Below are some policies Alfred University employees should keep in mind while traveling for AU.
University travelers are required, as far in advance as possible, to:
- Complete a Travel Authorization and Advance Form for all travel requiring overnight accommodations. This should be done before booking a flight or securing hotel accommodations.
- Verify that the Travel Authorization has been approved.
University travelers should:
- Save all receipts for reimbursement.
University travelers should:
- Complete a Travel Expense Report, obtain proper signatures, and submit the completed form with original receipts to the Business Office within 10 business days.
- Include itinerary or agenda, if conference travel, with all other supporting documentation.
Regulations issued by the Internal Revenue Service and various other government agencies require that the University maintain a policy under which employees must account for all advances, allowances, and other reimbursements of expenses. This accounting must include:
- Sufficient information to establish the business purpose of the travel, entertainment, or other expenditure.
- An adequate record of each expenditure, including the amount, date, and place.
- Substantiation of expenditures with original receipts.
- The return of any unused funds from travel advances.
Employees must keep track of their expenses and substantiate the expenditures by submitting adequate supporting documentation. Any amounts paid to an employee that are not accounted for and substantiated in this way must be included in the employee’s income and is subject to payroll tax withholding.
The primary responsibility for interpretation of these policies rests with the department supervisors who are authorizing travel and approving expenditures. Each VP or Dean will be responsible for conveying the needs of the department to the Controller. The following alternatives are available for addressing the travel needs of the Department.
- A MasterCard may be issued to those individuals who travel on a regular basis. These cards will be embossed with the individual’s name.
- A departmental MasterCard may be issued to be used for individuals as their travel arrangements are made. This card will be embossed with an individual’s name on the card.
- A cash advance may be issued to cover meals and incidentals while traveling.
- The traveler may use his or her own credit card for meals and incidentals, for which he or she may expect reimbursement. (It is preferred that personal credit cards not be used for hotel and airfare unless unexpected changes require it, as in most cases the tax exempt status will not be honored.)
Employees whose travel is funded by a sponsored grant or contract are expected to be cognizant of the sponsoring agency’s procedures and policies and adhere to the restrictions.
Prior to processing Travel and Entertainment Expense Reports for payment, the Business Office will routinely review these documents for accuracy and proper documentation. This review includes verification of: proper supporting documentation, accuracy of addition and mileage calculations, authorizing signature, and FOAP numbers. In the course of the review, the Business Office may request additional information and/or approval from a VP when claimed reimbursements appear unreasonable or do not comply with University policy.
The University will provide travel advances for employees traveling on authorized business to cover reasonable miscellaneous costs, such as taxi, tips, and other expenses that cannot readily be charged to a credit card. Advances will generally not be provided earlier than 10 working days before the planned departure date of the trip.
Advances under $300 may be obtained in cash. Advances over $300 will be issued via check or direct deposit with a minimum seven day notice. Travel advances must not be used to cover personal expenses which are the sole responsibility of the traveler. The size of the advance must be a reasonable estimate of the amount of cash necessary to conduct University business, bearing in mind that the bulk (hotel, car rental, conference registration) of a traveler’s expenses can be handled with a credit card.
Each travel advance is the personal obligation of the traveler until submitting a properly completed expense report, thus discharging the obligation. The traveler is responsible for any lost or stolen travel advances. Employees are responsible for the proper record keeping of expenses incurred while traveling and for settling any unused advance owed to the University. Travel advances must be accounted for on a Travel Expense Report within 10 days after returning from the trip.
When obtaining a travel advance, the guidelines and procedures outlined herein are intended to establish a minimum administrative procedure for documenting the use of advanced University funds. Please contact the Business Office for special instructions in the event of unusual circumstances, which may require an exception to this policy.
Requests for advances are submitted on a Travel Authorization and Advance Request form (available in the Business Office in Jordan Hall or online). The full 17-digit FOAP to which the expenses will eventually be charged must be included for an advance to be issued. Requests for advances can be submitted during normal working hours from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. in the Business Office (summer hours may affect these business hours).
It is not necessary for the employee requesting an advance to appear in person to pick up the advance, but the traveler’s signature is nonetheless required. (A secretary or designated person may pick up advances when a call is placed to the Business Office to inform them of this occurrence.) Employees should be prepared to show identification when picking up funds. Persons receiving advances are responsible for the funds in the event of theft or loss.
Advances will not be granted to individuals who have any outstanding prior advances. The Controller may revoke the right to obtain travel advances when necessary to avoid abuse of the policy.
University policy requires approval on all cash advances. The University does not allow an employee to authorize any advances made payable to him or herself. Likewise, approval of travel expense reports cannot be granted from a subordinate (i.e. an executive assistant cannot approve the request of a VP and a department secretary cannot approve the request of a department chair).
Travelers who have not settled their travel advances by the due date will be notified that the settlement is overdue. The appropriate fiscal or administrative officer of the area will also be notified of any outstanding advances. If the advance is not settled within 30 days, the individual will then receive a notification that the amount has been forwarded to Payroll for appropriate payroll reporting and tax withholdings. Without providing adequate documentation to substantiate the business expenses covered by the cash advance (i.e., settling the advance), the University is required by the IRS to report these payments as taxable income to the employee.
The University is a not-for-profit institution and the New York State sales tax exemption can and should be used for travel expenses within New York State and elsewhere, as appropriate. This would include hotels, restaurants, or other business related purchases. In order to obtain the sales tax exemption, present the Sales Tax Exempt Form to the vendor at the time service is rendered or goods are received and paid for. Travelers may obtain copies of Tax Exempt Forms from the Business Office website.
The University is exempt from sales tax in the following states
- Connecticut (tangible purchases only)
- Florida (tangible purchases only)
- Massachusetts (tangible purchase only)
- New Jersey
- New York
Vendors may refuse to honor sales tax exemption if cash or personal credit card is used. If sales tax exemption is denied, please note that on the receipt. If sales tax is paid because the service provider does not accept the Sales Tax Exempt Form, reimbursement will be permitted. In this case, a written explanation must be submitted with the Travel Expense and Entertainment Report.