visa and Passport expenses
  • Expenses for supplies e.g. paper, books, film etc.
  • Museum admission fees when related to business
  • Film or Theatre admission fees when related to business
  • Airline Baggage fees $25.00 and over
  • Parking $25.00 and over
  • Phone Calls $25.00 and over per phone call
  • Miscellaneous travel expenses $25.00 and over
  • Taxi, City bus, Limos $75.00 and over

Receipts are not required for the following:

  • Meals claimed at per diem rates
  • Parking under $25.00
  • Phone calls under $25.00
  • Other miscellaneous travel expenses under $25.00
  • Taxi, City bus, Limos under $75.00

Account Codes

Account codes are based on the destination of the traveler, not where they departed from. If you are bringing a speaker into Eugene from DC, you would use account code 39445.

Travel Account Code Listing

Other appropriate account codes include 28635, Non-OUS Participant Support and 55105 or 55108, Student Aid Participant Support.

Reimbursements for travel with account code 55105 or 55108 - participant support, are paid as invoices in banner.  Answers to common questions about this process may be found at: http://ba.uoregon.edu/staff/business-expense-policies#Participant_SupportStipends_OUS_Students_

You can create a document trail by using the check request or disbursement request form  found on Accounts Payable forms tab: http://ba.uoregon.edu/staff/ap-invoice-payment

The participant support account code guidance document from SPS suggests using account code 55105 for post doc travel which is also paid as an invoice in banner.  http://orsa.uoregon.edu/index.cfm?toplevcat=awards&page=AW_28_Participant_Support

Definitions

In-State Travel

In-state travel is any travel between 2 points in Oregon or travel that originates in another state or country, with the destination being Oregon. Use account code 394xx.

Out-of-State Travel

Travel to or within the United States, but outside the state of Oregon. For determining reimbursement rates, travel to or within Alaska and Hawaii is considered non-foreign overseas travel. For determining account codes, travel to or within Alaska and Hawaii is considered out-of-state travel. Use account code 395xx.

Foreign Travel

Travel to or within foreign countries. For determining reimbursement rates, travel to or within Puerto Rico, the Northern Maiana Islands or U.S. Possessions is considered non-foreign overseas travel. For determining account codes, travel to or within Puerto Rico, the Northern Maiana Islands or U.S. Possession, use foreign travel account codes.

Non-Foreign Overseas Travel (Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and US Possessions)

Non-Foreign Overseas travel comprises travel to or within Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and US Possessions. When traveling to or within Alaska and Hawaii, use out-of-state travel account codes. When traveling to or within Puerto Rico. the Northern Maiana Islands, and US Possessions, use foreign travel account codes.

Commercial Lodging

Travel requiring overnight absence from an employee's official station during which expenses arise from the use of commercial lodging are expected.

Non-Commercial Lodging

Travel requiring overnight absence from an employee's official station during which non-commercial lodging is used (e.g., camping equipment, recreational vehicle or private home).

The intent of the non-commercial lodging per diem is to reimburse travelers using non-commercial facilities (e.g., travel trailer, motor home, or staying with friends or family members) and should result in an economic benefit for the university. Whether for short-or long-term travel, in or outside of Oregon, the daily per diem is $25. It is intended that the non-commercial lodging rate apply for any overnight stay away from home that does not take place in a commercial lodging establishment and which is provided for the employee.

Official Station

The city, town or other location to which an employee is assigned.

Per Diem

A set amount paid for lodging and meal expenses for a 24 hour period.

Incidental Expenses

Incidental Expenses are combined with meals into a single rate.

OUS references IRS Publication 463 for the definition of incidental expenses. The term "incidental expenses" means:

  • Fees and tips given to porters, baggage carriers, bellhops, hotel maids, stewards or stewardesses and others on ships, and hotel servants in foreign countries.
  • Transportation between places of lodging or business and places where meals are taken, if suitable meals can be obtained at the temporary duty site, and
  • Mailing costs associated with filing travel vouchers and payment of employer-sponsored charge card billings.