Complete Travel and Business Related Expense Policy

Purpose

This policy has been prepared as guidance in identifying legitimate travel and business related expenses incurred in carrying out necessary, authorized business of the University. Authorized travelers may obtain reimbursement within the limitations set forth below by submitting a Temple University Travel/Expense Report. Individuals may not charge any item of travel or business related expense directly to the University, in the name of the University, except when using the official travel agency of the University.

Scope

This policy covers expenditures for all University, unrestricted, restricted and designated funds. In certain cases, contracts and/or grants may have more restrictive policies towards travel and business related expenditures. In these cases, the more restrictive policies will prevail.

 

Policy Practice Statement

Expense Reports

A Travel & Expense reports must be completed in order for an employee to be reimbursed for business expenses.  Expense reports must be turned in within 10 days from returning from travel and/incurring expense. Personal expenses will not be reimbursed and any included in an expense report will be deducted from the payment.  All expense reports must be approved by the department manager or higher level of authority if limits exceed the amounts noted in Temple University’s Signature Policies prior to initiating payment processing from University Funds

Receipts

Temple University requires all paid receipts for charges over $25.00 to be attached to the expense report. In the event a receipt is lost please complete this exception form and forward to the Controller’s Office to be approved by the University Controller

Travel Advance

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 by authorized approval (Signature Authorization policy 05.20.14 ) and then submitted 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. 

Approvals

Approval Responsibility

It is the responsibility of the individual approving the Travel and Expense report to assure the accuracy of the report, the appropriateness of the expenses, and the compliance with all aspects of this policy. Please visit Temple University’s Organizational Hierarchy Site for list of approvals.

University Funds

All expenditures of University funds for travel and business related expenses must be approved in accordance with the Signature Authorization policy 05.20.14  for Travel and Business Related Expenses

Travel and business related expenses must be approved by the employee's supervisor. An individual may not approve his or her own travel and business expenses. Also, an individual may not have his or her travel and business expenses approved by a subordinate.

Prior Approval

University Funds for Travel and Business

All expenditures of University funds for travel and business related expenses must have prior approval by the pertinent Dean or Budget Unit Head. It is the traveling individual's responsibility to assure that this prior approval is obtained.

EXCEPTIONS

The Travel and Expense Reimbursement Policy is flexible to handle certain types of approved exceptions:

  • Exception to the unallowable reimbursement provisions of the policy must first be approved by the Dean, Provost or Cognizant Vice President and submitted to the Vice President for Financial Affairs.
  • Exception to the Hotel policy must be approved by the Associate Vice President for Business Services.
  • Exception to the Travel Agency policy must be approved by the Associate Vice President for Business Services.
  • Exception to the Catering policy must be approved by the Associate Vice President for Business Services.
  • Exception to the Travel Policy Freeze must be approved by the Cognizant Vice President.
  • Exception to the $25.00 receipt policy must be approved by the University Controller.

 

Reimbursement for Expenses

  • Travelers will be reimbursed only for expenses deemed to be in the best interest of the University.
  • Travelers are required to use the services of the official travel agencies of the University for purchasing airline tickets. The only exceptions are for an emergency or extraordinary reason. If airline tickets are purchased through another agency, documentation supporting the reasons for using that agency must be submitted in writing for approval to the Associate Vice President for Business Services. Any out-of-town guest of the University who makes his/her own travel arrangements will be reimbursed regardless of the travel agency used. Train or airline tickets purchased through the official travel agencies may be charged directly to a department's accounts by way of a properly approved Travel Authorization Form or by using the American Express Corporate Card, or a personal credit card.
  • If employees purchase tickets using a credit card, they can request reimbursement for the expenditure prior to the date of the trip if they supply the paid receipt.

Domestic and International Travel

The allow ability of travel expenses will be based on the following considerations: Only the most direct route by normal modes of travel will be approved, and the mode of travel should be the most economical means possible. Reimbursement normally will be made at this rate only. However, if time and convenience of the traveler and time away from the University cause a traveler to select a mode of travel other than the most economical, those factors will be considered in the computation of reimbursement. Reimbursement for air, rail, automobile rental car and taxicabs must be evidenced by paid receipts.

Travel-Related Accomodations

An employee requesting accommodation or assistance in traveling because of a disability must contact his/her immediate supervisor, Dean or Budget Unit Head to determine reasonable and necessary accommodations prior to making any travel plans. Specific information regarding proposed travel details, determination of hours of care necessary per day, type of care required (personal attendant care/community access care), among other information, will be provided to assess the viability and practicality of the request. These issues will be assessed for each travel request and will be determined on a case-by-case basis.

Automobile

Use of a traveler's automobile will be reimbursed at the current Internal Revenue Service mileage rate. This mileage rate covers depreciation, maintenance, repairs, gasoline, oil, insurance and vehicle registration fees.

  • Travel by automobile is permitted only if this mode is in the best interest of the University.
  • Reimbursement for two or more persons traveling in the same automobile shall be limited to the mileage reimbursement paid to the driver.  
  • If convenient public transportation is not available, a person traveling locally may be reimbursed for automobile travel in excess of normal mileage between the person's home and primary work station. (An example of this is an individual who normally works at the Main Campus and whose commute to work is normally 20 miles round trip. If that individual is required to go to the Ambler Campus for a day and the round trip mileage from home to Ambler is 30 miles, that individual may be reimbursed for 10 miles.)
  • Parking costs will be reimbursed if properly substantiated by receipts.
  • Bridge and turnpike tolls will be reimbursed if properly substantiated by receipts.

Automobile Rental

Rental of an automobile is permitted when necessary for an employee traveling on behalf of the University. Such rental of an automobile will be allowed and reimbursed on the following basis:

  • Traveler is expected to rent mid-size or smaller vehicles unless there are several travelers in the Temple group. Travel claims must include the justification for rental of other than mid-size vehicles.
  • Car rental agencies provide basic insurance subject to a deductible amount. Travelers must decline all additional insurance at the time of rental. Reimbursement for additional insurance to cover the deductible will be declined by the Travel Reimbursement Center. The University self-insures the exposure on the physical damage to the rental car (which is covered by the additional rental car insurance.) The rental car company provides, automatically, liability insurance for bodily injury and physical damage to the other car. Temple's Auto Liability Insurance would then cover any excess over the rental car company's insurance while on business. Temple will not reimburse you for the coverage for your personal items in the rental car. If items are damaged or stolen from the rental car you would look first towards your Homeowners policy to reimburse you for the loss. The University would reimburse you for your deductible. If you do not have such coverage for this exposure, you may wish to purchase the coverage at your own expense.
  • Gasoline charges on a rental car will be reimbursed with submission of a paid gas receipt and the rental agreement.
  • Reimbursement for rental cars will be made promptly upon submission of a Travel/Expense Report for the trip, documented by an original rental agreement. Credit card receipts are not sufficient for reimbursement.   

Airlines

Traveling by air is limited to the lowest price tourist class whenever the single leg of the air travel is less than 6 (six) hours. The University will reimburse business class fares whenever a single leg of air travel is greater than 6 (six) hours. Cost reimbursement rules do not allow business class fares to be charged to grants and contracts. Additionally, FOAPAL’s supported by student tuition or Commonwealth appropriations (University non-auxiliary 10 funds) cannot reimburse business class fares. Therefore, the price difference between coach and business class fares must be charged to a valid FOAPAL other than grants, contracts and University non-auxiliary 10 funds.

When completing a travel reimbursement or travel authorization form that includes business class travel to grants, contracts or non-auxiliary 10 cost centers, please be sure to itemize and code the coach portion of the ticket (which should be supported by a price quote) and the excess of the business class fare to the appropriate cost centers. The original airline ticket or itinerary showing evidence of payment will be accepted as proof of payment.

Rail

In traveling by rail, use coach class, unless overnight travel is involved. Only the original rail ticket serves as receipt. Train tickets may be purchased directly at Amtrak.

Taxicabs/Limousine

Taxi or limousine travel, where appropriate, will be reimbursed if properly substantiated by original receipt. Airport limousines or buses should be used wherever possible.

Lodging

  • Travelers are expected to utilize economical accommodations. Reimbursement for lodging may not exceed the normal rate for a standard room. If an individual is attending a convention or conference, use of the convention or conference hotel is appropriate.
  • Travelers should request the educational rate where available.
  • In Philadelphia employees and business guests of the University are required to use the official Temple University hotel. Exceptions must be approved by the Associate Vice President for Business Services.
  • Reimbursement must be documented by an original itemized hotel bill and receipt, and is limited to room and tax, business phone calls and one personal phone call home, per day, if away overnight.

Meals

  • If meals are to be reimbursed, actual meal costs will be repaid, subject to a maximum of the current federal travel allowance (view the GSA 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. Rates for foreign travel are available at the University's Travel Reimbursement Center.
  • There is no meal allowance entitlement for travel of 10 hours or less within the same calendar day. When the travel period is more than 10 hours but less than 24 hours, you may claim expenses for those meals for which you were not at home.
  • Federal travels allowances are widely used guidelines established by the Department of Defense and are adjusted periodically to reflect increases due to inflation.

Per Diem Allowance

A per diem allowance may be authorized by the Budget Unit Head as an alternative to normal hotel lodging and meal provisions. Per- Diem is defined as a flat daily allowance (as set forth by the Federal Government), in lieu of a subsistence expense for meals, lodging, and all fees and tips to waiters, porters and maids. (No receipts are required by the University. However, the traveler should retain receipts for personal IRS audits.)

Per Diem Rate

For travel within the continental limits of the United States, there is a normal per diem allowance for meals and miscellaneous expenses, and another allowance for meals, lodging and miscellaneous expenses. Although most geographical areas will be limited to the normal rates, higher limits are set for certain areas.

The per diem rates for travel beyond the continental limits of the United States will conform to the rates established by the Federal Government.

Per Diem Periods

The per diem allowance is only for activities involving overnight lodging.

Miscellaneous Expenses

  • Miscellaneous expenses of less than $300.00 each for books, supplies, and other miscellaneous items, if not specifically prohibited below, purchased for the benefit of Temple University are reimbursable.
  • Laundry, dry cleaning, and pressing services away from home are reimbursable only when the traveler is away in excess of 5 days and when the expenditures are reasonable in nature.  

Business Related Expenses

  • For the most part, these are not travel-related, but are extraordinary expenses incurred in the performance of an employee's responsibilities. As there may be a fine distinction between personal and business-related expenses, this type of expense requires the approval of the individual's supervisor.
  • Entertainment is defined as meals, beverages and gifts to non-employees deemed to be in the best interest of the University, e.g., local visit by an external candidate for a position within the University. Authority to incur entertainment expense must be properly approved and documented by receipts and records indicating name(s) of guest(s) and justification for the expenditure. Such expenses incurred primarily for the benefit of University employees are considered personal expense and are not reimbursable. Business meals are allowable if the employee establishes that the meal is directly related to the active conduct of University business. If the meal expense is incurred in connection with a substantial and bona fide business discussion then it must be established that the expense is associated with the active conduct of University business. The employee must substantiate the expense by including where the activity took place, who was attending, and what was discussed. Expenses for business meals will not be allowed for food or beverages to the extent that such expense is lavish or extravagant under the circumstances.
  • Professional organization fees in the name of Temple University (but not in the name of an individual) are reimbursable. Professional fees in the name of an individual may be reimbursable if corporate membership is unavailable and there is a direct business relationship that is beneficial to the University and is approved by the Budget Unit Head.
  • Temple executives that perform international travel in excess of seven (7) days and combine business and non-business activity may only be eligible to be reimbursed for a proportional share of their travel costs. For more detail about this contact the Travel reimbursement Center for a separate Travel Advisory.

Non-Reimbursable Travel-Related Expenses

The following expenses are not allowable:

  • Entertainment expenses for University employees where only University employees are involved. Examples are one University employee buying another University employee lunch (even if University business is conducted during the lunch); a department head taking employees to lunch; Christmas, retirement and other office parties; coffee services, etc.
  • Fines for parking or traffic violations.
  • Repair or insurance of personal automobiles, except as approved by the Controller in advance of the expenditure.
  • Theft, loss or damage of personal luggage and effects. Employees should work directly with the airline and credit card insurance carrier to recover damages.
  • Membership dues in private or social clubs and organizations.
  • Contributions/Donations
  • Personal travel expense, e.g., personal entertainment/gifts, costs for business clothing, haircuts, reading material, toiletries, medicine, laundry, (If the individual is away for more than five days, laundry will be reimbursed.) etc.
  • Passenger insurance, e.g., flight insurance. (Holders of Temple University American Express cards automatically receive $200,000 of travel insurance and $1,250 baggage insurance if they pay for their airline tickets with their card.)
  • Additional insurance on rental cars.
  • Normal commuting cost.
  • Movies (in room and in flight movies)
  • Gifts/Flowers, including flowers, fruit baskets or other items of condolences or congratulations. Note: Depending on the circumstances, this may be reimbursed with additional approval from the University Controller.
  • Cash advance fees from through ATM bank locations, hotels, or any other location where case advances can be obtained
  • The above non-reimbursable items are not to be considered all inclusive. All reimbursements are subject to review and approval by the Director of Accounts Payable or the Assistant Director of Travel.

Travel Expenses Other Than University Employees

Travel expenses to other than University employees, such as guest speakers, consultants and prospective employees is subject to the same regulations pertaining to University employees when travel arrangements are made by the University.

Receipts

Temple University requires all paid receipts for charges over $25.00 to be attached to the expense report. In the event a receipt is lost please complete the exception form and forward to the Controller’s Office to be approved by the University Controller

American Express Corporate Card Program

Temple 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 a free American Express Card to charge all appropriate business related expenses. These American Express Corporate Cards are the complete responsibility of the employee and all charges must be 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. Click here for the American Express application.

Travel Advances

For trips in which a traveler's out-of-pocket expenses are estimated to be $200.00 or more and of the type that would normally not be covered by the American Express Corporate Card, a traveler's travel advance (minimum $200.00) 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 by authorized approval (Signature Authorization policy 05.20.14 ) and then 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 checks.

Moving Expenses

The University is required to report all reimbursements for moving expenses to the Internal Revenue Service. If reimbursed for taxable items, the amount must be treated as compensation, subject to required payroll tax withholding, and reported on the employee's W-2 Form.

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