About This Policy
University policy states that all travel and expense reimbursement requests should be submitted within 15 days. In accordance with IRS regulations, effective 7/1/18, all travel and expense reimbursements submitted after 60 days of the expense being paid will be included in the employee’s gross wages and reported on the employee’s current year W-2.
Statement of Purpose
These travel regulations have been developed to provide travelers on official University business with guidelines for cost-effective travel and ease/efficiency of recording travel expenses.
The establishment of regulations and procedures concerning approval for travel and reporting/reimbursement of expenses is the responsibility of the University President. These regulations apply to all travel regardless of the source of funds. Travel related to a grant or foundation is subject to all the regulations in this manual, except if provisions are more restrictive in the grant or foundation contract.
The travel regulations cover all employees, prospective employees, students and others authorized to travel on behalf of the University. Montclair State University Board of Trustees members are excluded from these regulations since, in accordance with the New Jersey Statutes Annotated 18 a: 65-5, Board Members “shall be entitled to be reimbursed for all reasonable and necessary expenses.”
Expenditures incurred for official travel are reimbursable in accordance with the travel regulations and procedures documented in this manual.
Approval and Compliance Guidelines
All travel requires prior approval from the supervisor and the fiscal agent, with overnight travel requiring prior written approval from the supervisor and the fiscal agent. Individuals traveling on University business are expected to exercise the same care in incurring expenses that prudent people would exercise if traveling on personal business at their own expense. Compliance with these regulations is the responsibility of the individual traveling on University business and the approving supervisor.
All overnight travel (such as conferences, conventions, staff training, workshops, seminars and other official business) requires prior written approval from the supervisor and fiscal agent of the traveler’s department. Travel outside the continental United States, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and that portion of Canada within 75 miles of the U.S. border requires prior written approval of the appropriate Vice President.
The Travel Request Authorization form (TR-1) must be completed for all overnight travel. The traveler must receive final approval prior to departure. The only travelers exempt from this requirement are the Admissions counselors when traveling for regular office/business purposes (recruiting). Incomplete forms or requests received where funds are insufficient will be returned to the fiscal agent.
The traveler’s immediate supervisor (Department Chair, Director, etc.) must sign and approve the travel as indicated on the TR-1 form. The signatory is attesting to the appropriateness of the travel for University purposes and that all travel regulations are being adhered to.
The fiscal agent for the account from which the travel expenditures will be charged must also sign the TR-1 form. This signatory acknowledges that the travel is an appropriate University expense from the account and confirms the availability of funding.
For any foreign travel (travel outside the continental United States, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and that portion of Canada within 75 miles of the U.S. border) the appropriate Vice President must sign the TR-1 form. Exceptions to any of the travel regulations detailed in this manual must be approved by the President or designee on the TR-1 form.
Upon presentation of the approved TR-1 to the Accounting Office, the approved amount will be encumbered against the designated financial account.
Any travel request (TR-1) that exceeds the approved rates and/or is not in compliance with the regulations set forth in this manual must have an attached, written justification for the requested expenditure. The request must be approved in advance (initialed separately) by the supervisor and fiscal agent and is subject to review and approval of that division’s Vice President with final approval by the Vice President for Finance and Treasurer.
B. Allowable Expenses
Reimbursable travel expenses are limited to those related directly to transacting the official business of the University. Only the actual and necessary expenses incidental to the ordinary comfort of the traveler in the performance of his/her official duties will be reimbursed. Reimbursement requests for situations not specifically covered under these regulations or exceeding the authorized rates may be granted in accordance with the procedures in this manual.
C. Travel Arrangements
Travelers should make reservations as early as possible to take advantage of advance purchase discounts. However, no reservations should be made prior to the TR-1 form being completed and approved.
If the traveler has any questions, problems and/or suggestions when making travel arrangements, he/she should contact the Controller in the office of the Vice President for Finance and Treasurer for guidance and assistance.
All travel should be by the most economical, direct and usually traveled route. Any travel by an indirect route, or by other than the most economical means must be justified on the Travel Request Authorization form (TR- 1). The traveler must request the least expensive airfare available that is both reasonable and consistent with the purpose of the trip. Non-coach ticketing must be approved in advance by the appropriate division vice president.
Travelers should be cautious when purchasing specially discounted airfares, such as non-refundable and advance-purchase fares. Since the airline tickets are non-transferable and in most cases must be used within one year from date of flight, these tickets become a problem if not used on the dates and times originally reserved. If a trip is cancelled for reasons beyond the traveler’s control, reimbursement shall be made to the traveler for the airfare. Any expense for making changes to a traveler’s ticket shall not be reimbursed unless the reason for the change is beyond the traveler’s control. Any expense related to a change in travel plans caused by family or work emergency must be documented and approved by the division’s Vice President and forwarded to the Vice President for Finance and Treasurer for final review and approval.
Rates for lodging will be determined based on the destination of the trip. To access all pertinent rates, visit the GSA website. When an employee attends a recognized conference and obtains overnight accommodations, the traveler shall be reimbursed for the actual cost of the room, up to the cost arranged by conference officials. Costs to upgrade rooms to luxury and upscale categories shall not be reimbursed. When lodging is shared with others, reimbursement shall be limited to the employee’s share of the cost.
For one-day conferences in locations not involving air or rail travel, reimbursement for lodging shall be allowed if the conference begins prior to 9:00 a.m. and the traveler would have to leave home at an unreasonable time in the morning to arrive at the location. Under these circumstances, reimbursement shall be allowed in accordance with the guidelines set forth in this manual.
If a traveler decides to lodge in a private residence with family or friends while traveling on business, no reimbursement shall be made to the traveler for lodging costs.
If a scheduled trip is cancelled, it is the traveler’s responsibility to cancel the hotel room. Any expenses for hotel cancellations shall not be reimbursed unless the reason for the cancellation was beyond the traveler’s control. If the cancellation was due to a family or work emergency, the incident must be documented, approved by the division’s Vice President and forwarded to the University Controller for review and approval of the cancellation expense.
Car rentals, including all gasoline and insurance costs connected with the car rental, may be permitted when it has been determined in advance to be advantageous in the conduct of University business. The cost for a car rental may not exceed the actual per-day cost of a mid-size car unless four or more employees are traveling. In this instance, a full-size car may be rented. Travelers are encouraged to purchase liability insurance related to the rental and will be reimbursed for the expenditure. When renting an automobile, with approval, employees should use their corporate American Express cards. American Express covers the employee for the collision/loss damage waiver.
Personal Car Usage
Employees shall be reimbursed for mileage accrued on a personal automobile when the employee engages in day trips or work assignments. Mileage shall be calculated from the University or home, whichever is the shorter distance. If travel occurs on a non-work day, mileage shall be calculated from the traveler’s home. Mileage will be reimbursed at rates approved by the Internal Revenue Service and can also be found on the IRS website. Parking and toll expenses shall also be reimbursed to the traveler at the actual cost. Any single expenditure exceeding $10.00 must be documented with the appropriate receipt. For overnight trips where the traveler prefers to use his/her own automobile, mileage, tolls,and parking shall be reimbursed but may not exceed the cost of the prevailing air or rail rates to the destination.
A valid driver’s license, vehicle registration and insurance are required when using a personal automobile. Privately owned motorcycles shall not be used on University business.
The same regulations and procedures detailed under the Air Travel section are applicable to rail travel. If a traveler prefers to utilize rail transportation instead of air transportation, the traveler must request the least expensive available fare that is both reasonable and consistent with the purpose of the trip. If the rail fare exceeds the cost of the prevailing airfare to the same destination, then prior written approval must be obtained from the appropriate Vice President.
Taxi, Limousine, and Private Car Service
Taxi charges are permitted from the University or from home to the airport or train station and vice versa. The traveler should use the most economical means of transport to the airport or train station. Travel to and from airports or train stations and downtown areas shall be confined to hotel shuttle buses, and airport or train car services whenever such service is less costly than a taxi.
The traveler may drive a personal automobile to and from the airport or train station and park it there while on business. However, reimbursement shall not be made for tolls, overnight parking fees (long-term parking), and mileage (to and from the airport or train station) if the expense is greater than the cost of other direct round trip transportation from the University or the traveler’s residence. The traveler is expected to use the least expensive transportation, without consuming excessive travel time. If an employee is driven to and from the airport or train station by a relative or friend, mileage reimbursement to the employee is allowed.
University-owned vehicles may be used for University travel. All operators are required to have a valid driver’s license and proof of insurance. Operators must drive with care and observe all vehicle regulations and are responsible for fines due to motor vehicle infractions. Driver abstract will be obtained from the University Controller. Provide a copy of your driver’s license to the Controller in CO-226 (Form RM-100).
To secure a University-owned vehicle, the requestor must contact Transportation Services. If the employee is involved in an accident with the University vehicle, he/she should contact University Police and then complete form (RM-1) that is available in the University Controller’s office.
Meals and Entertainment
For conventions, conferences, staff training, workshops, training seminars and other authorized trips requiring overnight lodging, a per diem meal allowance shall be reimbursed to the traveler. Rates for meals will be determined based on the destination of the trip. To access all pertinent rates, visit the GSA website. If the city you are visiting is not listed, utilize the current approved per diem rates for the nearest city. Only the per diem amount will be paid to the traveler regardless of the amount actually spent by the traveler. Receipts are not required. If a meal is included in the registration/conference fee, or if paid for by someone else, reimbursement shall not be made.
Meals for one-day trips are reimbursable at the per diem rate for any meal occurring during work hours.
Meetings with Outside People
Meetings and other events involving the purchase of food and beverage in conjunction with the employment of new personnel, meetings with consultants, legislators or other outside parties who are only available during the meal hour are reimbursable. Only a Vice President may request the President’s authorization for an event in advance of the event. Reimbursement should be limited to those who must meet and not necessarily all who are in attendance. The per diem meal rate will prevail. Any exceptions require approval of the President or designee. Original detailed receipts must be presented.
Nontravel expenditures for entertainment and events
Please refer to Entertainment and Approved Receptions and Events for policy on receptions and events.
Group travel is defined as ten or more persons traveling to a destination for a common purpose such as training meetings, retreats and athletic travel. The individual planning the group travel is responsible for ensuring consistency with the regulations outlined in this travel manual.
Group travel must be authorized by every fiscal agent involved and by the supervisor of the most senior employee traveling with the group. Travelers in the group must pay for their own expenses and each must submit an expense report for reimbursement. In extenuating circumstances (i.e. student groups) it may not be feasible for each individual to pay their own expenses. This requirement may be waived with the prior approval of the Controller.
Daily Travel (non-overnight)
Daily travel to meetings, workshops, etc. should be made known by the traveler to the immediate supervisor. Expenditures incurred for transportation (mileage, tolls, and parking) are reimbursable in accordance with the regulations and procedures documented in this manual.
Registration fees for conventions, workshops or official meetings are reimbursable. Original receipts for the registration fees or copy of the registration form must be submitted with the Travel Expense invoice form for the traveler to be reimbursed.
The University’s corporate charge card vendor is American Express. The card shall be ordered by the office of the Controller after the employee completes the required application. The employee shall be notified upon receipt of the card from American Express.
Whenever feasible, the traveler is expected to use the corporate card to pay for expenses such as registration fees, air/rail travel, lodging, car rental and other allowable expenses as detailed in this manual; all other expenses are the responsibility of the traveler. The card cannot be used for personal spending.
Cardholders are required to abide by all regulations detailed in this manual. Whenever a Travel Request Authorization form (TR-1) is required (as explained in this manual), no expenses shall be charged on the corporate card prior to approval of the TR-1 form.
Cardholders are responsible for personally paying their corporate charge card bill directly to American Express promptly each month. All corporate charge bills are due and payable in full upon receipt and must be received by 12:00 noon the eighth of the following month to be credited. Extended payments will not be accepted. If full payment is not received in 60 days from the statement date, delinquent cardholders will receive a written warning from American Express. Failure to pay the account promptly may result in a notification being sent by the Controller to the employee’s supervisor and suspension or cancellation of charge privileges.
Cardholders are required to complete the Travel Expense Invoice form within 15 calendar days of returning from the trip and shall be reimbursed for all allowable expenses. Reimbursement shall be made in time for the cardholder to pay American Express directly. Original receipts must be attached to the Travel Expense Invoice form.
A lost or stolen corporate card must be reported as soon as the traveler discovers it is missing. To report a lost or stolen card, please call American Express at 1-800-528-2122 and notify the office of the Controller.
Upon termination of employment, a corporate cardholder must return the card to his/her immediate supervisor who will send it to the office of the Controller. The terminated cardholder must also promptly reconcile, account for and pay any remaining balance.
Upon presentation to the Accounts Payable office of an approved Request for Travel Authorization form (TR-1) and invoices for registration fees, travel tickets, etc., prepayments shall be made on behalf of the traveler. No prepayments shall be made on behalf of American Express corporate cardholders.
There are no cash advances. The American Express Corporate Card is available to employees to use and receive reimbursement.
Expense Report Completion
Daily Travel (non-overnight)
Reimbursement for this travel must be made on the Travel Expense Invoice form. The purpose of the business expense must be noted. Requests for reimbursement must be submitted within 15 business days of returning from the trip. Final reimbursement for the fiscal year must be submitted no later than 15 business days after the close of the fiscal year.
When reimbursement is for approved travel (on form TR-1), upon return to the University the traveler must complete a Travel Expense Invoice form. All expenses must be itemized and the original receipts must be attached. Should documentation be in the form of a personal check, a copy of the paid check or copy of your bank-provided check image should be presented. Any prepayments (e.g. registration fees) made by the University on behalf of the traveler must be included on the Travel Expense Invoice form and shown as an expense that was prepaid by the University. The traveler must sign and submit the form within 15 business days of returning from the trip to the appropriate supervisor and fiscal agent for approval and signature, and then to Accounts Payable for processing.
- Air/Rail – Original passenger coupon or ticketless travel documentation, and airline boarding pass.
- Hotel – Original invoice showing breakdown of all charges including lodging, taxes, telephone, etc., including proof of payment.
- Car Rental – Original rental agreement, including proof of payment.
- Parking, Tolls – Original receipt for charges in excess of $10.00.
- Ground Transportation – Original receipt for charges (taxi/limousine/bus) in excess of $10.00.
- Meals – Meal receipts are not required since per diem rates apply. For conference travel, brochure must be submitted.
Other Reimbursable Expenses
- Expenses that are commonly reimbursable by the University to the traveler include:
- Air freight/overnight delivery
- Telephone calls (personal – one per day not to exceed $5)
- Facsimile/computer services
- Tips (within a reasonable 15% to 20% range)
- Car rental insurance
Expenses that are not reimbursable by the University include, but are not limited to:
- Alcoholic beverages
- Laundry/dry cleaning
- Excess baggage
- Golf (and other recreation)
- Health club facilities
- Lost baggage
- Flight insurance
- Minibar refreshments
- Parking fines or traffic tickets
- Shoe shine
- Spouse/companion travel
- Car wash
- Personal entertainment
- Telephone calls on aircraft
- NJ sales tax
- Cancellation and flight change fees for non-business or non-emergency reasons
Unanticipated costs must conform to the guidelines within.
If the traveler incurs unanticipated expenses that exceed either the approved travel request and/or the approved rates, a written justification must be attached to the Travel Expense Invoice form. The supervisor and fiscal agent must approve (initial separately) exceptional expenses. Reimbursement for these expenses is subject to review and approval by the division’s Vice President and by the University Controller or the Vice President for Finance and Treasurer.
Reimbursement to Traveler
Eligible expenses will be reimbursed upon submission of the Travel Expense Invoice form to Accounts Payable. Travelers can expect payment within 15 business days of receipt of appropriate documentation by the Accounts Payable office.
Please refer to “Advertising For Personnel Searches Regulation”
Frequent Flyer Awards
Travelers shall be allowed to retain all frequent flyer awards offered by the airlines. However, travelers may not select a higher priced flight in order to participate in a carrier’s frequent flyer program or take unnecessary trips to earn more mileage credits. It is the traveler’s responsibility to track frequent flyer awards directly with the airlines. Any tax liability resulting from these awards shall be the sole responsibility of the traveler earning such benefits.
All regulations detailed in this manual will apply to international travel. Generally, travel is prohibited to countries listed on the U.S. Department of State’s travel list. It is the traveler’s responsibility to obtain all necessary entry documentation and the local currency. Travelers are advised to change all local currency back to U.S. dollars before returning home to take advantage of favorable exchange rates. Expenses incurred and paid directly by the traveler are converted at the actual exchange rate, supported by foreign currency exchange receipts or charge/credit card billing statements. When completing the Travel Expense Invoice form, all expenses must be recorded in U.S. dollars, with the currency conversion rate clearly noted on the expense report and on all supporting receipts. Certain international travel may require special non-customary expenses. Prior approval from the University Controller’s office is required.