The following procedures and operational standards are designed to summarize the requirements and responsibilities associated filing expense reimbursements that are in accordance with University Travel Policies.
Click on one of the links below to jump to the procedure topic on the page below.
Account Coding of Reimbursements
UW System Travel Expense Report Forms
Accounting for Travel and Related Expenses
University Requirements for Accountable Plan
Currency Exchange and Translation for International Receipts
ACCOUNT CODING OF REIMBURSEMENTS
Appropriate account coding of all travel reimbursements is required for accurate University reporting of expenditures.
See Chart of Accounts FY 2016 Select Category – Travel and Type – Expenses to find the appropriate account code.
For E-Reimbursement, see User Guides – Business Purposes, Expense and Billing Types for accurate coding of expenses.
UW SYSTEM TRAVEL EXPENSE REPORT FORMS
Log in to E-Reimbursement
Employees using E-Reimbursement will find user guides and narrative videos which illustrate reimbursement reporting requirements in detail,
ACCOUNTING FOR TRAVEL AND RELATED EXPENSES
All travel expenses reimbursed from university-administered funds must be done in compliance with the university travel policies, regardless of the funding source (i.e. federal grants and contracts, auxiliary operations, general operating funds, restricted funds, outside reimbursements) or traveler affiliation (employee, non-employee, student, consultant, etc.).
Regardless of payment method or reimbursable costs, all travel related expenses are to be timely reconciled on a travel expense report for full accounting of the total trip cost and be documented with an official University business purpose. Some institutions utilize the purchasing card log as part of this accounting, so travelers must use their institution’s process to account for both purchase card prepayments and reimbursements. For travelers with pre-paid transactions on another person’s purchasing card, at minimum the cardholder’s name must be included on the expense report and the expenses recorded as prepaid on the travel expense report for record keeping purposes.
Expenses recorded on a travel expense report must be recorded by travel expense type, location of expense, supplier (if required for expense type), date expense was incurred, payment method (i.e. University pre-paid/ Purchasing Card, corporate travel card, personal forms of payment, personally paid expenses (non-reimbursable) and/or cash advance). Accounting for trip expenses in this manner satisfies IRS requirements for business travel record keeping.
Travelers may not claim travel or related expenses for other travelers. When traveling together, each traveler must pay for their own travel expenses. To reduce out-of-pocket expenses and related reimbursements, if allowed by the institution, use of the department’s Purchasing Travel Card is recommended for prepayment of airfare, lodging and/or required deposits and registration fees.
The traveler must personally approve, sign and submit the expense report attesting to the accountability statement.
Inquiries concerning travel policy or the submission of expense reports should be directed to your institutional travel office.
UNIVERSITY REQUIREMENTS FOR ACCOUNTABLE PLAN
Per 1200-General Travel Policy for reimbursements to be considered non-taxable income, the University’s travel and expense reimbursement policies, including procedures for expense reporting must comply with the IRS Accountable Plan Rules. To be considered an Accountable Plan an employer’s business expense reimbursement arrangement must meet the following conditions and IRS Safe Harbor requirements:
- Business Connection: Reimbursements and advances provided to the traveler or employee under the plan must be for business related expenses only. Any advance payments must be related to the business expenses that a traveler or employee is expected to incur.
- All travel related expenses must be substantiated in writing and include any required itemized receipts within 90 days after the trip completion date or will not be reimbursed by the University.
- Non-travel related business expenses (defined as expenses that are not travel related or incurred while in travel status) must be substantiated in writing and include any required itemized receipts within 90 days of expense date or will not be reimbursed by the University.
- For cash advances, travelers must substantiate expenses and return any excess advanced amount within 30 days after the trip completion date.
CURRENCY EXCHANGE AND TRANSLATION FOR INTERNATIONAL RECEIPTS (AND OTHER DOCUMENTATION)
Internationally incurred expenses paid and receipted in foreign currency must be submitted for payment or reimbursement in U.S. dollars using the exchange rate in effect on the date of payment. Include documentation indicating what exchange rate was used to make the conversions. Currency exchange rates can be found at OANDA , the University’s standard application for conversion and Google is recommended for translation. When converting, choose the appropriate interbank rate for the transaction. If purchases were made via credit card, use the exchange rate provided on the credit card statement.
Per 1200-General Travel Policy the following is a non-inclusive list of typical expenses that will not be paid or reimbursed by University funding sources:
- Expenses which are not UW business related
- Expenses not filed within the 90 day requirements
- Expenses paid or reimbursed from outside sources
- Alcoholic beverages
- Spouse, family member’s or travel companion costs (Chancellor’s and President’s spouse/partner may be allowable under separate policy)
- Any expenses incurred as a result of voluntary cancellation of travel reservations (air, car, hotel, etc.) or supplier assessed penalties unless formally justified as exception.
- Domestic phone calls
- Lost/stolen cash or personal property
- Personal items and services, e.g., toiletries, luggage, clothes, haircuts, etc.
- Expenses for social events or non-business related activities, such as sightseeing tours, sport outings, excursions, etc.
- Traffic citations, parking tickets and other fines
- Additional charges incurred for personal reasons involving vehicle rentals
- Locksmith charges for personal vehicles
- Repairs, towing service, lubrication, etc. for personal vehicles
- Excess cost of circuitous or side trips for personal reasons
- Parking costs at the assigned headquarters
- Meals included in business meetings, conference registrations, etc.
- Pay for view movies in hotel/motel room
- Personal entertainment
- Additional costs for extra person(s)
- Charges incurred for late lodging checkout
- Lodging costs incurred at unlicensed facilities
- Lodging within 50 miles of the home or headquarters city
- Flight insurance
- Trip Insurance
- Extra baggage charges for personal items, such as golf clubs, skis, etc.
- Airline, car, hotel, corporate club or other membership dues
- Childcare costs
- Kennel fees
- Late payment penalties and interest on corporate card
- Greeting cards
- Any incidental expenses included in the per diem
Original, itemized receipts are required based upon the expense types and dollar limits listed below. Credit card statements alone to not meet the receipting requirements.
Definition of original receipt:
An original receipt is a written acknowledgement that the vendor has been paid for providing goods or services. To be considered original it must show:
- The name & address of the vendor providing the goods or services
- The date that the specific services were received or items were purchased
- Itemization of the services and/or goods and pricing
- Final amount due and evidence that it was paid
Scanned receipts are accepted as originals providing they meet the same requirements for paper receipts. Keep in mind that if you’re planning to scan your receipts or other required documentation, the scan must be clear, legible and saved in a format that allows opening and printing.
Registration fees that often include other types of expenditures must include the following information on the receipt:
- Dates of conference, convention, seminar, etc.
- Location and title of event
- Amount of fee and a breakdown of specific costs (meals, etc.) covered in the fee.
Note: This may require obtaining both a payment receipt and a copy of the applicable page from the registration website, registration form, brochure, application etc.
The I.R.S. recommends that business travelers always keep receipts for personal tax filing purposes. University policy requires that the following receipts be provided with any reimbursement request. For E-Reimbursement users, attach receipts and supporting documents using the attachment features in the application.
ALL EXPENSES REGARDLESS OF AMOUNT
EXPENSES OVER $25
NO RECEIPTS REQUIRED