Travel and Expense Reporting Policy
Section: Travel & Expense Reporting Policy
Reimbursement for official travel will normally be made for expenses actually incurred. However, it is the traveler’s responsibility to document such expenditures in accordance with the procedures outlined below.
Employees are expected to minimize travel-related expenses by making the choice that results in the least expense to the University, providing this does not result in ineffective use of the employee’s working time or unnecessary inconvenience to the employee.
Employees should take advantage of any significant savings opportunities that may not be explicitly spelled out by these policies. If Federal funds are used for travel, for example, the Federal requirements are more restrictive than the University’s, the Federal requirements will control.
Approval of travel must be received prior to a trip by means of the Request for Travel Authorization form. Recurring in-state travel may be covered by one request not to exceed a one-month period. Prior approval of travel is essential for insurance purposes, as well as to assure proper financial control.
USE OF CREDIT CARDS
- University travelers should document transactions with a credit card whenever possible. The use of credit cards will, in most cases, eliminate the need for a cash travel advance. The University has made arrangements for employees to obtain American Express credit cards at no cost to the employees. Charges are billed to, and must be paid by, the employee. Charges for official business will be reimbursed to the employee using the Travel Expense Voucher form.
- Travel advances will not be issued when estimated expenses (excluding reimbursement for mileage when the employee’s personal automobile is used) are less than $50 and will be limited to a maximum of $300 for any domestic trip. Exceptions must be specifically authorized by the President.
- Advances to cover necessary and proper expenses for international travel will be considered on an individual basis.
- One cash advance is permitted per trip and will be issued no sooner than two business days prior to the trip.
- Only one cash advance per employee will be outstanding at any time.
- Travel advances must be accounted for on a Travel Expense Voucher form.
- A receipt for any unused portion of a travel advance must accompany the Travel Expense Voucher when submitted. Checks should be made payable to the “University of Maine at Machias”.
- Travel advances are not to be used to pay for airline tickets.
- No advance will be issued for expenses that are the responsibility of a third party organization, other University of Maine System campuses, or the Chancellor’s Office.
- Each level of approving authority is responsible for making the policies readily available to subordinates and monitoring compliance when authorizing travel or approving vouchers. Employees should exercise sound business judgement in implementing these policies and in responding to conditions that might warrant exceptions. Inappropriate claims will not be reimbursed and violation of these policies could result in disciplinary action by the University.
A. AIR TRAVEL (DOMESTIC)
- Payment for such air travel will ordinarily be made with the employee’s credit card. Alpine Travel Services of Milbridge will, upon receipt of an appropriately approved purchase order, bill air travel directly to the University.
- The University will only reimburse travelers for economy coach fares unless higher coach fares are approved in advance and in writing by the appropriate authority.
- Regularly scheduled airlines should be selected as carriers whenever possible.
- The University will not reimburse travelers for the purchase of travel insurance since the University already provides travel accident insurance.
B. AIR TRAVEL (INTERNATIONAL)
- Employees should follow the domestic air travel policy except that support documentation for exchange rate conversion must be provided the Travel Expense Voucher form.
- University travelers will be expected to use the lowest cost lodging appropriate to their travel.
- Original lodging bills must be attached to the Travel Expense Voucher.
- Meals, tips, room service, parking, laundry, and local telephone calls may be charged on the lodging bills, but must be separately reported on the Travel Expense Voucher form. Employees, where possible, should use their personal calling card for business related calls.
D. GROUND TRANSPORTATION
- Hotel courtesy cars and airport buses to central cities should be used, if they are available, and meet the traveler’s need. Sharing the taxis and limousines is encouraged where possible. Cars should be rented based upon a demonstrated need (i.e., no public transportation is available, several locations will be visited, etc.).
- Employees are responsible for ensuring that they are getting the lowest possible rates.
- Employees should refuel rental cars just prior to the return to that vendor, whenever possible and practical, to avoid the large surcharge on fuel. The cost of refueling will be reimbursed on the expense voucher. Employees will not be reimbursed for collision insurance offered through the rental company to cover deductible amounts in the rental company policy. The University already provides this coverage for authorized travel.
- Employees will not be reimbursed for any fines incurred when using rental, personal, or University cars.
USE OF UNIVERSITY VEHICLES
- University-provided motor pool vehicles should be used, when available.
USE OF PERSONAL VEHICLES
- When a traveler elects to use a personal vehicle in lieu of air transportation, expenses will be reimbursed only to the extent that they do not exceed the cost of economy air fare.
- Fees for bridges, highway tolls, ferries, parking, etc., incurred when conducting University business are reimbursable. If receipts are not available for these costs, travelers must submit a certification that the expenses were incurred for University business.
- Accidents involving rental, University, and personal vehicles while on official University business should be reported immediately to the proper authorities in compliance with local or state laws. If a University vehicle is involved, contact the Physical Plant Office as soon as possible. Accident report forms will be found in the glove compartment of all University vehicles.
- Employees will be reimbursed for reasonable amounts incurred for meals when traveling on University business. Employees will provide a receipt for any meal which exceeds $15 (including tip). Employees may use a credit card to pay for meals and provide the card member copy as record of the charge. An original restaurant receipt is permissable when payment is not made by credit card. Alcoholic beverages are not a reimbursable expense.
- Tips should not exceed 15% of the cost of any meal.
F. EXPENSE REPORTING
- Vouchers covering travel expenses should be completed and submitted to the approving authority within two business days upon returning from a trip. The employee must detail all expenses of the trip on a Travel Expense Voucher form to ensure trip integrity, thus enabling the approving authority to properly evaluate reasonableness. Supporting documentation (original receipts) must be provided by the employee for all air travel, lodging costs, and any meals exceeding $15. The card member copy record of charges must be attached for all charged expenses. Meals, room service, parking, and local telephone calls charged on the lodging bill must be separately reported on the expense voucher, itemized by day. If travel receipts are not obtainable or are lost, travelers must submit a certification that the expenses were incurred for University business.
- The appropriate approving authorities are the primary control for determining the accuracy, adequacy of support documentation, and reasonableness of all expenditures on expense vouchers.
- All Travel Expense Vouchers are subject to audit by internal and external auditors.
- The current charge-back rates for vehicle use are as follows:
- Sedans: $0.28/mile plus $5/day (per day charge excluded on vehicle assigned to UMM President)
- Wagon: $0.28/mile plus $5/day
- Vans: $0.40/mile plus $10/day
- 4X4 Pickup: $0.35/mile plus $5/day
- 4X2 Pickup (assigned to Brian Beal): $0.28/mile
- *The rate for use of one’s personal vehicle will be reimbursed at $0.28/mile.
Should anyone have any questions regarding these travel and expense reporting procedures, contact the Business Office.
*Revised – May 2001