Office of Sponsored Research Services (OSRS) • TRAVEL SERVICES
Class Objectives Learn what information is needed to complete travel documents; including supporting documentation and receipt requirements. Learn where to find information regarding travel rules and regulations.
Which Travel Policy You Follow Depends On Your Project / Account Three guidelines: • OSRS Travel Policy • State Travel Policy (TexTravel) • Special Sponsor Guidelines Travelers need to know prior to making travel arrangements which of the three guidelines they are to follow for atrip.
Effective Dates The new Travel Policy will be effective April 1, 2013 for travel that commenced on, or after, April 1, 2013. Also, effective June 1, 2013, all travel claims submitted for reimbursement will be processed following the new Travel Policy regardless of when the travel commenced.
Who does this policy apply to? This policy applies to all travel which will be paid for employees, students and others. Any funds used for travel reimbursement must be • Appropriately used, • Properly authorized, • For a documented business purpose, • Substantiated by applicable receipts, • Compliant with all applicable regulations and agreements
Responsibilities of State Employees • State employees must ensure compliance with applicable state laws, TexTravel, System policies, and the OSRS Travel Policy. • Employees should not seek payment or reimbursement of a travel expense that the employee knows, or should reasonably know, is not reimbursable. • Immediately reimburse the state for an overpayment. • Tex. Gov’t Code Ann § 660.029
Travel Requirements • Prior to leaving on state business, a Pre-Trip Authorization request is submitted, if required by department. • The traveler must specify the purpose and benefit of the official state business conducted at each duty point. • The travel voucher must clearly define any abbreviations/acronyms used to describe the official state business conducted.
Travel Vouchers Travel vouchers are prepared and submitted to OSRS on a travel expense report form, unless your project requires you to use CONCUR or EPIK. Travelers will submit one voucher per trip for the same business purpose, except when mileage is submitted on a monthly basis. The travel period cannot exceed a 30 day period.
Required Signatures – Non Concur Travel vouchers must be signed by the traveler and Principal Investigator or approved delegate. On all accounts, changes to the amount of the voucher must be approved by the Principal Investigator or approved delegate on the account.
Required Signatures – Concur Travel vouchers are automatically routed – no written signatures are required. On all accounts, changes to the amount of the voucher must be routed back to the traveler for correction.
Accurate Dates of Travel Travel dates on vouchers need to be accurate and reflect the entire time period the employee was away from headquarters. If personal days are taken while in travel status, they must be noted on the voucher.
Lodging and Meal Rates The traveler may use one of two methods for lodging and meal expenses incurred in connection with official travel of more than one day. The method selected must be used for the entire trip. Method 1 – Actual Expenses with Receipts. Method 2 – Actual Lodging Expenses and Actual Meals (Up to Applicable GSA Rates). Receipts are required for lodging only.
Lodging and Meal Rates Con’t Both methods use the applicable U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) rate for the duty point. If duty point city/county is not listed on GSA site, use the “standard rate” for that state. Use the GSA lodging location if lodging is not at the duty point. GSA rates can be found at: http://www.gsa.gov/portal/category/21287
Lodging (Both Methods) Itemized receipts for lodging are still required. The receipt needs to include name and address of the commercial lodging establishment, name of the traveler, single room rate, daily itemization of charges, and proof of payment. The maximum amount that may be reimbursed is limited to 150% of the applicable GSA lodging rate for the location.
What if my Lodging is More Than 150% of my Applicable GSA Rate? Requests to exceed 150% of the maximum lodging rates listed must be supported by a written statement explaining the circumstances that caused the existing rate to be inadequate and will be subject to Fiscal Office or OSRS approval. Based on Federal Travel Regulations, requests for hotel reimbursements of more than 150% and up to 300% over the standard allowable rate are unallowable except for the following: • Lodging is at a prearranged place such as a hotel where a meeting, conference or training session is held or; • Costs have escalated because of special events; lodging within prescribed allowances cannot be obtained nearby; cost to commute to/from the nearby location exceed the cost savings from occupying less expensive lodging.
Hotel Taxes – All Funds In-State Lodging: • Exempt from paying the State Hotel Occupancy Tax, traveler must provide a tax exemption form to the establishment. • Reimbursement of the State Hotel Occupancy Tax is only allowed when traveler attempted to provide form, but was denied by the hotel–in this case we must report the activity to the Comptroller’s Office. Out-of-State Lodging: • Not exempt from paying any taxes.
How Many Days of Lodging are Reimbursable? Lodging expenses incurred the night before state business begins and the night after state business ends are reimbursable. Lodging expenses incurred more than one night before or after state business begins or ends are generally not reimbursable.
Direct Bill for Hotel • No personal charges allowed, including: • Alcohol • Additional night for personal reasons • No Texas State Hotel Occupancy Tax-submit exemption certificate form to hotel • If meals charged, need detailed receipt and must be within allowable rate for source of funds
Sharing Lodging Receipt Requirements Each employee must claim their share of the lodging expense. If the name on the lodging receipt is different, the employee must provide proof that the expense was incurred. The proof may be in the form of: • a credit card slip, • a credit card billing, • a canceled check, or • a receipt from the individual
Meal Reimbursements Meal reimbursement includes the actual cost of reasonable and necessary food, beverages, gratuities, taxes, and other incidental expenses. Charges for alcoholic beverages must be deducted before submitting a claim. Meals are limited to ¾ of the GSA applicable rate on the first and last day of travel. There will be no reimbursement for meals without an overnight stay.
Meals Method 1 - Actual Expenses: With meal receipts, travelers may be reimbursed for actual meals and gratuitiesup to 150% of the applicable GSA rate for the location. Gratuities must not exceed 20% of the cost of the meal. Meal receipts must be attached to the voucher for all days. Method 2 - Actual Expenses up to the Applicable GSA rate: Receipts do not have to be submitted. Reimbursements will be based on the actual cost of meals capped at the applicable GSA rate for the location. This is NOT a flat per diem. Claim must be for actual expenses and rate cap includes incidentals such as gratuities to hotel workers. Note: first and last day of travel have a lower GSA applicable rate for both methods.
Reimbursements for Mileage Travelers who drive their own vehicles for in-state travel may be entitled to mileage reimbursement. The reimbursement rate includes the gas price estimate and wear-and-tear on the vehicle. The number of miles traveled by an employee for state business may be determined by either: Actual odometer readings with specific point to point itemization. -OR- Print out from Google Maps showingmileage between the starting location and ending location.
Mileage Mileage for traveling between the place of lodging and the place of entertainment, visiting friends/family, sightseeing, or shopping is not reimbursable. On a scheduled work day, mileage will be calculated to and from the traveler’s headquarters to the business destination. On a scheduled day off, mileage will be calculated to and from the traveler’s residence or actual location, whichever is less.
Mileage Rate Mileage will be reimbursed at the rate set by the IRS for business travel. Current rates can be found at http://www.gsa.gov/portal/content/100715
Rental of Motor Vehicles Charges for liability insurance supplements, personal accident insurance, safe trip insurance, and personal effects insurance are not reimbursable. Reimbursable costs include: Applicable taxes and similar mandatory charges. A charge for a collision damage waiver or a loss damage waiver (the waiver is usually included in the contracted rate for the rental). OSRS will reimburse car rental expenses up to a 4-door, full size car. Traveler must provide justification for use of larger size vehicle.
Rental Vehicle Receipt Requirements The final original itemized receipt issued by the rental company must include the following: • the name of the rental company, • the name of the employee renting the vehicle, • the starting and ending dates of the rental, • an itemization of the expenses incurred, and • proof of payment
Direct Bill for Rental Cars If the rental car is direct billed, the following needs to be remembered: • No personal travel • No frequent flyer mile charges • No personal insurance charges • Detailed receipt required
Rental Car or Mileage Reimbursement Requests for Out-of-State Travel If a personal vehicle or a rental car is driven out of state (as opposed to flying), a business reason is needed to explain why a flight was not taken. Attach advance airfare quote if reason is lower total cost. Remember, OSRS must minimize the amount of travel expenses reimbursed by ensuring that each travel arrangement is the most cost-effective considering all relevant circumstances.
Parking The supporting documentation must list each day the expense was incurred and the amount of the expense incurred each day, as well as the location(s) where the expense was incurred. Receipts are required if over $75.
Airfare Ticket Receipt Requirements Original and complete airline ticket receipt/passenger receipt required - it needs to include the following level of detail: • the name of the employee and airline, • the ticket number, • the class of transportation, • the travel dates, • the amount of the airfare, • the origin and destination of each flight, and • proof of payment (passenger itinerary alone is unacceptable; the receipt with proof of payment is required)
Air Travel First/business class airfare may not be purchased without additional documentation and must be charged to a proper account. Frequent flyer milesor discounts obtained during official business may be used by the traveler for private purposes, as long as no additional expense was incurred to obtain them.
Checked Baggage Fees A traveler can be reimbursed for the checked baggage fee for one piece of luggage. A second bag fee will only be reimbursed if a specific business reason is stated on the voucher. Overweight and oversize baggage fees will also require a business reason to be reimbursable. Receipts are required if the expense exceeds $75.
Allowable Miscellaneous Expenses (Receipts required for single expense over $75) • Fees for traveler’s checks/currency exchange • Porterage, special transportation and tips for handling business equipment and materials • Postage for official mail • Gasoline for rental cars • Fees for money orders and/or certified checks • Passport and/or visa fees • Cost of photographs for passports and visa • Foreign country exit fees • Transaction fees for use of automated teller machines (ATMs)
Non-Allowable Miscellaneous Expenses • Entertainment expenses and non-project related social activities • Frequent flyer mileage fees • Costs incurred by unreasonable failure to cancel transportation and hotel reservations • Fines for automobile violations including parking tickets • Gasoline purchases for personal vehicles when claiming mileage • Personal items purchased due to lost/delayed baggage • Lost or stolen tickets, cash, or property • Hotel movie rentals and airline headsets • Health club fees • Magazine, newspapers, and books unrelated to business • Personal credit card delinquency fees or finance charges • Office Supplies not related to the travel purpose of the trip • Memberships
Incidental Expenses Expenses such as tolls, taxis, subways, rental car gas, first checked bag fee will not require a receipt unless a single expense exceeds $75. Like before, itemization of the expenses is still required. Expenses incurred for laundry, cleaning and pressing of clothing are reimbursable within the United States (including Alaska, Hawaii, U.S. Territories, and Possessions). However, the employee must incur a minimum of four (4) consecutive nights at the place of lodging (on business travel) to qualify. A receipt is required when the expense exceeds $75.
Change Fee / Cancellation Charges A state agency may pay or reimburse a state employee for a cancellation charge if: • the charge is incurred for a reason related to state business; or • the charge incurred for a reason related to state business that could not be conducted because of a natural disaster or occurrence; or • the employee was unable to use the transportation, hotel, etc. because of an illness or a personal emergency (sick leave eligible).
Combining State and Personal Business If a traveler combines personal travel with official state business travel, the reimbursement or payment of transportation expenses may not exceed the sum of the lowest available cost of transporting the employee from Headquarters to the duty point and back. Printed comparisons are required. Any meal, lodging, car rental, etc. expenses that were incurred on personal days cannot be reimbursed.
Conference Registration Fees Payment of registration fees require the following: • Full name of conference (no abbreviations allowed) • Name of attendee • Dates of conference • If non-optional meals are included, voucher must state they are non-optional.
Packaged Travel Arrangements Voucher must separately state the cost of each type of travel. Each travel type is reimbursable only to the extent it would have been reimbursable had it not been included in a package. Don’t forget to remove State of Texas Hotel Occupancy Tax.
Foreign Travel Foreign travel must be for the benefit of the State of Texas and any personal benefit thereby accrued must be solely incidental to the official purpose of the travel. In general, foreign travel is defined as travel outside the United States, U.S. territories and possessions, Canada and Mexico. Sponsors differ in defining the term “foreign” so when traveling on OSRS managed accounts, travelers should contact the OSRS Project Administrator to be sure the contemplated travel is correctly classified.
Foreign Travel - Applicable Lodging and Meal Rates For foreign travel location applicable rates,obtain current rates from the State Department at http://aoprals.state.gov/web920/per_diem.asp Either of the two methods allowed for domestic lodging and meal reimbursement guidelines can be used, using applicable rates as a maximum.
Foreign Travel - Receipts Receipts submitted in a foreign currency must be converted (oanda.com) and the conversion attached to the voucher. Or preferably, submit the credit card statement showing the charges instead of using Oanda.
Foreign Travel – Other Differences Laundry and dry cleaning expenses are included in the incidental calculations as part of the meal maximum for travel outside the United States. Separate claims for these expenses are not allowed. When leasing vehicles in foreign countries, it is advisable to purchase all available and reasonable levels of insurance including Personal Accident Liability Insurance (PAI). All other rental requirements are the same.
Fly America Act Generally, if a traveler is traveling on funds provided by the federal government, he/she must use a U.S. flag carrier (an airline owned by an American company), regardless of cost or convenience. If you are scheduling international travel that is federally funded (check with OSRS if you are not sure if your sponsor is Federal), you must ensure that all flights, where possible, are scheduled on U.S. flag carriers or on foreign air carriers that code share with a U.S. flag carrier. See OSRS Travel Policy for more details.