RELATED TO POLICY SERIES NO: 5115
TITLE: BUSINESS/TRAVEL EXPENSE REIMBURSEMENT
To furnish employees and Board of Education members (hereafter referred to as "employees") guidelines for the legitimate and appropriate reimbursement of business/ travel expenses; ensure responsible and prudent use of college funds; ensure consistent and equitable handling of business/travel expense transactions; and provide instructions for the proper substantiation of expenses incurred.
- Allowable Expenses
Allowable expenses for which reimbursement may be provided are:
- in compliance with college policies, procedures, and restrictions.
- nontaxable-items defined as taxable fringe benefits by the IRS are not allowed for reimbursement. The final responsibility for satisfying the IRS rests with the employee.
- reasonable. The nature and amount of the cost shall be what a prudent person would have incurred at the time.
- in compliance with requirements of any specific grant or contract being charged.
Purchase of personal items with college funds is prohibited. Failure to comply with established guidelines may result in personal financial responsibility and/or disciplinary action.
Business/travel expenditures will be paid only with approval of the supervisor or clerk or deputy clerk of the board. Those approving expenditures are responsible for ensuring that expenditures:
- comply with college policies and procedures;
- have adequate funding, budget authorization, and documentation to support the expenditure;
- are valid and reasonable college-related expenses; and
- reflect minimum expense levels consistent with the accomplishments of college interests.
Employees whose duties require frequent travel are deemed to have advance approval when travel is within the usual limits of their duties. All out-of-state travel shall be preauthorized by the employee's supervisor.
Itemized receipts are required for reimbursement of college-related expenditures regardless of payment method, except for mileage reimbursement and meals and incidental expenses per diem reimbursement. Copies of canceled checks and purchasing card receipts are acceptable with an itemized listing attached. Whenever possible, payment should be made with the Purchasing Card (P-Card).
Accounts Payable will process payment after receiving an approved Request for Payment Voucher or Travel Voucher with receipts attached. Purchases which are not in compliance with college policy will not be paid.
A travel advance may be requested before departure by submitting a supervisor-approved (or clerk- or deputy clerk of the board-approved) Travel Advance Request Voucher to Accounts Payable. If travel is canceled, an advance shall be returned to Accounts Payable immediately. An employee may have only one travel advance outstanding at a time. A Travel Voucher, receipts, and any excess advance shall be submitted to Accounts Payable within 10 calendar days of the employee's return to the college. Failure to do so will result in the advance being reported as income subject to withholding and payment of employment taxes, reported on the employee's W-2, and deducted from the employee's next monthly check.
- Business Meals/Meetings
The college will not pay for in-district meals or meals outside the district without an overnight stay, which are generally taxable per IRS regulations, unless the meals are associated with college business.
- Hosting Professional Associates
Meals may be paid for with college funds if the main purpose of the meal is the active conduct of college business or the meal occurs directly before or after a substantial business meeting.
- Professional Association or Civic Club Meetings
Meals may be paid for with college funds if the employee is attending as an appointed representative of the college.
- College Employee Meetings
Meals/refreshments may be purchased with college funds in specified circumstances. Meals/refreshments will not be purchased with college funds for personal events or entertainment. No alcohol will be purchased for employee meetings with college funds.
- Meals may be paid for with college funds if the employee is directed to attend a meeting at which college business is conducted and the meal is a part of the agenda.
- Meals may be paid for with college funds if the event, reception, recognition event, or staff development activity, relates to college business.
- Refreshments may be purchased with college funds for events that are infrequent, non-routine, and defined as accommodating guests or employees for staff meetings or other special events related to college business.
- Hosting Professional Associates
- Meals While Traveling
The college may pay for employee meals when traveling for college business outside the district, with an overnight stay. Meals and incidental expenses (M&IE) will be reimbursed at a per diem rate per travel location established by the U.S. General Services Administration. Per diem for the first and last travel day is reimbursable at 75% of the regular rate. The daily per diem shall be reduced by 25% for each meal provided by an event.
- Business Meals/Meetings
Any person wishing to drive as an agent for the college or to be reimbursed for mileage when conducting authorized college business shall complete a Driver's Status Form and be pre-approved based on Department of Motor Vehicle records. Employees driving their own vehicles or riding in private vehicles in the course of conducting college business do so under the primary liability coverage of the vehicle.
Mileage will be reimbursed at the rate established by the U.S. General Services Administration. The college may reimburse for mileage for driving personal vehicles when required as part of assigned work, except for commuting.
Commuting is travel between home and the main or regular place of work. The college will reimburse for the shorter of the distance from work or home to a meeting, other assigned work location, or destination when traveling for business purposes.
- Mode of Travel
Employees shall consider both economy and the best use of time when choosing a means of travel. Reimbursement is limited to the mode of travel that provides the least cost to the college. Transportation, per diem, lodging, and paid staff travel time are considered when determining cost. If an employee uses a mode of travel with a higher cost to the college, reimbursement may be limited to the least cost mode available.
- Airline Travel
All reservations for airline tickets shall use routes, schedules, airlines, and a travel class that provides the lowest rates and the most efficient travel. Any additional costs or penalties due to traveler-initiated changes, missed flights, or other actions not directly related to college business travel requirements occurring en route are the responsibility of the traveler.
Because the cost of record-keeping outweighs the nominal monetary benefit to the college, frequent-flyer bonuses and other awards earned by employees traveling on college business are part of the employment package and may be used by employees as they choose unless the institution determines otherwise in specific situations or restricted by the terms of a grant or sponsorship.
- Other Transportation
Employees traveling on college business may be reimbursed for mileage to and from airports and the most cost-effective parking and airport/hotel transport. Employees may choose other public or private modes of transportation to airports and be reimbursed for costs incurred up to the total of mileage and parking cost of using their private automobile. Car rental is generally the most expensive mode of transportation and should be used only when other suitable and less expensive means are not practical or available. The college will not reimburse for additional "personal accident insurance" available in car rental agreements. The college shall reimburse for tolls. Fines or penalties imposed for parking/traffic violations are not reimbursable.
- Mode of Travel
Lodging may be reimbursed up to the locality rate established by the US General Services Administration plus applicable taxes; except that lodging at conference/convention hotels, which may exceed the GSA rate, is reimbursable. Travelers who are unable to secure lodging within the local limit may apply to their approving supervisor or clerk or deputy clerk of the board for an exception to cover the actual expense. Approval of such exceptions shall be annotated on the Travel Voucher. Employees who stay in a private residence while traveling on college business may not be reimbursed for lodging.
- Miscellaneous Expenses
- Dues and Memberships
Personal and institutional memberships in professional organizations may be paid for with college funds when such memberships are directly beneficial to the college and relate to an employee's job. Memberships in civic organizations, such as Chambers of Commerce, may be paid for when an employee's college duties require such membership. Approval by the employee's supervisor or clerk or deputy clerk of the board is required.
- Subscriptions and Journals
Subscriptions and journals that directly relate to the employee's job may be paid for with college funds.
- Registration Fees
The college will generate conference registration fee checks upon receipt of an approved request. This is intended to accommodate registration deadlines, which precede the actual event, especially those that provide a discount for early registration. Individuals who pay registration fees may receive reimbursement for the actual cost of registration fees.
- Telephone Calls
All necessary college-related business calls are reimbursable. Employees may be reimbursed for business-related calls that appear on the employee's personal cell phone invoice. In order to be reimbursed, a charge specific to the business call should appear on the invoice, and the employee cannot be receiving a monthly stipend for business use of a personal cellular phone (see Administrative Rule 5045-03). Cell phone charges shall be submitted monthly on a reimbursement form with a copy of the invoice indicating the business- related calls. Any reimbursement request requires the supervisor's or clerk's or deputy clerk's of the board approval. The college will not make any payments directly to a vendor for an employee's purchase of a cell phone, plan, or minutes used.
Reasonable tipping is a reimbursable expense when associated with college business. Reimbursement for tipping while traveling is covered by the meals and incidental expenses per diem.
- Items of Appreciation, Condolence, or Recognition
The college may pay for items of appreciation, condolence, or recognition if the activities/events to be recognized are extraordinary in nature and relate to college business. A supervisor's or clerk's or deputy clerk's of the board approval is required. Such purchases shall be infrequent and items purchased shall be of nominal value.
- Other Items
Miscellaneous items that are required to support instructional or operational functions may be reimbursed with appropriate documentation and approval.
- Dues and Memberships
DATE OF ADOPTION: 08/10/93
DATE(S) OF REVISION(S): 07/09/96; 09/16/03; 06/08/12; 02/18/16; 1/5/17
DATE OF LAST REVIEW: 1/5/17