Travel & Personal Expense Reimbursement Policy

Printable version of the Travel and Personal Expense Reimbursement Policy

Scope of Policy & Rationale

Temple University is a state-related institution whose primary mission is to serve its students. As such, the University strives to ensure that funds are properly used in the furtherance of University business.  This policy sets forth the guidelines for reimbursement of travel related expenses incurred by the Temple University community. In certain cases, grants and/or contracts may state additional restrictions beyond those described below.  In these cases, the more restrictive policy will prevail.

Policy Statement

It is the responsibility of each individual approving a travel or personal expense (“expense”) to assure the accuracy and appropriateness of the expense(s) and compliance with University policy.

This policy is intended to comply with external requirements including those of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and of federal, state and nongovernmental sponsors. 

Travel and personal expenses that are reimbursed following Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) “accountable plan” rules are not included in the gross income of the employee and are therefore not subject to income or employment taxes. Generally, an IRS accountable plan requires that the expenses are: 1) reasonable and necessary, 2) accounted for with appropriate documentation, and 3) reported timely.

The University is not obligated to reimburse for expenses that do not comply with this policy.  Such expenses will be the obligation of the individual.  Misuse or attempts to circumvent the policy may result in restricted privileges, additional requirements for documentation and/or disciplinary action.

Allowable Travel Related Expenses:

Airlines: Airfare may be booked through Concur or the University’s approved travel agency.  Traveling by air is limited to the lowest price economy class whenever a single flight is less than six (6) hours. The University will reimburse business class fares only when a single flight is longer than 6 (six) hours. Business class fares may not be charged to grants and contracts.

Rail: Tickets may be purchased directly from Amtrak.  Individuals are expected to use coach class.  The original ticket may serve as the receipt.

Automobile Rental: Employees may rent only mid-size or smaller vehicles unless there are at least three University travelers in the group.  Travel claims must include the justification for rental of other than mid-size or smaller vehicles.

The University does not reimburse for coverage for personal items in a rental car. If items are damaged or stolen from a rental car individuals should consult with their homeowner’s insurance policy provider regarding coverage. If an individual does not have homeowner’s, renter’s, or similar coverage for this exposure, it may be prudent to purchase the coverage at one’s own expense.

Taxis or Shuttles: Taxi or shuttle travel, where appropriate, may be reimbursed if properly substantiated by receipt. Airport shuttles or buses are encouraged wherever possible.

Personal Vehicle: Use of an employee’s personal vehicle may be reimbursed at the current Internal Revenue Service mileage rate. This mileage rate covers depreciation, maintenance, repairs, gasoline, oil, insurance and vehicle registration fees. In addition to the mileage rate reimbursement, an employee will be reimbursed for parking and tolls. 

Lodging: Reimbursement for lodging may not exceed the rate for a standard room. If an individual is attending a convention or conference, use of the convention or conference hotel is appropriate.

Meals: Actual meal costs are allowable, subject to a maximum of the current federal travel allowance (view the General Services Administration Per Diem Rates at: http://www.gsa.gov/portal/category/21287). No meal allowance will be granted in instances in which meals are covered by conference or registration fees, or any other instance in which the employee does not pay for the meal. Although these rates apply to most U.S. locations, a higher rate is available for selected cities. Meal rates for travel beyond the continental limits of the United States will conform, as nearly as possible, to the rates established by the federal government.  

Exclusions: 

The University will not reimburse or pay for expenses that are personal in nature. The following are some examples of expenses excluded from reimbursement:

Reimbursement to individuals that are not students or employees:

Reimbursement to individuals that are not affiliated with the University, such as guest speakers, consultants and prospective employees, is subject to the same regulations detailed here for University employees when travel arrangements are made by the University, unless otherwise set forth in a written contract.

Receipts:

The University requires all paid receipts for charges over $25.00 to be attached to the expense report. In the event a receipt is lost, complete the exception form and forward to Accounts Payable with the paper T&E. For electronic T&E's complete the missing receipt affadavit via Concur.

American Express Corporate Card Program:

The University is a member of the American Express Corporate Card Program. All University employees who plan to travel on University business are encouraged to apply for an American Express Card to charge all appropriate business related expenses. American Express Corporate Cards are the responsibility of the employee and all charges are paid by the employee. Failure to keep accounts current will result in the revocation of the card. The use of these cards is optional, and should be used primarily for business purposes.

Travel Advances:

For trips in which a traveler's out-of-pocket expenses are estimated to be $200 or more, and of the type that would normally not be payable by the American Express Corporate Card, a travel advance is available. Travel advances are considered the exception and not the rule when an employee travels on business. If a travel advance is necessary, then a travel advance request must be completed, approved and submitted with supporting documentation by the department manager to Accounts Payable with sufficient notice prior to the travel date in order to process the payment in a timely manner. Advances not settled within two weeks of the return date of the trip may, at the discretion of the Controller, be converted to payroll advances and deducted from payroll for payment.