UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH POLICY 05-07-01

CATEGORY:              FINANCIAL AFFAIRS
SECTION:                  Business Expenses
SUBJECT:                 Travel and Business Expenses
EFFECTIVE DATE:   June 1, 2009 Revised
PAGE(S):                   19

                                         TABLE OF CONTENTS QUICK LINKS

I.    SCOPE

II.   DEFINITIONS

III.  POLICY

      A.   General

            1.   Minimum requirements

            2.   Minimum value for reimbursement requests

            3.   Expenses paid by an outside organization

            4.   Shared expenses

            5.   Tax exempt status

      B.   Payment Processing Department responsibility

      C.  Requestor responsibility

      D.  Approver responsibility

      E.   Exceptions to this policy

      F.   Charges to restricted funds

      G.  General business expenses

            1.   Meals or events that include primarily University employees

            2.   Organized business meetings and official University events that include non-

                  University employees

            3.   Business meals that include non-University employees

            4.   Gifts and contributions

            5.   Moving expenses

            6.   Membership dues and professional license fees

      H.  Travel expenses

            1.   Booking travel

            2.   Travel advances

            3.   Traveler’s checks

            4.   Travel with spouse/personal guest

            5.   Combined personal/business travel

            6.   Foreign currency expense

            7.   Air travel

            8.   Ground transportation

                  a.   Airport limousines, courtesy shuttles and taxis

                  b.   University Fleet Services vehicle rental

                  c.   Bus charters

                  d.   Commercial vehicle rental

                  e.   Personal vehicles used on University business

            9.   Other modes of transportation

            10. Meals while in travel status

            11. Lodging while in travel status

            12. Parking and tolls

            13. Communication while in travel status

      I.    Non-reimbursable expenses

      J.   Expense Reporting

            1.   Submission

            2.   Foreign travel currency exchange rates

            3.   Valid proofs of expense

                  a.   When are receipts required?

                  b.   Quality of receipts

            4.   Record retention

      K.   Methods of expense payment

            1.   Personal credit card

            2.   University Procurement card (Policy 05-02-12)

            3.   Direct Payment to service providers

IV.  REFERENCE

 

I.    SCOPE

      The University of Pittsburgh's Travel and Business Expense Policy applies to all faculty,

      staff, students and others (e.g., candidates for employment including spouses,

      volunteers, visiting faculty/lecturers, consultants, prospective students, etc.) who incur

      expenses while engaged in University business or related travel and who intend to

      receive reimbursement from the University.  The policy establishes responsibilities and

      guidelines for ensuring that travel and business expenses are valid, necessary,

      reasonable, and in compliance with federal and state regulations and University

      accounting procedures.  This policy pertains to travel and business expenses for all

      sources of University funds including unrestricted, restricted, endowment, student loan,

      plant funds, and discretionary funds.

II.   DEFINITIONS

      A.   Request for reimbursement

            This policy applies to travel and business expenses, regardless of the processing or

            payment method.  Therefore, the general term “request for reimbursement” is used

            throughout this policy to refer to both the paper Travel and Business Expense

            Report (Form 0060) method to request reimbursement and the online PRISM Internet

            Expense Application method to request reimbursement.

      B.   Requestor

            The term requestor refers to any faculty, staff, student or other person (e.g.,

            candidate for employment including spouse, volunteer, visiting faculty/lecturer,

            consultant, prospective student, etc.) who incurs expenses while engaged in

            University business and who requests reimbursement for those expenses from the

            University.

      C.  Approver

            An approver must be a University employee who is higher in the requestor’s

            organizational hierarchy and knowledgeable of the requestor’s work performed and

            expenses incurred.

III.  POLICY

      A.   General

            1.   Minimum requirements

                  The University will reimburse for approved expenses incurred while on University

                  business and/or related travel when the expense is:

                  -     actual and reasonable;

                  -     incurred/paid by the requestor;

                  -     necessary in the performance of University business;

                  -     supported by a valid proof of expense, such as a cash or other original

                        receipt unless otherwise provided in this policy, and;

                  -     in compliance with all of the conditions established in this policy.

            2.   Minimum value for reimbursement requests

                  The total of the request for reimbursement must not be less than $5.  Expenses

                  under $5 may be added to a subsequent request for reimbursement, or be

                  reported as a miscellaneous deduction on Schedule A of Internal Revenue Service

                  (IRS) Form 1040 as an unreimbursed business expense.

            3.   Expenses paid by an outside organization

                  Expenses incurred by an individual solely for the benefit of an outside organization

                  where the individual is acting in a consulting, advisory, or other capacity not

                  directly related to their University responsibilities are considered personal

                  expenses and will not be reimbursed.  In addition, such expenses may not be

                  charged to a University account, and then later reimbursed to the University.  It is

                  the responsibility of the individual to obtain reimbursements or expense advances

                  directly from the outside organization.

            4.   Shared expenses

                  The University will reimburse only for its portion of shared expenses, and prefers

                  to receive original receipts.  If an outside organization insists on retaining the

                  original receipts, photocopies of receipts accompanied by an explanatory

                  memorandum signed by the appropriate Account Administrator must be

                  submitted with a request for reimbursement for the University's portion of the

                  expense.

            5.   Tax exempt status

                  The University of Pittsburgh is a tax-exempt organization, and individuals should

                  request that tax not be collected by the supplier or service provider.  The travel

                  industry (e.g., airlines, rail, hotel, car rental, etc.) may not recognize this status,

                  and insist that taxes be paid.  In these instances, the employee will be

                  reimbursed for the taxes paid.  If the service provider requests a tax-exemption

                  certificate, it may be printed from the Payment Processing website.

      B.   Payment Processing Department responsibility

            The Payment Processing Department will review requests for reimbursement for

            proper supporting documentation, approval, mathematical accuracy, appropriate

            account coding and adherence to policy requirements prior to issuing a

            reimbursement.

            Material misstatements, significant errors or items that Payment Processing

            determines are clearly not in compliance with this policy will be deducted from

            reimbursement and the non-compliant items will be returned to the requestor.  Minor

            errors will be corrected by Payment Processing, and will result in an amended

            reimbursement with subsequent notification to the requestor and approver.

            Payment Processing will provide interpretations of the Travel and Business

            Expense Policy.

 

            Regional campuses and other units with accounts payable responsibilities are

            required to review requests for reimbursement pursuant to this policy.  Such

            disbursements may be subject to further review by Payment Processing.

      C.  Requestor responsibility

            It is the responsibility of individuals who request reimbursement from the University to:

            -     ensure that all expenses were incurred/paid by the requestor, are reasonable,

                  supported by adequate documentation, serve a legitimate business purpose,

                  and are in full compliance with University policies;

            -     understand that requests lacking required documentation will not be

                  reimbursed, and;

            -     ensure that the expenses have not been previously reimbursed by the University

                  or by an outside organization.

            Requestors who sign the Travel and Business Expense Form, or submit an online

            PRISM Internet Expense request for reimbursement, attest to the above.

      D.  Approver responsibility

            Only expenses approved by a University employee who is higher in the requestor’s

            organizational hierarchy, and who is knowledgeable of the requestor’s work

            performed and expenses incurred, will be reimbursed.

            Approval may be obtained by an authorized, authenticated approver in the online

            PRISM Internet Expense Application, or by original signature (facsimile signatures

            are not permitted) on the following University paper forms:

            -     Travel and Business Expense (Form 0060)

            -     Travel Advance (Form 0061)

            The act of approval is a representation by the approver that the expenses were

            incurred/paid by the requestor, are reasonable, supported by adequate

            documentation, serve a legitimate business purpose, and are in full compliance

            with University policies or any specific expense policy of the funding source or

            contract provision that is more restrictive than University policies.

      E.   Exceptions to this policy

            Unless otherwise provided in this policy, exceptions to any provision of this policy

            require written approval from one of the following:

            -     Chancellor

            -     Executive Vice Chancellor

            -     Senior Vice Chancellor

            -     Vice Chancellor

            -     Secretary of the Board of Trustees and Assistant Chancellor

            -     Provost

            -     Dean, or Academic Director

            -     Responsibility Center Head

            Requests for policy exception must move upward through each level of the reporting

            structure related to the individual desiring exception to this policy.  Requests for

            policy exception must not be forwarded directly to one of the above-listed individuals

            if such an action passes over a level in the organization's reporting structure.

      F.   Charges to restricted funds

            Travel and business expenses incurred on grants, contracts, sponsored programs,

            gift funds, or other restricted funds must comply with University policies and any

            specific expense policy of the funding source or contract provision, if more restrictive

            than University policy.

      G.  General business expenses

            1.   Meals and events that include primarily University employees

                  Reimbursement to individuals, or expenditures of University funds directly with

                  service providers or University Dining Services, for meals and events that include

                  primarily University employees is generally not permitted.

                  Examples of meals and events including primarily University employees include,

                  but are not limited to:

                  -     holiday parties;

                  -     wedding or baby showers;

                  -     welcome lunches for new employees, or farewell events;

                  -     end-of-term celebrations for University employees;

                  -     retirement parties, or;

                  -     any meal attended exclusively by University employees.

                  Exceptions may be made for certain official University events such as employee

                  recognition ceremonies.  These exceptions require written approval from one of

                  the individuals listed in section III.E., Exceptions to this policy, above.

                  If written approval is received for the policy exception, all of the requirements

                  articulated in section III.G.2., Organized business meetings and official University

                  events including non-University employees, below, must be met.

            2.   Organized business meetings and official University events that include

                 non-University employees

                  Organized business meetings and official University events are necessary to

                  conduct the normal business activities of the University.  They may be on or off

                  campus, typically have more than ten (10) attendees, are paid for with University

                  funds, must include non-University employees, and may include other University

                  employees whose presence is required and necessary for the conduct of

                  official University business.  Examples include, but are not limited to:

                  -     fundraising events;

                  -     athletics booster events;

                  -     alumni gatherings;

                  -     student activities, or;

                  -     professional conferences.

                  Senior administration approvals (see section III.E., Exceptions to this policy) are

                  not required for these events unless exceptions to the following requirements are

                  requested:

                 a.   The per-person cost, including tips, must not exceed $60 per person.

                 b.   For social functions or meetings held in University owned and operated

                       facilities, it is strongly recommended that University's Dining Services or

                       Regional Campus equivalent operation provide food and beverages to ensure

                       the health safety of attendees.  If an outside provider is preferred, approval of

                       the provider must be obtained from University's Dining Services

                       University's Dining Services can advise on issues such as outside provider

                       compliance with health and safety regulations, Americans with Disability Act

                       (ADA) regulations, and appropriate liability insurance coverage.

                        For smaller, impromptu meetings that require unplanned food or beverages,

                        the best or most convenient outside provider (e.g., take-out pizza or

                        sandwich shops) may be used.  It is strongly recommended, for liability

                        reasons, that the outside provider be a reputable brand in the food and

                        beverage industry.

                  c.   Larger planned off-campus events, for which services are provided by a

                        third party, must be under a University contract or purchase order in order to

                        ensure that the provider complies with health and safety regulations,

                        Americans with Disability Act (ADA) regulations, and obtains appropriate

                        liability insurance coverage.  Contact the Purchasing Services Department

                        for assistance.  Services under contract may include room rentals, sleeping

                        room rentals, catered meals at the event location (subject to a $60 per-

                        person meal cost limit), audio/visual and computer equipment rentals, tent

                        rentals, and transportation, etc.

                  d.   In order to meet IRS requirements, a list of attendees (full names should be

                        provided), attendee affiliation, detailed receipts, and a clear description of the

                        function’s purpose must be submitted with any request for reimbursement. 

                        In order to maintain privacy, it is not necessary to provide the names of

                        research participants attending a group meal.  The number of research

                        participants, a statement that attendees are research participants, and a

                        brief description of the research purpose should be submitted.

                  e.   If the event is catered by a University service operation and charged directly

                        to the requestor’s department budget, the requestor’s department must

                        maintain approval, attendee, purpose, and detailed charge documentation in

                        accordance with the University’s document retention requirements.  If the

                        University pays a service provider directly for the event, this supporting

                        documentation must be maintained with the contract.

                  f.    Minor, last-minute incidental expenses paid for by requestors, such as name

                        tags, may be submitted for reimbursement.

                  g.   Alcoholic beverages may not be charged to grants, contracts or other

                        sponsored programs.

            3.   Business meals that include non-University employees

                  Business meals are smaller, require less organization, typically include fewer

                  than ten (10) attendees, are necessary to conduct University business, and

                  often occur at local or out-of-town restaurants.  Business meals must include

                  non-University employees, and may include other University employees whose

                  presence is required and necessary for the conduct of official University

                  business.  Examples of smaller business meeting meals include, but are not

                  limited to:

                  -     recruiting lunch with a candidate for a University job opening;

                  -     lunch with a prospective donor, or;

                  -     working meal with colleagues from other institutions to discuss projects or

                        other professional matters.

                  Senior administration approvals (see section III.E., Exceptions to this policy) are

                  not required for these meals unless exceptions to the following requirements are

                  requested:

                  a.   The meal cost, including tips, must not exceed $60 per person.

                  b.   In order to meet IRS requirements, a list of attendees (full names should be

                        provided), attendee affiliation, a detailed receipt, and a clear description of

                        the meeting purpose must be submitted with the properly-approved request

                        for reimbursement.  In order to maintain privacy, it is not necessary to

                        provide the names of research participants attending a meal.  The number

                        of research participants, a statement that attendees are research

                        participants, a brief description of the research purpose and a detailed

                        receipt should be submitted.

                  c.   If the meal is off-site while in travel status, a reduction must be made by

                        University individuals in attendance to the meals and incidental expenses

                        (M&IE) daily allowance on their individual requests for travel expense

                        reimbursement (see the Meals while in Travel Status section III.H.10. of this

                        policy).

                  d.   Alcoholic beverages may not be charged to grants, contracts or other

                        sponsored programs.

            4.   Gifts and contributions

                  a.   General

                        Reimbursement to individuals, or expenditures of University funds directly

                        with service providers, for gifts or contributions is generally not permitted

                        However, the University will reimburse individuals for certain gifts and

                        contributions only if they are actual and reasonable, necessary in the

                        performance of University business (not personal), supported by valid

                        receipts, not in payment for services, and have the written approval of one

                        of the individuals listed in section III.E., Exceptions to this policy.  Gifts and

                        contributions include goods, services, cash or cash equivalents (certificates,

                        gift cards, etc. that are redeemable for a broad variety of products or

                        services).

                  b.   Goodwill gifts to University employees

                        If proper approval is received for the exception, goodwill gifts to University

                        employees may be considered taxable income to the recipient by the IRS. 

                        Therefore, all properly-approved gifts to employees in the form of cash and

                        cash-equivalent gifts, and non-cash gifts that do not meet the IRS’s de

                        minimus rules, will be reported to the University’s Payroll Department by

                        Payment Processing to determine if the payment is tax-reportable.  Contact

                        the University’s Payroll Director if you have questions about the tax reporting

                        status of goodwill gifts to employees.

                  c.   Political contributions

                        University Policy 05-06-05 expressly prohibits political contributions, therefore,

                        they are not reimbursable.

            5.   Moving expenses

                  Moving expenses must be approved by the University’s Office of Travel

                  Management before they may be reimbursed (see Policy 05-07-02).

            6.   Membership dues and professional license fees

                  The preferred method of payment for professional society membership dues and

                  professional license fees is the University’s procurement card.  Such fees are

                  reimbursable if paid for with personal funds, a detailed receipt is required to be

                  submitted with the reimbursement request if the amount is greater than or

                  equal to $75.

      H.  Travel expense

            1.   Booking travel

                  a.   General

                        Travel reservations may be made by booking with a certified travel agent

                        (see Office of Travel Management website), an internet travel booking

                        service, or by booking directly with the service provider (airline, hotel, car

                        rental agency, etc.).  See the Office of Travel Management website for

                        service providers that provide educational or corporate rates.  These

                        discounted rates should always be requested.

                        Business travel should also be arranged as far in advance as possible to

                        take advantage of any additional early booking discounts.

                  b.   Booking guarantee/payment

                        The preferred method of booking/guaranteeing and paying for airline

                        reservations is with the University’s procurement card (see Policy 05-02-12). 

                        All other travel reservations, such as hotels and rental cars, should be

                        booked and paid for with a personal credit card.

                        The establishment of certified travel agencies and the establishment of

                        credit accounts with travel agencies is solely the responsibility of the Office

                        of Travel Management.  Direct billing arrangements may be made only by

                        the Office of Travel Management.  Prepayment or deposits on account with

                        a travel agency are prohibited.  Payments to consultants or employees for

                        services rendered to the University using a travel agency credit in lieu of

                        cash are not permitted.

                  c.   Group travel

                        A group of ten (10) or more participants, traveling to the same destination,

                        over the same dates, from one or more origin cities, may qualify for group

                        travel rates.  In order to obtain group travel discounts, meeting planners

                        should contact any of the University’s certified travel agents, or the

                        University's Office of Travel Management for assistance.

                        In order to ensure the safety of travelers, all charter transportation such as

                        bus or aircraft, regardless of the amount, must be reviewed and approved

                        by the University’s Office of Travel Management.

                        Any group organized business meetings or official University events at

                        off-campus locations must be under a University contract or purchase order.

                        See section III.G.2. of this policy.

            2.   Travel advances

                  a.   Applicability and limitations

                        If a travel advance is necessary, it will be limited to the total of the standard

                        domestic meal allowance per day plus $100 per trip (from the office or

                        home to ultimate destination and return) for domestic travel.  Travel advance

                        limitations related to foreign travel will be determined individually; contact the

                        Payment Processing Department for further information.  Travel advances

                        must be approved by the administrator who has the authority to approve the

                        individual's request for expense reimbursement.  When the travel advance

                        request is submitted to Payment Processing, it must include a detailed

                        explanation of the purpose and expected use of the advance.

                        A travel advance may:

                        -     be obtained by check only;

                        -     be split between a sponsored project and other accounts;

                        -     not be disbursed more than ten (10) working days prior to the intended

                              departure date, and;

                        -     not be issued to an individual if a previous advance is outstanding.

                        Exceptions to the travel advance policy may be granted by the Payment

                        Processing Department if:

                        -     the individual does not qualify for participation in the University of

                              Pittsburgh's corporate credit card program;

                        -     the nature of the travel makes the use of a credit card difficult;

                        -     extended foreign travel is involved, or;

                        -     funds are required for a prepayment or deposit related to travel that will

                              not occur for an extended period of time, and the individual would

                              otherwise be required to use personal funds.

                  b.   Liquidation of a travel advance

                         Accounting for expenses related to a travel advance must be submitted to

                         Payment Processing within thirty (30) business days of returning from

                         travel.

                         Expenses related to travel advances must be liquidated by each fiscal-year

                         end (June 30), otherwise, the travel and business expenses will be reported

                         against the succeeding fiscal year budget.

                         In accordance with IRS Regulation §1.162-2(c), employees are required to

                         return the amount of travel advances in excess of travel and business

                         expenses.  Therefore, if a travel advance is not cleared within a reasonable

                         amount of time from the stated travel completion date, the University

                         reserves the right to offset future compensation by the amount of the travel

                         advance that is in excess of substantiated expenses.  In addition, any

                         unreturned and unsubstantiated advance will be reported as taxable income

                         for the person to whom the travel advance was issued.

                         Repayment of unused portions of travel advances must be made by

                         personal check or money order.  Cash payments will not be accepted. 

                         Checks must be payable to the University of Pittsburgh and submitted with

                         the request for reimbursement.

            3.   Traveler’s checks

                  Traveler's check fees for domestic travel will be reimbursed only if there are

                  valid security reasons documented with the expense reimbursement request. 

                  Traveler's check fees for foreign travel are reimbursable.

            4.   Travel with spouse/personal guest

                  The University will not reimburse non-business expenses incurred by a spouse

                  and/or guest in connection with the business travel requirements of a University

                  employee.  Additionally, such personal expenses may not be charged directly to

                  the University and then later reimbursed to the University by the individual.

            5.   Combined personal/business travel

                  Personal expenses incurred during business travel are the sole responsibility

                  of the traveler, and will not be reimbursed.

            6.   Foreign currency expense

                  Fees for exchanging foreign currency and purchasing traveler’s checks for

                  foreign travel will be reimbursed when original receipts are submitted with the

                  request for reimbursement.  However, in locations where currency is not freely

                  convertible, the original receipt must be surrendered to the currency exchange

                  service in order to convert the currency back to U.S. dollars.  In such cases,

                  copies of receipts are acceptable.  In order to avoid currency exchange fees, it

                  is beneficial to purchase foreign goods and services with a credit card.  Credit

                  card companies generally convert foreign purchase payments to U.S. dollars

                  at the most advantageous exchange rates.

            7.   Air travel

                  All University travelers are expected to travel using commercial airlines and to

                  pay the "lowest logical airfare" unless legitimate business circumstances

                  preclude scheduling at the lowest logical airfare (e.g., considerable time savings

                  by flying direct), or the medical condition of the traveler requires other

                  arrangements.  The lowest logical airfare is defined as the lowest-price coach

                  class airfare available for flights within two hours before or after the requested

                  departure or arrival time that does not:

                  -     exceed a 1-1/2 hour layover time;

                  -     increase the one-way elapsed trip time by more than 2 hours, or;

                  -     include more than one stop and/or connection in the traveler's one-way route.

                  The "lowest logical airfare" definition does not require individuals to:

                  -     arrive later than necessary for participating in a business event, or;

                  -     depart earlier than necessary from a business event.

                  In such cases, the individual must travel using the lowest-price coach class

                  airfare available to achieve more appropriate scheduling.  Business class flights

                  are allowable on flights of six hours flight time or more.

                  Certain fees associated with air travel will be reimbursed, such as:

                  -     reasonable and necessary baggage fees, or:

                  -     non-first class seat upgrades (window, isle, emergency exit row) to

                        accommodate physical limitations, if approved by the submitting department.

                  Fees for in-flight convenience items and entertainment, such as alcoholic

                  beverages, movies, etc. will not be reimbursed.

            8.   Ground transportation

                  a.   Airport limousines, courtesy shuttles and taxis

                        Travelers should compare costs of alternate transportation to minimize the

                        cost of ground transportation between airports and hotels or other final

                        ground destinations.  When possible, purchase round trip tickets for shuttles,

                        as their cost is generally less.  Original receipts for limousines, shuttles and

                        taxis must be submitted with the request for reimbursement only if the

                        amount exceeds $75.  Luxury limousine service is not reimbursable.

                  b.   University Fleet Services vehicle rental

                        When possible, University-owned vehicles should be used for business

                        travel.  The University's main campus Office of Parking and Transportation

                        (or similar regional campus vehicle management operation) maintains a

                        fleet of automobiles and passenger vans that are available to rent.  The

                        driver must have a valid driver’s license, meet other requirements for the

                        class of vehicle being rented, and follow all guidelines of

                        Parking, Transportation and Services Office.  Contact the University's

                        Parking, Transportation and Services Office to inquire about restrictions,

                        pricing, availability and procedures for payment.  The daily fleet rental rate

                        includes fuel, insurance and related deductibles.

                  c.   Bus charters

                        Chartered bus service must be reviewed and approved by the University’s

                        Office of Travel Management, and be purchased under a University contract

                        or purchase order.

                  d.   Car/commercial vehicle rental

                        Rental reservations for out-of-town use may be arranged through a University

                        certified travel agency or directly with a car rental company.  Car rental

                        companies (see University’s Office of Travel Management website) that offer

                        discounted pricing to University travelers should be used.  Mid-sized,

                        intermediate or smaller cars must be used except when the number of

                        individuals or stowage requires a larger car.  Vehicle rental “add-ons” that

                        increase the rental cost and are purely for convenience or entertainment

                        such as global positioning systems (GPS), movie players, etc. will not be

                        reimbursed.

                        -     Insurance for domestic travel (U.S., U.S. Territories, Puerto Rico, Canada)

                              Travelers must NOT purchase collision and liability insurance for

                              domestic travel from car rental agencies.  Collision and liability (including

                              deductibles) are covered by University insurance policies.  Optional

                              insurance coverage offered by vehicle rental companies is not

                              reimbursable for domestic travel as these costs are duplicative of the

                              University's collision and liability insurance coverage.

                        -     Insurance for international travel

                              Travelers renting or leasing vehicles for University business in any

                              country other than the United States, Canada, the territories and

                              possessions of the United States, and Puerto Rico are to purchase

                              insurance offered by the rental or lease agent in that country.

                        -     Guidelines

                              All guidelines articulated by the University’s

                              Parking, Transportation and Services Office must be followed.

                        -     Inspection

                              The physical condition of the rented car must be examined prior to

                              leaving the car rental lot.  Damaged areas of the car must be

                              immediately reported to the car rental agency.  Damage should be

                              documented on the car rental agreement to avoid possible dispute over

                              damages for which the University is not responsible.

                        -     Documentation for reimbursement

                              Original rental agreement and any associated fuel receipts (for fuel

                              purchases over $75) must be submitted with the request for

                              reimbursement.  Rental cars should be refueled prior to return to avoid

                              refueling surcharges levied by the car rental agency.

                  e.   Personal vehicles for University business

                        Use of a personal vehicle for business is strongly discouraged primarily

                        due to the personal liability the vehicle owner automatically assumes.  The

                        vehicle owner’s automobile liability insurance coverage is primary coverage. 

                        There is no physical damage coverage through the University on a personal

                        vehicle.  The employee is responsible for the deductible portion of the

                        personal collision coverage and for any increased personal automobile

                        insurance premiums as a result of an accident.  No reimbursement will be

                        made by the University for accident-related repairs.

                        If a personal vehicle must be used:

                        -     The owner of the vehicle must carry automobile liability insurance.

                        -     The driver must have a valid driver’s license.

                        -     The owner’s automobile liability insurance card (provided by the

                              insurance agent) must be in the driver’s possession.

                        -     The total cost of using a privately-owned vehicle, including mileage,

                              excess lodging or other additional costs, should not exceed the cost of

                              air or other modes of commercial transportation.

                        -     Accidents involving injuries or damages to other persons or property

                              while using a privately owned vehicle on University business must be

                              immediately reported to the owner's insurance company.

                              In addition, the driver must also notify the University's

                              Office of Risk Management because the University maintains liability

                              insurance coverage generally in excess of the individual's liability limits.

                        -     Use of a privately owned vehicle is reimbursed at the prevailing

                              IRS mileage rate.  This mileage rate covers all operating costs including

                              depreciation, repairs, fuel, insurance, towage and other similar expenses. 

                              Reimbursement for two or more persons traveling in the same vehicle is

                              limited to the mileage reimbursement paid to the driver.  Mileage is

                              computed from the individual's normal place of business to the business

                              destination and return to the individual's normal place of business.

            9.   Other modes of transportation

                  Other transportation (e.g., ship, train, etc.) not specifically outlined above, may

                  be acceptable provided that excessive expense or time is not required to

                  accommodate the requestor’s preference.  Other modes of transportation are

                  subject to the following guidelines.

                  -     Economy class must be used.

                  -     Accommodations should be made through a University certified travel agent

                        where possible.

                  -     The original passenger receipt must be submitted for reimbursement.

            10. Meals while in travel status

                  a.   Reimbursement rate

                        Meals and incidental expenses (M&IE) during travel with an overnight stay

                        will be reimbursed without receipts or other documentation of expense in

                        accordance with the Federal GSA Policy Per Diem Guide.  Note that rates

                        change periodically, and are provided for both domestic and foreign

                        locations.

                        When actual expenses are less than the prescribed M&IE rate for a

                        particular area, individuals should request reimbursement for actual

                        expenses without submission of receipts.  Actual expenses in excess of the

                        M&IE daily rate will not be reimbursed.

                        Deans, Directors, or Responsibility Center Heads may establish M&IE rates

                        lower than the Federal GSA Policy Per Diem Guide.

                        For each travel day fewer than 24 hours (day trip and en route days for

                        overnight travel), the reimbursement must be prorated.  The rate in effect will

                        be that of the destination location.

                  b.   Meals provided by a host or included in the conference fee

                        When meals are provided by a host or included in a conference or seminar

                        fee, a reasonable reduction should be made to the M&IE daily rate.

                  c.   Organized business meetings and official University events that include

                        non-University individuals while in travel status

                        All of the requirements articulated in section III.G.2. of this policy must be

                        met.  In addition, a reasonable reduction should be made to the M&IE daily

                        allowance by the requestor for the value of the event meal.

                  d.   Business meals that include non-University individuals while in travel status

                        All of the requirements articulated in section III.G.3. of this policy must be

                        met.  In addition, a reasonable reduction should be made to the M&IE daily

                        allowance by the requestor for the value of the business meal.

            11. Lodging while in travel status

                  a.   Reimbursement rate

                        Reimbursement for lodging may not exceed the hotel’s rate for a standard

                        single room.  Room charges for luxury accommodations are not

                        reimbursable.  Accommodations at resort hotels are not permitted unless

                        the hotel is the site of the conference being attended.  An original itemized

                        lodging receipt must be submitted with the request for reimbursement for all

                        domestic travel.

                        Reimbursement for lodging using a per diem allowance is permitted for

                        foreign travel, but not domestic travel. 

                        Please refer to the Federal GSA Policy per diem guide for foreign travel

                        Note that these rates change periodically.  A detailed receipt for foreign

                        hotels is preferred, but not required if the per diem allowance is used.

                  b.   Reservation changes

                        If intended travel plans change, the traveler is responsible for canceling hotel

                        reservations.  Failure to cancel a guaranteed hotel reservation could result

                        in a "no show" billing for the reserved room.  The deadline for canceling a

                        reservation without penalty varies with each hotel.  If it is determined that the

                        traveler had reasonable time to cancel the reservation but failed to do so, the

                        University will not reimburse for “no show” charges or late cancellation

                        penalties incurred.

            12. Parking and tolls

                  Parking costs and tolls will be reimbursed.  An original receipt is required only if

                  the amount is greater than or equal to $75.

                  On-campus parking fees for working overtime or non-standard hours will not be

                  reimbursed.

            13. Communication while in travel status

                  a.   Internet

                        Hotel internet charges while traveling on business are reimbursable

                        expenses.  Internet charges should be detailed on the hotel bill and

                        submitted with the request for expense reimbursement.

                  b.   Telephone

                        The Telecommunications Office of the University’s Computing Services

                        and Systems Development (CSSD) Division administers a no-fee

                        telephone calling card program.  Telephone calling cards are a cost-

                        effective method to manage telecommunications costs, and may be used

                        when it is anticipated that an individual will be originating a number of

                        telephone calls when away from the University.  Contact the CSSD Help

                        Desk at 412-624-HELP, or visit CSSD’s

                        Voice and Telecommunications website for information concerning the

                        telephone calling card or other communications service options.  The

                        following will be reimbursed.

                        -     All business related calls will be reimbursed regardless of call origin,

                              (e.g., from home, while traveling).

                        -     One personal call (of reasonable duration) per day will be reimbursed if

                              traveling on business overnight.

                        -     Telegraph, postage and facsimile transmissions will be reimbursed

                              when associated with business travel.

                        -     Short-term (three months or less) cell phone rentals or one-time pre-

                              paid cell phones for business purposes while in travel status will be

                              reimbursed.

      I.    Non-reimbursable expenses

            The following list of non-reimbursable expenses serves as a guide and is not all-

            inclusive.  All business/travel expenses are subject to review and final approval by

            the Payment Processing Department.

            1.   Payments to research participants

                  Payments to research participants for expense reimbursement or compensation must

                  be made via a WePay stored value card.  Per University Policy, 05-11-01, all

                  other payment methods which are cash-based in nature, such as petty cash

                  (both bank accounts or cash on hand), payment processing checks, travel

                  advances and gift cards, are not acceptable payment methods for participants

                  in research studies.  Refer to University Policy 05-11-01, WePay Stored Value

                  Card, for exception requests.

            2.   Payments to service providers

                  In order to minimize risk to the institution and to meet IRS reporting requirements,

                  services should be acquired by executing a University contract for services, with

                  payment directly to the service provider based upon a detailed invoice.  See the

                  Guide to Purchasing on the Purchasing Department’s website.

            3.   Political contributions

                  University policy 05-06-05 expressly prohibits political contributions.

            4.   Personal (billed to home) cell phones expenses

                  Contact the CSSD Help Desk at 412-624-HELP, or visit CSSD’s

                  Voice and Telecommunications website for information concerning business

                  communications service options.

            5.   Home internet expenses

            6.   Child care expenses

            7.   Fines for traffic or parking violations

            8.   On-campus parking fees for working overtime or non-standard hours

            9.   Medical costs, doctor fees, prescriptions or other drugs

                  Note:  Immunization injections required for foreign travel that are not provided

                  through insurance or other “no fee” arrangement are reimbursable.  A memo

                  stating why the reimbursement is requested is required.

            10. Home or lawn maintenance costs

            11. Gifts of any type, including flowers, are generally not reimbursable unless they

                  meet the requirements set forth in section III.G.4., Gifts and contributions, of

                  this policy

            12. Political contributions

            13. Personal credit card fees

            14. Fees paid to credit card companies to access accrued card rewards

            15. Insufficient funds check fees (NSF)

            16. Theft, loss or damage of personal property

            17. Repair, maintenance or insurance of personal vehicles

            18. Travel insurance

            19. Fees for in-flight convenience items and entertainment, such as alcoholic

                  beverages, movies, etc. will not be reimbursed

            20. Lodging expenses within 50 miles of residence

            21. Hotel movie rental

            22. Charges on hotel invoice for food and beverages if the M&IE rate is used

            23. Business use of personal residence

            24. Luxury limousine service

            25. Vehicle rental insurance

            26. Vehicle rental “add-ons” that increase the rental cost and are purely for

                  convenience or entertainment such as global positioning systems (GPS), movie

                  players, etc.

      J.   Expense Reporting

            1.   Submission

                  Requests for reimbursement should be submitted within thirty (30) working days

                  of returning from travel, or incurring the expense if not travel related.  Small

                  expenses made during a month may be accumulated and submitted at a later

                  date.

            2.   Foreign travel currency exchange rates

                  Foreign currency expenses must be converted to U.S. dollars.  All requests for

                  reimbursement must include a currency exchange rate at the time the travel

                  expense was incurred.  Please see http://www.oanda.com/convert/classic for

                  conversion rates.

            3.   Valid proofs of expense

                  a.   When are receipts required?

                        Original, authentic, detailed receipts are required for all travel and

                        business expenses, except for the following.

                        -     Professional memberships/dues under $75

                        -     Professional license fees under $75

                        -     Rental car fuel under $75

                        -     Parking under $75

                        -     Taxi service, airport limousine and shuttle services under $75

                        -     Original detailed receipts for foreign travel hotel charges are preferred,

                               but not required if the foreign per-diem allowance is used

                  b.   Quality of receipts

                        Receipts, particularly if charged to a research account, should provide

                        sufficient detail to ensure that the charge was valid and allowable under

                        research regulations.  Detailed information on receipts should include

                        vendor name, terms, goods or services purchased and amount.

                        The department requester and approver are responsible to ensure that all

                        supporting documentation, whether original receipts, copies (where

                        permissible), or faxes are readable.

                        For airline charges, a copy of the email receipt with the name of the airline,

                        flight numbers, total cost of the flight and form of payment is required to be

                        submitted with the request for reimbursement.

                        Credit card receipts may be used as supporting documentation for

                        expenses such as meals and conference registrations, however, detailed

                        receipts are always preferred.  Credit card receipts may not be used to

                        support lodging expenses.

                        Photocopies of canceled checks, front and back including the endorsement,

                        are acceptable support documentation when the original receipts are not

                        available.

            4.   Record retention

                  a.   Paper forms:  Travel and Business Expenses (Form 0060), Travel

                        Advance (Form 0061)

                        Individuals submitting paper forms should retain copies of the form and

                        supporting documentation until the payment is made and reconciled with

                        charges on the department level reports.  If the payment is charged to a

                        restricted fund (grant, contract, sponsored program, gift fund, etc.), the

                        submitting department must ensure that copies are retained locally in

                        accordance with any contract requirements that exceed the University’s

                        record retention requirements.  Payment Processing will retain the original

                        forms in accordance with the University’s general

                        record retention requirements.

                  b.   PRISM Internet Expense Application

                        Individuals submitting requests for reimbursement via the PRISM Internet

                        Expense Application must fax images of receipts in accordance with the

                        system detailed operating procedures.  All original, paper receipts must be

                        maintained by the department in accordance with this policy and the

                        University’s record retention requirements, or in accordance with the grant

                        contract requirements, whichever is longer.  These original receipts should

                        be easily retrievable in the event of an audit.

      K.   Methods of expense payment

            1.   Personal credit card

                  a.   General

                        A personal credit card should be used whenever possible for expenses

                        incurred while traveling on University business and room reservation

                        guarantees.  Using a credit card will minimize or eliminate the use of

                        personal cash and the need for travel advances.  Credit card fees and

                        finance charges will not be reimbursed.

                  b.   University credit card program

                        The University offers a corporate credit card program.  All full-time University

                        employees who have been employed by the University for at least six (6)

                        months are eligible (subject to some limitations, contact University

                        Office of Travel Management for details) to apply for a University of

                        Pittsburgh corporate credit card.  The credit card is to be primarily used for

                        employee-incurred University business expense.  The cardholder is

                        individually and personally responsible for all charges to the University of

                        Pittsburgh credit card.  When an individual leaves the University, the card

                        must be surrendered to the University and the account will be closed.

            2.   University procurement card (Policy 05-02-12)

                  The University’s procurement card (pcard) is the preferred method to pay for

                  the following expenses.  No other types of travel expenses, such as hotel, car

                  rental, or meals, are permitted on the card.

                  -     Conference attendance fees

                  -     Membership dues and professional license fees

                  -     Air fare

            3.   Direct payment to service providers

                  Travel and business expenses may not be billed directly to the University or

                  prepaid by either the University or a certified travel agency, except for the

                  following:

                  -     Authorized charges to the procurement card (see section III.K.2., above, of

                        this policy).

                  -     Invoices for conferences or seminar registration fees.  For conference

                        registrations not paid by procurement card, credit card, or group travel

                        services, payment may be made using the Disbursement Request (Form

                        0014).

                  -     Lodging, organized business meeting and official event expenses directly

                        billed to the University under a University contract with the service provider.

IV.  REFERENCE

      Please see the Payment Processing website for detailed procedures for submitting

      requests for reimbursement