USNH appreciates the efforts of those who travel on USNH business. An individual should not experience a financial gain or loss because of USNH business travel. USNH policy is to reimburse reasonable and necessary travel expenses incurred for authorized USNH business travel. Consistent application of this policy will:
- Ensure compliance with federal regulations and sponsor requirements,
- Ensure USNH meets all requirements for an Accountable Plan as defined by Internal Revenue Service Regulations (Reg. Sec. 1.62-2)
- Enable USNH to better manage its limited resources,
- Ensure that reimbursement is fair and equitable to both the traveler and USNH, and
- Ensure clear and consistent understanding of the rules by which travel reimbursement will be provided, thereby providing the best service to travelers.
USNH has chosen open competition as the method of obtaining the lowest applicable airfare and hotel rates. Travelers should make their own travel arrangements and book directly to a Purchasing Card assigned to either an individual employee or a unit. Travelers who do not have access to a P-Card may charge airline fares and other travel expenses to a personal credit card and seek reimbursement. Reimbursement will not be made until after travel is completed.
B. DEFINITION OF USNH BUSINESS TRAVEL
Leaving from your residence or regular USNH work location, to a destination other than your regular USNH work location, to conduct USNH business is considered USNH business travel. Returning to your residence or regular work location from a destination other than your regular work location is also considered USNH business travel.
USNH business travel may be overnight, requiring the traveler to spend a night away from home, or it may be a day trip where the traveler returns home the same day.
USNH Business travel excludes commuting travel. Please refer to section C of Procedure 07-009 Personal Automobile Expenses for more information on commuting expenses.
This policy applies to employees and non-employees who travel on authorized USNH business, regardless of funding source. These individuals are collectively referred to as “travelers” in these procedures. Note that if travel is being charged to a Sponsored Program with terms that are more restrictive than those of USNH, the terms of the grant or contract apply. If the terms imposed by Sponsored programs are more lenient than those of USNH, USNH policy applies. Similarly, campuses or departments may elect to impose stricter controls over travel expenditures than those required by this policy. Non-employees working with USNH under agreements that have specific travel terms should follow the terms laid out in their agreements. All other non-employees traveling on approved USNH business must fully adhere to all USNH policies included in this section as described in Procedure 07-015 Non-Employee Travel.
D. ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITY
This policy is based on the honesty and integrity of the traveler. Travelers are expected to exercise good judgment when incurring travel costs, regardless of funding source. Business travel expenses will be paid by USNH if they are reasonable, properly authorized, appropriately documented with a distinct, compelling business purpose descriptive enough to clearly demonstrate a benefit to USNH, and within the guidelines of this policy. Costs should not be lavish or extravagant but should be prudent, exercising the fiduciary responsibility entrusted in all USNH employees by the state, students, governmental and non-government sponsors, donors, and others who provide resources to USNH. All monies reimbursed will be for the lowest reasonable cost of travel given the circumstances and substantiated with receipts (see Procedure 07-004 Travel Expense Reimbursment, section B). No portion of costs associated with personal travel will be paid by USNH. Travelers are responsible for familiarizing themselves and complying with this policy. The USNH Financial Services Office is responsible for oversight of travel policies, procedures, and travel expenditures. The Support Team for the Administration of Research (STAR) or campus research office until transition to STAR has been completed determines which travel expenditures are reimbursable under a Sponsored program.
a. Individuals traveling and employees who make travel arrangements or prepare reimbursement requests on a traveler’s behalf are responsible for complying with this policy and related procedures.
b. All travel reimbursement requests must be submitted within a reasonable time as defined in section C of Procedure 07-004 Travel Expense Reimbursement. Travelers are responsible for correctly completing forms, including providing a clear statement of business purpose and submitting all appropriate supporting documentation to the USNH Financial Operations Center (FOC) as described in Procedure 07-004 Travel Expense Reimbursement. By submitting a travel reimbursement request, the traveler indicates that they were traveling on USNH business, the request does not include any personal expenses, and the amount has not and will not be reimbursed to the traveler from any other source(s).
c. The traveler is responsible for the cancellation of any reservations (hotel, airfare, ground transportation, etc.) if a trip is canceled. USNH is not responsible for any charges or penalties resulting from the traveler's failure to give proper notice of cancellation. Travelers should request and record the cancellation number in case of a billing dispute.
d. USNH will pay for costs resulting from cancellations including change fees due to circumstances beyond the control of the traveler such as cancellation at the request of a supervisor, conference or meeting cancellation, or personal circumstances (i.e., traveler’s hospitalization, or loss of a loved one).
e. Travelers are encouraged to use their memberships in AAA, AARP, or other groups to obtain discounts which exceed those otherwise available.
a. After downloading and completing the USNH Personal Reimbursement Form, a traveler must have the request approved by a direct supervisor or only in in their absence, a designee that is senior to the direct supervisor in the organizational structure. Approval by a direct supervisor or designee that is senior to the direct supervisor in the organizational structure is required regardless of the funding source denoted on the personal reimbursement form (for sponsored programs approval authority see paragraph below). By signing the travel reimbursement form, the Travel Approver attests that the purpose of the expense is valid and directly related to USNH business, the cost is appropriate and reasonable, and the date the traveler signed the form is reasonable compared to when the form is presented for approval. The date the employee signed will determine whether the form was timely submitted as described in Procedure 07-004 Travel Expense Reimbursement.
The authority for determining which travel expenditures are reimbursable under a particular grant or contract lies with the Office of Sponsored Programs Administration. For the purposes of this policy, Sponsored Programs Administration has the authority to approve externally funded travel on behalf of the Principal Investigators.
b. After obtaining approval from their supervisor, employees should send the completed and approved form to the FOC. A Travel and Expense Assistant will review the form for the following:
i. An adequate description of the business purpose was documented
ii. There are no missing entries for required fields
iii. Approvals have been applied as appropriate
iv. If traveling abroad on federal grants, the travel was pre-approved by STAR or research office until transition to STAR has been completed
v. Mileage and per diem amounts requested are accurate and in compliance with mileage and per diem policies
vi. If the ‘less than per diem’ option was chosen, meals claimed each day were below the daily per diem to which the traveler was entitled for that location
vii. Each claimed expense, other than per diem and mileage, has a receipt that meets the requirements in section B of Procedure 07-004 Travel Expense Reimbursement. The Travel Expense approver will inspect scanned receipts before approving any requests for reimbursement. When a receipt is not available, a full explanation of the expense and the reason for the missing receipt must be provided. A Lost Receipt Form must be completed, and the form should be approved by the department head or supervisor of the traveler.
c. A traveler may not approve her/his own travel reimbursement request form, and an employee may not approve expenses for an individual to whom they report or who is at a higher level within the organizational structure. Additionally, in general, the supervisor should approve the reimbursement request and this responsibility should not be delegated unless there is an urgent need and the supervisor is absent or, the travel is under a grant as described in 2. A. above.
For travel approval related to non-employees, please refer to USNH Policy 07-015.
3. Authority to approve exceptions
Exceptions to this USNH Travel Policy require campus CFO or designee approval, except when the exception to this policy is due to disability or medical condition(s) in which case the Campus ADA Compliance Officer or equivalent must approve the exception.
The criteria below should be considered before an exception is granted.
a) Exceptions must meet a valid business need, not simply a traveler preference, and should be requested prior to incurring the expense.
b) Documentation for any exceptions must be submitted to the USNH FOC with the Travel Reimbursement Request Form, and
c) In certain circumstances an exception may result in reportable income for the recipient. In such cases the USNH FOC will withhold any required taxes from the payments to the traveler.
E. TAXABILITY OF TRAVEL REIMBURSMENT UNDER IRS ACCOUNTABLE PLAN RULES
According to IRS guidance known as the “Accountable Plan Rules,” travelers are required to substantiate (with receipts), all expenses within a reasonable amount of time.
Under the “Accountable Plan”, an expense must meet the following rules to allow an employer to exclude the reimbursement from an employee’s income:
1. The traveler’s expenses must have a business connection, meaning the traveler must have paid or incurred deductible business expenses while performing services as an employee of the employer.
2. The traveler must adequately account to the employer for these expenses within a reasonable period of time.
3. The traveler must return any excess reimbursement or allowance within a reasonable period of time.
The official version of this information will only be maintained in an on-line web format. Any and all printed copies of this material are dated as of the print date. Please make certain to review the material on-line prior to placing reliance on a dated printed version.