University System of New Hampshire

07 - 004 Travel Expense Reimbursement

Please review Policy 07-001 Introduction to Travel for an overview of USNH travel policies. The procedures below provide more specific requirements related to Travel Reimbursement.

A.   TRAVEL REIMBURSEMENT REQUEST FORM

A Traveler should submit a Travel Reimbursement Request Form within 45 days of completing a business trip. A business trip starts when a traveler on USNH business leaves their normal place of employment or their home for another destination and ends when the traveler is back at home or normal place of employment. Note that reimbursement is not guaranteed if a request is submitted after 60 days of completing a business trip. Such late requests require approval from the campus CFO or designee. The Travel Reimbursement Request Form must:

1.   Detail all travel to/from the location, meals, lodging, meeting(s)/conference(s) attended, etc., and must include all requested reimbursement for the entirety of the trip. If other USNH travelers were included or paid for, e.g., shared a ride, the name of the other traveler(s) should be noted on the form.

2.   Clearly indicate the business purpose of the travel. A business purpose must be descriptive enough to clearly answer any questions regarding who traveled, the necessity of their travel, and the benefit to USNH. Below are some examples of appropriate business purposes:

Do not use Instead, use
Attended conference Attended American Bottle Cappers conference in Boulder, Colorado from April 1-7, 2018 to present a paper on the loss of carbonation from loose caps.
Research Traveled to South America to research rural irrigation systems to provide data for journal publication titled “Improving Rural Irrigation Systems.”
Research Presented a research paper at the International Pragmatics Association conference.
Meet with Colleagues Meeting with Business faculty (8 in attendance) to discuss marketing student project.
Meet with Colleagues Met with John Smith, Associate Professor of accounting and Jane Turner, Department Head of Accounting, to finalize Accounting Department budget proposal.
Meet donor Donor meeting in Dallas, TX to discuss potential gifts for undergraduate scholarships.

Including the itinerary for the trip and the agenda of meeting(s)/conference(s) attended is recommended to substantiate the business purpose and the various expenses included as part of the registration fee.

3.   Include receipts for all expenses claimed except those related to daily per-diem or mileage reimbursement (see Section B below for exceptions to receipt requirements). Any differences between the receipt and reimbursement report amounts must be explained. Scanned copies of receipts may be submitted to the approver electronically. However, the Travel Approver must forward the electronic receipts to the department processing the invoice for upload into BDMS. The traveler must keep original receipts until after the travel request form is processed and paid. The paper receipt may be destroyed once the traveler receives payment.

4.   Include rates used in converting foreign currency to U.S. funds at the time of the transaction.

5.   Use meal per diem and mileage rates in effect at the time of the travel according to Procedures 07-007 Travel Meals and 07-009 Personal Automobile Expenses. Per Diem request reimbursement must be supported by evidence of the location the traveler visited such as conference agenda, or hotel or airline ticket receipts showing destination.

6.   All reimbursement requests must be approved as described in Policy 07-001 Introduction to Travel, Section D.2.

B.   REQUIREMENTS FOR RECEIPTS

1.   Original receipts for any claimed expense are required for USNH to reimburse the travel for any travel expense incurred – See exception in Section B.2 below. The receipt must be provided by the vendor and contain the following five IRS-required elements:

a. Name of the vendor (person or company you paid)
b. Transaction date (when you paid)
c. A detailed description of goods or services purchased (what you bought)
d. Amount paid
e. Form of payment (how you paid – cash, check, or last four digits of credit card)

2.   Legible scanned document of receipt may be acceptable provided they include all the above elements and a dated and signed note from the traveler certifying the scanned document is a true copy of the original.

3.   Travel costs of $25 or less per transaction do not require receipts for reimbursement. For example, receipts are required for reimbursement of the cost of taxis, parking, and other travel costs that total more than $25 per fare.

4.   When a traveler loses or misplaces receipts needed to obtain reimbursement, the traveler must first attempt to obtain a duplicate receipt from the vendor where feasible. If a traveler is unsuccessful in getting a duplicate receipt, they may complete a Lost Receipt Form. A Lost Receipt Form should not be completed on a routine basis (generally no more than three per fiscal year will be accepted), and overuse may result in revocation of the privilege of providing a Lost Receipt Form in lieu of an original receipt.

5.   Lost Receipt Forms are not acceptable for hotel and airfare charges. The Traveler must contact the hotel or the airline and obtain a duplicate receipt in these cases.

C.   TRAVEL REIMBURSEMENT TIMELINE

1.   Per IRS requirements, reimbursement requests received later than 60 calendar days after completion of the trip must be treated as taxable to the traveler. Expense reimbursement requests are treated as taking place within a reasonable period if the traveler submits a request for reimbursement that is adequately supported within 60 calendar days of completing a trip, or before the end date of the grant if travel is being charged to a Sponsored Program, whichever is sooner. A request is considered submitted on time when the date the traveler signed the form is within 60 calendar days of the completion of the trip, and the total cost of the trip is fully substantiated. With the exception of the 60 calendar day tax rule, the campus CFO or designee, may authorize individual exceptions to this policy upon written justification showing cause for noncompliance.

2.   For travelers who received an advance before traveling, unused USNH cash advances and/or proper substantiation of all costs must be returned within 10 business days of completing the trip. See Procedure 04-008 Cash Advances for more information.

D.   NON-REIMBURSABLE EXPENSES

Unallowable, unsubstantiated or unauthorized expenses will not be reimbursed. Please refer to Travel Cheat Sheet and Procedure 07-014 Non-Reimbursable Travel Expenses. If it is determined after reimbursement or use of USNH Purchasing card that a traveler violated any provision of USNH’s travel procedures, USNH will recoup such expenses from the traveler by seeking direct reimbursement. If full repayment is not received from a USNH employee, the Travel Expense Approver will notify the employee the funds will be collected through a payroll deduction. USNH retains the right to collect any remaining funds by other means necessary (e.g., a civil suit or criminal prosecution as appropriate under the circumstances). In addition, disciplinary action may be taken under campus Human Resources policies or other appropriate internal policies.

In cases when a Traveler disagrees with the decision of the Travel Expense Approver, the traveler may refer the case to the campus CFO or designee which has the final decision on travel matters.

E.   FUNDRAISING, RECRUITING, AND TEAM TRAVEL

USNH recognizes the unique nature of travel expenses incurred for fundraising, recruiting, team sports, and other specialized activities. If these activities necessitate a deviation from the stated travel policy, reimbursement may be allowed, provided written pre-approval is obtained from the campus VPFA or designee. Campuses should have campus-specific policy and procedures related to these activities.

F.   MIXING BUSINESS TRAVEL WITH PERSONAL TRIPS

Per USNH Procedure 07-014 Non-Reimbursable Travel Expenses, personal expenses are not reimbursable. This includes any personal portion of airfare, hotel accommodation, or car rental while on USNH business, as well as any additional cost that results from a traveler choosing a non-direct route or extending the stay for personal convenience or vacation. The traveler should include a statement and documentation that supports the cost of the business portion of the trip each time vacation or any other personal conveniences are included.


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