Travel reimbursement policy and instructions

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Download the Travel Expense Voucher form (Excel file).

1) Expenses of authorized travel for AIP will be reimbursed upon receipt of a properly prepared Travel Expense Voucher signed by the claimant and approved by an appropriate AIP supervisor or manager. Travel for federal grant activities must comply with OMB Circulars A-110 and A-122 and other federal legislation; however, all travel expenses (grant and non grant) must conform to the account coding instruction detailed in item 12 below.

Foreign grant travel is defined as any travel outside Canada and the United States and its territories and possessions. Foreign grant travel costs are allowable only when the travel has received prior approval by the granting agency. In addition, foreign grant travel (including to Canada) must comply with the Fly America Act (see. Federal Register / Vol. 63, No. 219 / Friday, November 13, 1998 / Rules and Regulations, http://osr.unc.edu/documents/federal_travel.pdf).

2) All pertinent information should be supplied on the expense voucher including:

  • The purpose of the trip
  • Dates and destinations (persons or institutions visited)
  • Details of the daily claims for expenditures relating to those visits
  • All meal receipts must include a listing of all the individuals on the receipt.

Unusual circumstances that affect the travel expenses should be fully explained (attach a separate sheet if necessary).

3) When travel benefits more than one cost objective an allocation of charges is required and must be documented explaining the rationale for the allocation.

4) When an AIP American Express Corporate Card is used, the traveler should list the expense in the upper part of the Voucher in the appropriate date and line block. Such expense should also be listed in the AMEX CHARGES - AIP CORP ACCOUNT section, with the name of the vendor as shown on the customer copy of the charge receipt. The total in the AMEX CHARGES - AIP CORP ACCOUNT section should be carried forward to Line 11 of the travel expense voucher.

5) A claim for air travel should normally not exceed the lowest available air fare. Intercontinental trips may be upgraded to business class and must be pre-approved by an officer. When reimbursement is claimed for more than economy or coach fare, a statement of the reason(s) for the excess expenditure must accompany the Voucher.

First class air travel normally may not be charged to federal grant (see # 12).

6) Reimbursement for the use of rented automobiles will be made only if circumstances make it impossible or impractical to use public transportation, or if the cost of the rental car is less than the cost of public transportation (for instance, with group travel).

7) Automobile usage is authorized for local travel (to an airport, for example). It is also authorized for longer distance travel only if the mileage charge plus related tolls, parking, and subsistence is less than the cost of public transportation.

8) Subsistence costs are to be claimed on the basis of actual, itemized expenditures unless a per diem arrangement has been preapproved. The traveler is expected to select medium priced hotels and restaurants and to be generally prudent in controlling travel costs. Any out of the ordinary expenditures must be justified by a statement accompanying the Voucher.

9) Telephone calling cards issued by AIP should be used first, then personal cell phones, to avoid excessive hotel phone charges.

10) Personal expenses such as laundry (except if on travel for more than seven consecutive days), travel insurance, valet services, and movies may not be claimed.

11) Travel advances must be accounted for on the voucher in the space provided. Travel costs in excess of advances will be reimbursed. In case the advance was greater than the travel costs, the traveler must attach a check when submitting the Voucher.

12) Documents to be attached include:

  • Transportation passenger coupon such as the original air travel ticket receipts (airline boarding passes should supplement the printed ticket receipt.)
  • Car rental receipt
  • Hotel receipt
  • Original merchant receipt for any expenditure greater than $25.00
  • All American Express Corporate Card receipts. These credit card receipts are required in addition to but not instead of the above referenced receipts for meals, hotels, and automobiles
  • Official supporting documentation (e.g., prospectus or program, indicating the dates of conferences and workshops, etc.)

Travel expenses classified as unallowable in OMB Circulars A 110 (paragraph 27) and A-122
(attachment B) must be separately accounted for regardless of whether the expense was grant related or not. Unallowable travel expenses are to be coded to the appropriate natural account and accounting distribution code 24, unallowable. This includes unallowable charges incurred for the benefit of a grant as well as for non grant activities. Account distribution code 00, general will no longer be used to record any travel expense classified as unallowable.

13) Unallowable travel costs include:

  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Entertainment expenses including amusements, diversion, and social activities and any costs directly associated with such costs (such as tickets to shows or sports events, meals, lodging, rentals, transportation and gratuities) are unallowable
  • Costs of promotional items and memorabilia, including models, gifts, and souvenirs
  • First class air travel (with exceptions, see attached)
  • Any part of the travel associated with lobbying
  • Fines and Penalties resulting from violations or failure to comply with Federal, State, and local laws and regulations are not allowable (such as traffic violations)

The expense, if allowable must also be reasonable.

14) Submission of the Travel Expense Voucher to the appropriate party for approval within five days of incurring expense:

  • By AIP Employee - Send to: Your Supervisor/Manager
  • By Board and Executive Committee Member - Send to: Treasurer (College Park)
  • By Other Committee Member - Send to: Your Committee's Staff Liaison
  • All Others - Send to: Treasurer (College Park)

Attachments

OMB Circular A 110, Paragraph 27, (allowable costs referenced in item 12 above):

27. Allowable costs. For each kind of recipient, there is a set of Federal principles for determining allowable costs. Allowability of costs shall be determined in accordance with the cost principles applicable to the entity incurring the costs. Thus, allowability of costs incurred by State, local or federally-recognized Indian tribal governments is determined in accordance with the provisions of OMB Circular A-87, "Cost Principles for State, Local, and Indian Tribal Governments." The allowability of costs incurred by non-profit organizations is determined in accordance with the provisions of OMB Circular A-122, "Cost Principles for Non-Profit Organizations."

The allowability of costs incurred by institutions of higher education is determined in accordance with the provisions of OMB Circular A-21, "Cost Principles for Educational Institutions." The allowability of costs incurred by hospitals is determined in accordance with the provisions of Appendix E of 45 CFR part 74, "Principles for Determining Costs Applicable to Research and Development Under Grants and Contracts with Hospitals." The allowability of costs incurred by commercial organizations and those non-profit organizations listed in Attachment C to Circular A-122 is determined in accordance with the provisions of the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) at 48 CFR part 31.

OMB Circular A 122, Attachment B (selected travel items referenced in item 12 above):

  • 2. Alcoholic beverages. Costs of alcoholic beverages are unallowable
  • 14. Entertainment costs. Costs of amusement, diversion, social activities, ceremonials, and costs relating thereto, such as meals, lodging, rentals, transportation, and gratuities are unallowable (but see paragraphs 13 and 30).
  • 16. Fines and penalties. Costs of fines and penalties resulting from violations of, or failure of the organization to comply with Federal, State, and local laws and regulations are unallowable except when incurred as a result of compliance with specific provisions of an award or instructions in writing from the awarding agency.
  • 18. Goods or services for personal use. Costs of goods or services for personal use of the organization's employees are unallowable regardless of whether the cost is reported as taxable income to the employees.
  • 25. Lobbying. (see Circular for complete text)
  • 34. Participant support costs. Participant support costs are direct costs for items such as stipends or subsistence allowances, travel allowances, and registration fees paid to or on behalf of participants or trainees (but not employees) in connection with meetings, conferences, symposia, or training projects. These costs are allowable with the prior approval of the awarding agency.
  • 55. Travel costs.

    a. Travel costs are the expenses for transportation, lodging, subsistence, and related items incurred by employees who are in travel status on official business of the organization. Travel costs are allowable subject to subparagraphs b through e, when they are directly attributable to specific work under an award or are incurred in the normal course of administration of the organization.

    b. Such costs may be charged on an actual basis, on a per diem or mileage basis in lieu of actual costs incurred, or on a combination of the two, provided the method used results in charges consistent with those normally allowed by the organization in its regular operations.

    c. The difference in cost between first-class air accommodations and less than first-class air accommodations is unallowable except when less than first-class air accommodations are not reasonably available to meet necessary mission requirements, such as where less than first-class accommodations would (i) require circuitous routing, (ii) require travel during unreasonable hours, (iii) greatly increase the duration of the flight, (iv) result in additional costs which would offset the transportation savings, or (v) offer accommodations which are not reasonably adequate for the medical needs of the traveler.

    d. Necessary and reasonable costs of family movements and personnel movements of a special or mass nature are allowable, pursuant to paragraphs 44 and 45, subject to allocation on the basis of work or time period benefited when appropriate. Advance agreements are particularly important.

    e. Direct charges for foreign travel costs are allowable only when the travel has received prior approval of the awarding agency. Each separate foreign trip must be approved. For purposes of this provision, foreign travel is defined as any travel outside of Canada and the United States and its territories and possessions. However, for an organization located in foreign countries, the term "foreign travel" means travel outside that country.