This is a statement of Seton Hall University policy on business, travel and entertainment expenses. It is applicable to all University employees. Its purpose is the following:
- To furnish guidelines and to assist in fulfilling the requirements of both the University and the Internal Revenue Service regarding ordinary, necessary and reasonable business travel and related expenses.
- To furnish guidelines for those who incur, authorize and/or approve such expenses.
- To provide instructions for the reporting and substantiation of such expenses incurred.
1:0 Travel- General
- University personnel may, from time to time, be required to travel to accomplish their assigned duties. Efforts should be made to minimize expenses associated with such travel and to be reasonable in all expenditures. Individuals are expected to exercise discretion and good judgment and the same degree of prudence as if the expenditure were a personal one.
- It is the University policy to reimburse employees only for actual, necessary and reasonable expenses incurred when traveling on University business. Unreasonable or excessive charges, charges of a personal nature (such as movie rentals, sightseeing tours, etc.) and charges not directly related to and necessary for the conduct of University business should not be reported for reimbursement or payment.
- Expenditures for travel, overnight accommodations, and car rentals will only be reimbursed after such expense has been incurred and approved. Advance funding will not be provided by the University except for student groups.
1:2 Grants and contracts
Travel expenses to be charged to externally sponsored grants or contracts must be in full compliance with the specific terms and restrictions of the grant or contract, as well as this policy. Primary responsibility for such compliance must be borne by the University cost center manager of the account established to administer the grant or contract.
2:0 Travel Arrangements
- To establish a uniform travel system, the university has chosen to consolidate all travel arrangements with one agency. The university believes this consolidation will provide travelers with superior levels of service, convenience and significant dollar savings.
- The agency will book and confirm all requests for airlines, hotels, car rental, etc., in accordance with University policies. For out of town travel, a purchase order number and cost center number must be provided to the agency. While airline costs will be paid in advance, hotels and car rentals must be paid for at the point of service.
3:0 Air Travel - Domestic: (U.S., Bermuda, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Caribbean islands, and Canada)
- All air travel should be booked through the University's approved travel agency.
- Our policy objective is to purchase air travel at the lowest expense level consistent with good business practice. This objective can be accomplished by:
- Planning air travel as far in advance as possible
- Purchasing air travel at least 30 days in advance
- Scheduling all travel at least seven days in advance
Coach class of service will be selected by our agency. You should provide our agency with your destination, arrival and departure requirements. Your requested arrival and departure times should allow the travel service a minimum of two hours of flexibility in which to arrange for the most economical travel.
In order to place the full responsibility for the most economical air travel with our agency, travelers are not to request a particular airline or specific flight.
If our agency should come back with an offer of an alternate schedule outside your requirements, you should decide whether your schedule can be adjusted.
Employees should not request Business or First Class except to meet extraordinary, specific business needs. This decision is to be made by the employee's Division Head.
In many instances, air travel can be made less expensive by taking connecting flights rather than direct flights. Consideration should be given to the time of day and length of time involved.
Superiors should limit the number of employees from the University on a single flight, where possible.
Employees are not permitted to keep any benefits of a non-cash nature received from Frequent Flyer and other promotional programs offered by the industry. Under no circumstances will an employee be permitted to alter cost-efficient travel plans made by the travel agent in order to achieve these benefits. Such benefits are directly accrued to the University and should be used whenever possible on their next trip.
Employees must return to the University all cash and other refunds with monetary value received from airlines when they are offered, should they be denied boarding (bumped) from overbooked flights or any other nature.
Employees are not entitled to reimbursement for the purchase of travel insurance.
4:0Air Travel - International
Employees should follow Domestic Air Travel policies with the following exceptions:
Business Class service will be booked for all non-domestic flights which exceed four hours. Exceptions to this policy require the approval of the appropriate Division Head.
Flights involving international locations as both the departure and the destination cities (e.g., London to Paris) should be booked as coach unless the length of travel exceeds seven (7) flight hours. Exception to this is if the price of the ticket on Business Class originating in the U.S. permits Business Class travel at no additional cost.
Travelers may be advised by our agency as to areas of the world where travel may be unsafe due to international terrorism, as well as specific carriers that should be avoided. Employees are not permitted to override these advisories.
Employees who are required to obtain a Passport for international business travel will be reimbursed for both initial and/or renewal fees through completing a Travel and Expense Report.
When University business makes it necessary for an individual to stay away from home overnight or longer, the University will provide reimbursement of reasonable lodging charges.
A single room with private bath in a business class hotel/motel is the University standard. Use of a double room, where possible, is encouraged. Use of a deluxe hotel/motel is rarely justified and should be approved by the appropriate Division Head. Suite or luxury accommodations cannot be reimbursed unless prior Division Head approval is received or other rooms are not available.
All hotel/motel reservations should be made through our travel agency. If this is not possible, the traveling employee has the responsibility of securing reasonable lodging cost, as outlined herein.
Our travel agent negotiates rates for employees at selected hotels/motels in many major cities. Employees should stay in these hotels whenever possible. Deviations requested by the employee will be permitted in certain circumstances (e.g., when attending special schools, seminars, and meetings with clients).
Whenever possible, rooms should be reserved in hotels with a corporate rate. To avoid "no-show" billing, guaranteed reservations must be canceled.
Other guidelines include the following:
- To take advantage of corporate rates, hotels may require an identification number at the time of check-in. These are provided by our travel agent.
- Rates lower than corporate rates may be available in a specific locale or because of special promotions or special conferences/seminars. The employee is responsible for ensuring he/she is not charged more than the quoted rate or that the lowest available rate is offered when checking in.
- When canceling a reservation, make a record of the cancellation number or the name of the hotel employee taking the cancellation. This procedure helps resolve "no show" billing disputes. Cancellation of hotel reservations is the responsibility of the employee.
- When replacement accommodations are required, our agent will handle both the replacement reservation and the cancellation.
- Our travel agent guarantees reservations. If the employee makes the reservation, guaranteeing the reservation is her or his responsibility.
6:0 Transportation at Destination
Employees will be reimbursed for transportation costs incurred while away on business.
Employees are expected to use the most economical facilities appropriate under the circumstances and are therefore encouraged to use (in order of desirability):
- courtesy cars,
- airport limousines or buses whenever possible rather than
- taxis or
- rental cars. Sharing of vehicles is encouraged, where possible.
Many hotels have courtesy cars that will pick up the traveler at an airport and take him back for no charge. Employees are urged to take advantage of this free service whenever possible
Airport limousines or buses are the second least expensive mode of transportation from an airport to a hotel and should be used whenever possible. At major airports (New York, Chicago, St. Louis, Dallas, etc.) such services are quick as a taxi and decidedly less expensive. This does not include chauffeured limousines, which are much more expensive.
Where airport limousines or buses are not available, a taxi is often the most economical and convenient mode of transportation available. The use of taxis is preferred over rental cars, but the employee must use judgment. Individual receipts from taxis are often hard to obtain, so explain all such charges on a trip-by-trip basis in the space provided on the expense account form designated "Purpose of Trip."
6:6 Rental Cars
Only if other means of local transportation are unavailable, impractical or uneconomical may an employee use a rental car. In particular, trips that involve travel only to and from a downtown location very seldom require an employee to rent an automobile.
Rental cars should, if possible, be arranged by the University's travel agent to secure the best rate possible.
If a rented car is used, the most economical car adequate for business requirements must be used.
The physical condition of the rental car is to be examined prior to driving it from the car rental lot. Report damaged areas immediately to the car rental agency and document them to avoid possible litigation at a later date for damages to the car for which the University is not responsible.
If an employee rents a car in the U.S. while on University business, that employee need not purchase collision and auto liability insurance offered through the rental company as the University's auto insurance policy covers University rented vehicles.
In countries outside the U.S., employees should take out extra insurance offered by the local rental agency.
Employees should refuel rental cars just prior to return to the vendor whenever possible and practical to avoid any surcharge on fuel. The cost of refueling will be reimbursed on the travel and expense report.
Private Vehicles/Local Transportation:
Individuals will be reimbursed for mileage of their personal car while on business, at the current mileage allowance. Reimbursement covers all expenses except tolls and parking.
Reimbursement for the cost of vehicle parking fees and bridge, road and tunnel tolls shall be allowed.
For long distance travel, prior approval must be obtained from proper supervision for permission to use a personal car in lieu of public transportation. These expenses will be reimbursed only to the extent that they do not exceed the cost of economy common carrier (air, train, bus) fare (including any discount fare). A quote of comparable rate must be obtained from our Travel Agency before making this decision
Appropriate supervisors may give authorization provided:
- such use does not significantly increase travel time.
- the employee has a valid driver's license.
- the employee has adequate insurance protection.
- other means of transportation are unavailable or impractical.
University provided cars may be used when assigned while traveling locally on University business. If not, a personal car is expected to be used, with the University reimbursing the employee, as noted above.
When a rental vehicle is used instead of a personal car for local business, a statement justifying the use of the rental should be attached to the travel and expense report. Such use should be approved in advance.
Employees will not be reimbursed for any fines (moving or parking) incurred when using rental, University, or personal cars on University business.
Accident Reporting: Accidents involving rental, University, and personal cars shall be reported immediately consistent with local/state governmental laws to the proper authorities. A report should be made to the Office of Public Safety and Security, with a copy to the University's Safety Coordinator/Risk Agent following guidelines established by the University.
Traveling to an airport on University business, employees should weigh the cost (mileage reimbursement and parking) of using a personal vehicle versus a taxi or limousine and also reasonably consider convenience. A limousine should be arranged through the University's travel agent. Reimbursement for taxi or limousine fares will be allowed.
The University will reimburse employees for individual meal expense when traveling overnight on University business. Employees are expected to make every effort to minimize meal expense. The expense of one's meals should be recorded and reported daily as breakfast, lunch and dinner.
- Normally, breakfast is authorized only when the preceding night was spent away from home in a hotel/motel. Dinner is normally authorized only when the traveler will be staying away from home in a hotel/motel that same night.
Employee reimbursement for meals where the employee is not traveling overnight on University business can only occur if the meal is for a business related purpose. To be considered business related, the meal must be with at least one business associate, vendor representative, customer or employee and must have a business purpose and benefit. The meal must not be considered lavish or extravagant. Expense reporting must follow specific Internal Revenue Service guidelines (see Expense Reporting and Receipt Requirements).
9:0 Special Functions/Student Related Entertainment
University funds may only be expended for entertainment or social functions that are deemed beneficial to the University, have a business purpose, and have been submitted for approval to the requestor's division head. Division heads will submit their own such requests to the President for his approval.
Approval of such requests should be based minimally on the following factors:
- Funds are available in the requestor's budget.
- At least one half of those in attendance will not be members of the University. Members of the University include students, faculty, staff and administrators.
- The request for such expenditure of University funds has been made prior to the entertainment. Funding for entertainment that has been properly approved will be reimbursed after the entertainment has been completed. Advance funding will not be provided by the University.
Student Related Travel/Entertainment:
Activities involving student travel/entertainment such as athletic/club travel and student group seminars/retreats may receive travel advances.
All requests for student travel, overnight accommodations, meals and other related expenses requiring the expenditure of University funds must have been submitted to the requestor's division head in writing for approval.
See Expense Reporting and Receipt Requirements for the requirements for expense reimbursement.
10:0 Expense Reporting
All employee expense reports must be submitted for approval in accordance with Policy 104.0, Section C.
The employee and the approving individual are responsible for the preparation of expense reports which reflect reasonableness, completeness as to supporting receipt documentation, business purpose, and proper expenditures, all in accordance with University policy. The approving individual should either amend reports submitted or return them to the employee where improprieties or inaccuracies exist or required supporting documentation is missing. Once approved, the report should be sent to accounts payable.
The form used to report expenses or request reimbursement should be the Expense Report contained in the Lotus spreadsheet package (or a comparable form). It can be prepared on a computer or manually (typewritten or in ink). It must be manually signed and dated by the employee and the approving individual.
The Expense Report should reflect at the top the employee's name, mailing address, department, cost center number, P.O. number, and period covered. In the space provided, the expense report should reflect, in accordance with IRS regulations, each separate expense by day of a business trip, such as transportation, lodging, meals, telephone, etc. (detailed lodging receipts should be broken down for reporting purposes); and it should reflect the dates of departure and return, the number of days gone, and the business purpose of the trip.
Entertainment, which includes the cost of reimbursable meals while not away on a business trip (see Meals/Entertainment discussions), should be described on an expense report in the following manner, as dictated by IRS regulations:
- Nature of each separate expense
- Amount of each separate expense
- Persons entertained and their occupations or other information which shows their business relationship to the employee
- Business purpose (business reason or the business benefit gained or expected to be gained from the entertainment).
Private Vehicle/Local Transportation documentation on an expense report should include, in accordance with IRS regulations, the amount of each separate expense, mileage for each business use of a personal car, date of use, name of city or other destination, and the business purpose for the expense or use of the car.
Expense reports with supporting Receipts (see below) should be submitted on a timely basis, not later than 10 calendar days following returned from a business trip.
The senior level person attending a group business meeting with employees is required to charge the expense. Check splitting is prohibited. The expense must be approved by the appropriate individual. If necessary, distributions to various departmental accounts and budgets can be provided on the expense report. Documentation must be supplied as to business purpose, names and affiliation of those attending.
11:0 Receipt Requirements
Original receipts required to support expenditures on an expense report should be attached to the expense report prior to submission to one's immediate supervisor. In accordance with IRS regulations, receipts are always required to support lodging expense. These receipts must be itemized lodging bills, not credit card receipts. Receipts for other items are only required where the individual expense item is $75 or more.
If, for any reason, an original receipt is lost and/or unobtainable, the employee should submit a signed statement to that effect.
University staff traveling with student groups (athletic teams, band, debate, etc.) should provide receipts for all expenditures as noted in this policy with this exception: funds given to students on a per diem basis for meals and other expenses should be evidenced by a listing of all students receiving such funds with the receipt evidenced by the student's signature.
FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH IRS REGULATIONS NOTED IN 10:0 (EXPENSE REPORTING) AND 11:0 (RECEIPT REQUIREMENTS) COULD RESULT IN TAXABLE INCOME TO THE EMPLOYEE
12:0 Disallowed Expenses
Personal gifts and/or luncheons/dinners for employees (for instance, as is customary on holidays, Christmas, birthdays, Secretary's Day, etc.) which have no specified business purpose, are not to be charged as an expense to the University. Such items are a personal expense to be paid for by the individual purchasing the gift or providing the luncheon/dinner for the employee.
Payment for attendance at special events of the University (i.e., sports dinners, Many-Are-One, etc.) is the personal expense of the employee, unless directly related to the conduct of business in accordance with the individual's job responsibility at the university.
While employees may request reimbursement of other reasonable, actual and necessary expenditures not discussed in "Expense Reporting and Receipt Requirement," they should not be seeking reimbursement for expenditures which should be handled by purchase order or check requisition.
December 14, 2004