Travel Reimbursement

    • Travel for college-related business by the college's faculty, staff, and students as well as for official business visitors, is a valuable and necessary activity. Expenses incurred for business travel are appropriate when properly documented, approved, and in compliance with college policies, procedures, and guidelines and IRS regulations. This policy outlines the requirements for obtaining pre-authorization and expense reconciliation and reimbursement for college-related travel.
    1. Adjusted Gross Income, I.R.C. § 62.
    2. Disallowance of Certain Entertainment, Etc., Expenses, I.R.C. § 274.
    3. Travel, Entertainment, Gift, and Car Expenses, I.R.S. Pub. 463.
    4. Travel-Related Reimbursements for State Employees, Utah Admin. Code, r. 25-7.
    6. Allowable expense: A necessary, reasonable, and appropriate expense that is incurred by a traveler under college policy.
    7. College Travel: Travel on official college business to a destination that requires a traveler to use commercial transportation, a motor pool vehicle, rental vehicle, or private vehicle. It does not include commuting to the traveler's regular workplace.
    8. Designated Travel Agency: The agency or provider contracted to assist in arranging travel, including all car rentals. The authorized agency could include the State Travel Office or other providers authorized to provide specific services.
    9. Expense Management System: An electronic tool used to automate the approval, processing, and reporting of travel expenses.
    10. Guest Travel: Non-college employees who have a business relationship with the college, such as job applicants, guest lecturers, visiting professors, or special consultants. Guest travel excludes employee spouses and dependents.
    11. Non-Overnight Travel: Business travel that does not require overnight lodging away from home.
    12. Mileage: Miles traveled for business purposes. It does not include miles traveled while commuting to the traveler's regular workplace.
    13. Mileage Reimbursement Form: A form used to claim and initiate reimbursement for mileage incurred while driving a private vehicle on college business.
    14. Overnight Travel: Travel that requires an overnight stay at a destination away from home.
    15. Per Diem: A set meal allowance in place of actual meal costs that travelers may receive according to the provisions listed in STARR.
    16. Rideshare: A private vehicle operating as a taxi or transportation service, e.g., Lyft and Uber.
    17. Schedule of Travel Allowances and Reimbursement Rates (STARR): A published and distributed separate document that is an addendum to this policy.
    18. Travel Office: Personnel charged with overseeing the travel functions of the college.
    19. Supervisor: The traveler's budget center manager (BCM). However, if the traveler is a BCM, this term refers to the BCM's supervisor.
    20. Traveler: An individual authorized to travel on legitimate college business.
    21. Travel Planners: Support staff located in departments throughout the college charged with making travel arrangements for college employees. Travel Planners must be setup as a delegate for the traveler in the Expense Management System.
    22. Travel Pre-approval: A pre-approval for authorization to travel on behalf of the college.
    23. Travel Expense Report: A form completed after an overnight trip to account for all business travel expenses and to calculate the amount reimbursable to the traveler or the amount the traveler may owe to the college.
    1. General Travel Procedures And Guidelines
      1. Compliance with IRS Rules
        1. The college's travel policy and procedures are designed to meet the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) definition of an accountable plan. The college does not report reimbursements that follow an accountable plan as taxable wages.
        2. Adherence to this policy and procedure ensures that business travel reimbursements will remain income tax-free.
        3. Failure to follow these procedures can result in the college reporting amounts as taxable income to the traveler.
      2. Pre-Approval
        1. All college travel must be pre-approved by the appropriate supervisor.
        2. Overnight trips require a travel pre-approval to be completed and approved before making travel arrangements.
        3. An overnight trip completed without pre-approval is considered a noncompliant travel event and will require approval from the appropriate vice president.
      3. Payment of Expenses
        1. Except for meals covered by per diem, travel expenses should be paid by the college using a college purchasing card whenever possible.
        2. Travel expenses may be paid using personal funds and reimbursed by the college when the use of a college purchasing card is not available or feasible.
        3. Except for per diem, the college will not pay for costs of a personal nature, nor will it pay more than actual costs incurred.
      4. Reimbursement by a Third Party
        1. When travel expenses are to be paid in part by a third party, only those expenses not paid from other sources will be reimbursed by the college, subject to the provisions of this policy.
        2. The college prefers that the third party reimbursement be made payable to the college.
          1. Payments made payable to the college should be deposited at the Cashier's Office as a refund of expenditure to the appropriate travel expense account used for the trip. A copy of the deposit must be attached to the travel expense report.
          2. The college will reimburse the traveler the full amount reimbursed by a third party, including paying meals at cost, with actual receipts, rather than per diem.
          3. Payment made payable to the individual should not be deposited with the college. A record of the expenses paid must be submitted with the travel expense report, and the transactions should be marked, paid by a third party.
      5. Damage, Theft, Vehicle Accidents, or Personal Injury
        1. Personal Auto and Property
          1. Damage to or theft of a personal vehicle or personal property is the responsibility of the individual or the individual's insurance company, and the value of such damaged or lost property is not an allowable expense.
          2. The cost of auto insurance and other vehicle maintenance costs are factored into and included in the college's mileage reimbursement rate.
        2. College Property
          1. Damage to or theft of college property should be reported promptly to local law enforcement officials and the college's Risk Management.
        3. Vehicle Accident and Personal Injury
          1. A vehicle accident involving a motor pool vehicle or rental car must be reported immediately to the local law enforcement agency, car rental company (if appropriate), and to the college's Risk Management.
          2. A vehicle accident resulting in a personal injury, regardless of the vehicle used, must also be reported immediately to the college's Risk Management.
      6. Guest Travel
        1. Whenever guests (non-college employees, excluding spouses or dependents) are authorized to travel on college business, reasonable travel costs, as described in this policy, will be reimbursed.
        2. For travel that is part of a contract, the department should include travel costs as part of the contract negotiations. The college prefers that the company or guest make the travel arrangements.
          1. When the company or guest makes the travel arrangements, the travel portion of the contract may be paid by submitting an invoice detailing the charges and any applicable receipts to Accounts Payable. If an invoice is not provided, the department may utilize the Check Request Form and attach the receipts.
          2. When the college makes arrangements, the department should work with the Travel Office to have the company or guest added to the Expense Management System.
          3. Once the company or guest has been added, a pre-approval can be submitted.
        3. Following the trip, an expense report should be submitted following the procedures outlined in this policy. For travel that is not part of a contract, such as employment candidates, the department should work with the Travel Office to have the guest added to the Expense Management System.
          1. Once the guest has been added, a pre-approval can be submitted.
          2. Following the trip, an expense report should be submitted following the procedures outlined in this policy.
        4. The college encourages departments to arrange for college guests to stay at area hotels that have rate and billing agreements with the college. A list can be found on the Travel website.
      7. Spouse or Dependent Travel
        1. Spouse or dependent travel expenses are not an allowable expense and are the personal responsibility of the traveler.
    2. Allowable Expense Guidelines
      1. Airline Travel
        1. Air travel is limited to coach or economy class seating to maximize available funding.
        2. Airline optional fees, such as seat upgrades, priority boarding, or a fee for expedited security screening, are considered personal preferences and are not allowable expenses.
        3. Travelers should arrange and purchase air travel through the designated travel agency unless other less expensive fares are available.
          1. When acquiring airline tickets from other sources, travel planners should be aware of and consider any ticket and flight restrictions or other risks such as tickets being non-refundable or changeable.
          2. Travelers must obtain airline ticket price quotes from the designated travel agency for cost comparison purposes and include them with the travel expense report.
        4. The traveler or travel planner is responsible for notifying the designated travel agency of any cancellations to redeem any available refund or applicable credit to use on a future trip.
        5. Preferred Airlines
          1. Airlines should not be selected solely based on the traveler's preference or desire to take advantage of frequent flyer programs.
          2. The traveler's supervisor is responsible for approving the airline and itinerary.
          3. The purchased ticket need not be the lowest-priced ticket available. The traveler and the supervisor should consider both the ticket price and the flight schedule when selecting a flight.
        6. Extended Night Stay Overs
          1. An airline may impose trip length restrictions such as a Saturday night stay over to receive a reduced fare. Travelers are not required to accept such ticket arrangements.
          2. If staying the extra night results in an overall lower trip cost (including the cost of extra lodging and meals), then a traveler is allowed to stay an extended time.
        7. Personal Time Before or After Traveling on College Business
          1. A traveler may elect to extend a business trip for personal reasons before or after the business trip dates.
          2. The travel expense report must include price quotes for both the business trip dates and the extended dates.
            1. If the fare for an extended trip is less than the business-only fare, the college will pay the fare.
            2. If the fare for an extended trip is greater than the business-only fare, the traveler must reimburse the college for the difference.
        8. Unused Airline Tickets and Credits
          1. Unused tickets remain the property of the college and should be refunded when possible.
          2. Airlines may also issue credits for unused tickets. When an airline gives credit, travel planners should account for it so that the credit can be applied against the cost of a future business ticket for the same traveler on the same airline.
        9. Baggage Fees
          1. The cost of a single bag is an allowable expense.
          2. Additional bags are not an allowable expense without a valid business justification.
      2. Ground Transportation Costs
        1. Out of State Travel
          1. Origin Transportation
            1. Local Mileage
              1. A traveler may claim reimbursement for private vehicle mileage to and from the Salt Lake International Airport at the current STARR rate on the travel expense report.
              2. Mileage is calculated from the place the traveler leaves or to which the traveler returns.
            2. Parking Fees
              1. Long-term parking fees are an allowable expense provided receipts are attached.
              2. Valet parking is not an allowable expense unless approved by the vice president.
              3. Short-term airport parking is not an allowable expense.
            3. Shuttle, Taxi, or Rideshare
              1. Shuttle, taxi, and rideshare fares are an allowable expense.
              2. The traveler must submit actual receipts or a schedule of itemized expenses with the travel expense report.
              3. Tips cannot exceed the tipping guidelines indicated in the STARR.
          2. Destination Ground Transportation
            1. Airport to Hotel and Return Ground Transportation
              1. Transportation between the destination airport and hotel is an allowable expense.
              2. A transportation allowance, outlined in the STARR, may be claimed for the trip from the airport to the hotel, and again for the return trip back to the airport.
              3. This allowance includes baggage handling and tips.
              4. Actual receipts (e.g., hotel shuttles, taxis, rideshare, mass transit systems) are required when using a college purchasing card and for reimbursement of ground transportation expenses above the allowance.
            2. Other Ground Transportation
              1. Additional ground transportation costs incurred while conducting official college business, regardless of the amount, must be supported with an original receipt or schedule of expenses.
              2. Side trips and non-business functions requiring transportation are not an allowable expense.
              3. Transportation for meals is an allowable expense.
        2. Rental Vehicles:
          1. Rental cars are not allowed unless specifically authorized, before the trip, by the supervisor as necessary to accomplish the business purpose of the trip.
          2. Rental vehicles must be arranged through the designated travel agency or directly with contracted car rental companies.
          3. If authorized, the rental car and estimated cost should be included on the travel pre-approval to be formally approved.
          4. A contracted rental car is only for use during the conference or business trip dates.
          5. A traveler desiring to extend a trip for personal reasons must obtain a separate rental car and not use a state contract for personal use.
          6. In addition to the basic rental car rate for the most economical size vehicle needed, fuel purchases are also an allowable expense. The detailed rental car receipt and fuel receipts must be retained and submitted with the travel expense report.
          7. Rates quoted when using a contracted rental car company identified in the STARR within the 50 states and District of Columbia include discount rates and insurance coverage. Separate insurance should not be purchased when picking up the car.
          8. Travelers may purchase other optional insurance (such as personal property) available on rental cars at the traveler's option, but this cost is not an allowable expense unless the optional insurance is approved in advance and purchased to protect college-owned equipment.
          9. If a traveler does not make rental car arrangements through the contracted providers noted in the STARR, or if the rental is outside of the 50 states and District of Columbia, the traveler must purchase both damage and liability insurance with the vehicle rental.
        3. Private and Motor Pool Vehicles
          1. General Vehicle Use Guidelines
            1. Before being allowed to drive a vehicle on college business or be reimbursed for mileage, individuals must be on the approved driver list.
            2. To be included on the approved driver list on file with Risk Management, an individual must:
              1. maintain a valid Utah driver license (or out of state license approved by Risk Management);
              2. complete the college's driver safety training program every two years;
              3. obtain initial supervisory approval to drive;
              4. submit a completed SLCC Mileage/Motor Pool Authorization Form to Risk Management; and
              5. abide by the college's Motor Vehicle Policy.
            3. Although local and in-state travel occurs more frequently than outof-state travel, supervisors should still assure that such travel is necessary and approved.
            4. Approval of the traveler's Mileage Reimbursement Form in SLCCBuy and acceptance of motor pool IDB charges will be evidence that the traveler received advance permission to drive either a private or motor pool vehicle on college business.
          2. Use of Motor Pool Vehicles
            1. A traveler may use a Motor Pool vehicle following the guidance in the college's Motor Vehicle Policy.
            2. Drivers should not drive college or state motor pool vehicles outside the State of Utah. If driving out of state, due to insurance and liability concerns, travelers should use a rental car.
            3. A college motor pool vehicle may be taken out of state with the advance, written approval from Risk Management. Drivers must obtain such approval at least 10 working days before the expected departure date.
            4. Departments will be charged for the use of motor pool vehicles according to the college’s or state’s motor pool rate schedules in effect at the time of travel.
          3. Use of a Private Vehicle
            1. Only one person in the vehicle may receive mileage reimbursement regardless of the number of people in the vehicle.
            2. The mileage reimbursement rate is inclusive of all costs incurred, e.g., fuel, insurance, and vehicle wear and tear.
            3. For local, non-overnight travel, mileage to be reimbursed is determined as follows:
              1. where a traveler leaves from their regular workplace and returns to that worksite, all mileage is reimbursable.
              2. where a traveler leaves from home to a destination other than their regular workplace or returns home directly from a destination other than their regular workplace, the reimbursable mileage is calculated by subtracting the traveler's normal commute (mileage from home to their regular workplace) from the total miles traveled.
        4. Mileage Reimbursement
          1. Except as listed below, mileage reimbursement will be at the lower rate listed in STARR.
            1. A college motor pool vehicle (excluding large vans or buses) is not available during the requested time.
            2. It is the traveler's responsibility to contact Fleet and Logistics to reserve or verify the availability of a vehicle for the day and time of travel.
            3. Non-Taylorsville Redwood Campus Employees
              1. Because college vehicles are not readily available at campus locations other than at Taylorsville Redwood, travelers based at other sites are eligible to be reimbursed at the higher mileage rate for driving a private vehicle without having to check the availability of a college motor pool vehicle.
              2. This exception does not apply to trips where the destination is more than 50 miles one-way from the traveler's regular workplace.
            4. Travelers Who Drive Regularly
              1. Taylorsville Redwood campus travelers who regularly drive as part of their job description may drive a private vehicle and receive reimbursement at the higher mileage rate without having to check the availability of a college motor pool vehicle.
              2. Driving a vehicle for college purposes an average of five times monthly is an indication the employee is a regular driver.
              3. A regular driver can be reimbursed at the higher rate even for a month containing fewer than five trips.
              4. This exception to the higher reimbursement rate does not apply to trips where the destination is more than 50 miles one-way from the traveler's regular workplace.
            5. Travel to the Airport
              1. Mileage incurred traveling to and from the airport or long-term parking location in a private vehicle will be reimbursed at the higher reimbursement rate.
          2. Documentation for Mileage Reimbursement
            1. Overnight Trips
              1. Claimed private vehicle mileage associated with overnight trips (including mileage to and from the airport) should be documented on the travel expense report.
            2. Non-Overnight Trips
              1. For non-overnight travel, travelers should document all reimbursable mileage on the Mileage Reimbursement Form.
              2. Mileage should be recorded in the applicable rate field for each day or trip, along with a brief explanation of the trip's purpose.
              3. Travelers granted an exception under this policy should document the exception on the Mileage Reimbursement Form.
        5. Private Vehicle Mileage Instead of Airfare
          1. If a traveler chooses to drive a private vehicle instead of flying, reimbursement will be at the lower mileage rate (per current STARR) or the airfare plus a ticket servicing fee and one checked baggage fee, whichever is less.
          2. The lowest, reasonable airfare price quote must be obtained from the designated travel agency and be included with the travel expense report.
          3. The traveler will be reimbursed for meals and lodging not to exceed the total of those expenses the traveler would have incurred if the traveler had flown.
          4. Exceptions for special circumstances require written justification and supervisory approval.
      3. Lodging
        1. Securing lodging should be accomplished early in the planning stage of the trip, and reservations that do not incur a cost may be made even before a travel requisition is approved.
          1. Staying in the conference designated hotel is preferred and is an allowable expense.
          2. If the conference hotel is fully booked, or there is a justified benefit, travelers may consider other lodgings, including homestays, e.g. Airbnb, with advance supervisory approval if the cost is reasonable and comparable to the conference hotel cost.
            1. Any associated costs, such as the need for a rental car or additional other transportation, must be taken into consideration and added to the cost in determining if the non-conference lodging option is reasonable.
            2. Justification for using non-conference lodging must show the calculated single-occupant rate compared to the conference hotel's single-occupant rate.
            3. This comparison and justification, including evidence of the conference hotel rate, should be included with the travel expense report.
          3. A traveler who had their lodging paid by another employee should explain that fact on their travel expense report.
          4. For non-conference travel, a reasonable rate for the city or locale visited will be accepted.
          5. For in-state lodging, it is encouraged that travelers request the state or government rate when making reservations.
          6. If a trip is canceled, it is the responsibility of the traveler or travel planner to contact the hotel to cancel the room to avoid any room charges.
        2. Lodging at Personal Property or Campground
          1. Travelers may elect to stay with friends or relatives instead of staying in a hotel and be reimbursed without receipts at the rate noted in the STARR.
          2. A traveler staying at a trailer park or campground in a personal or recreational vehicle will be reimbursed for the actual cost up to the rate noted in the STARR with a receipt from the facility.
          3. A traveler staying in their personally-owned residence does not qualify or lodging reimbursement.
      4. Meals and Per Diem
        1. Travelers may not use the college purchasing card to pay for meals, except for hosted meals.
        2. Travelers will be reimbursed for meals at the college's current per diem rates (refer to the STARR). The per diem rates are all-inclusive, meaning that taxes and tips are considered part of the rates.
        3. Overnight Travel
          1. Individuals on trips requiring overnight lodging are eligible to receive per diem based on the time a traveler leaves and returns to home according to the STARR and as provided in this section.
          2. Utah based employees traveling in-state will receive the in-state rate regardless of the city visited.
          3. Out-of-state travelers coming to Utah are eligible for the current GSA rate.
        4. Meals Included with Registration Fee
          1. Travelers will not receive per diem for any meals that are included in the cost of registration fees, regardless of whether or not the traveler eats the meal.
          2. Continental breakfasts and conference receptions are not considered meals.
          3. If the hosting entity cannot provide a meal meeting an employee's special dietary restrictions, the employee may receive a per diem for that meal.
          4. Complimentary Meals
            1. Per diem will not be reimbursable for any complimentary meals provided by a hotel or motel, another organization, a third party, or a co-worker.
            2. For purposes of this section, hotel continental breakfasts and airline meals or snacks are not considered meals.
            3. If cooked food is offered for breakfast by a hotel or motel, it is considered a meal and travelers will not be eligible for a per diem reimbursement regardless of whether or not the traveler eats the meal.
        5. Hosted Meals
          1. If the traveler hosts a guest for college business while traveling, the actual cost is an allowable expense.
          2. If a traveler hosts other college employees, amounts exceeding the per diem rate for that meal per hosted individual is not an allowable expense unless approved by the host's supervisor.
          3. The traveler hosting a meal must attach an itemized receipt to their travel expense report.
          4. Travelers being hosted will not be entitled to a per diem reimbursement for hosted meals.
        6. Alcoholic Beverages
          1. Alcohol is not an allowable expense.
      5. Conference Registration Fees
        1. After a trip is approved, college departments are encouraged to pay any registration fees early to take advantage of any fee discounts and to secure space for the traveler.
        2. Travelers should use a purchasing card to pay registration fees.
      6. Conference Events
        1. The college encourages attendance at included conference banquets and events.
        2. Other optional conference functions not included in the registration fee, unless they are pre-approved by the supervisor, are considered personal preference events and are not an allowable expense.
        3. If authorized, the event description and cost should be included on the travel pre-approval to be formally approved in advance of the trip.
      7. Incidental Costs
        1. Tips
          1. Tips for concierge, valet parking, and other personal preference services are not reimbursable.
          2. Meal tips are not reimbursable if the traveler claims per diem.
          3. If the traveler claims actual shuttle, rideshare, or taxi costs, tips can be included and are reimbursable.
          4. Refer to the STARR for tipping guidelines and limits.
        2. Telephone Calls and Internet Service
          1. Telephone calls made using a hotel phone are an allowable expense with valid business justification.
          2. Internet charges on a plane or hotel are an allowable expense with valid business justification.
        3. Other Miscellaneous Incidental Costs
          1. Other miscellaneous costs are an allowed expense with a valid business justification.
      8. Unallowed Expenses
        1. The college does not reimburse employees for:
          1. fines for parking or traffic violations;
          2. personal entertainment expenses;
          3. laundry services or other personal use purchases; and
          4. purchases with no college business purpose.
    3. Pre-approval and Expense Report Procedures
      1. Travel Pre-Approval Procedures
        1. The traveler or travel planner must submit a travel pre-approval in the expense management system and obtain approval before making travel arrangements for overnight travel.
        2. Non-overnight travel may be authorized verbally and will be evidenced after the fact when the Mileage Reimbursement Form is approved in SLCCBuy.
        3. The vice president for Finance and Administration will approve the college president's travel.
      2. Cash Advances
        1. The college does not issue cash advances except in instances where travelers do not have a college purchasing card or available personal funds.
        2. Travelers may request a cash advance check from the Travel Office by submitting a Travel Expense Report.
        3. Advances to travelers are limited to 90 percent of estimated out-ofpocket expenditures such as meals and ground transportation.
        4. Students involved with athletic teams or other college student activities may receive a 100 percent advance.
        5. Cash advances will be available the week before departure.
        6. The Expense Management System will apply the cash advance to the submitted travel expense report.
        7. Travelers must deposit any unused portion of the travel advance at the Cashier's Office and submit the deposit slip with the travel expense report.
      3. Travel Expense Report Procedures
        1. Overnight travelers must complete a travel expense report to document all expenses.
        2. The trip itinerary and all required receipts documenting expenses (or explanation of expenses if receipts are missing) must be attached.
        3. Travelers must submit all travel expense reports within 10 business days after returning.
        4. Travelers may request reimbursement for personal, prepaid travel expenses before the trip, such as for prepaid lodging costs and airline tickets by submitting a travel expense report.
        5. Travelers may request the college to prepay for expenses directly by contacting the Travel Office.
        6. For non-overnight travel, travelers should complete a Mileage Reimbursement Form to document daily trip mileage and any other related expenses such as parking.
      4. International Travel
        1. Special Approval
          1. Travel to international destinations, excluding Canada and Mexico, requires appropriate vice president pre-approval. Approval is obtained electronically in the Expense Management System.
          2. Travelers must submit the International Travel Emergency Contact and Health and Welfare Form and sign the International Travel Agreement with the travel pre-approval. International travel as part of Study Abroad or Faculty Exchange must comply with the Study Abroad and Exchange Policy.
        2. Special International Travel Expenses
          1. Expenses specific to approved international travel, such as passport fees, visa fees, required immunizations, and currency exchange fees are reimbursed to the traveler with receipts.
      5. Student Travel
        1. Students, other than intercollegiate athletic teams, traveling as representatives of the college must follow the student travel guidelines.
        2. Reimbursed travel expenses cannot exceed the college's reimbursement rates or guidelines.
        3. College employees traveling with student groups are subject to this policy and procedures.
      6. Athletic Department Travel
        1. Intercollegiate Athletic Team Travel
          1. Athletic teams traveling as a group (including department personnel) to participate in or observe an athletic competition must follow the athletic travel guidelines.
          2. Reimbursed travel expenses cannot exceed the college's reimbursement rates outlined in the STARR or guidelines.
        2. Non-Team Travel
          1. For non-team travel, such as attending a conference, department personnel must follow this policy and procedures.
        3. Recruitment of Athletes
          1. Athletic department personnel must follow the athletic travel guidelines when recruiting student athletes.
          2. Reimbursed travel expenses cannot exceed the college's reimbursement rates outlined in the STARR or guidelines.


Date of last cabinet review: October 20, 2020
The originator of this policy & procedure is the Controller’s Office. Questions regarding this policy may be directed to the originator by calling 801-957-4084.