Welcome to the Harvard University Travel and Reimbursement and Policy Briefing Travel and Reimbursement Office (TRO)
Reasons for this briefing • To clarify travel and reimbursement policies • in accordance with IRS regulations and guidelines • in expectation of audit • To improve reimbursement processing • minimize returns to local unit for rework • provide information and resources • To inform of Harvard’s preferred vendors • benefit to both travelers and the University
Staying current on policies • Familiarize yourself with University-wide policies • http://vpf-web.harvard.edu/documents • Read the FAD e-Newsregularly for policy changes and updates • past issues are indexed by topic and are available at: vpf-web/training/enews.html • If you have a question before submitting your reimbursement request call • TRO at 5-7760 or Tax Operations at 6-5224 • Know your local tub policies which may be more restrictive • Check with your financial dean office (or equivalent financial office) Consult the Reimbursement Policy at a Glance quick reference on ABLE for a high-level summary of the Travel and Reimbursement Policy.
Helpful hints for travelers • Review your corporate American Express Card • is it in good standing? • is the spending limit appropriate for your anticipated need? • Establish a personal system for saving original receipts • some local units provide special travel packets • Block time on your calendar soon after your expected return date to: • review receipts • make notes for preparer or • prepare expense report • Keep your local unit administrator informed of your travel plans
Travel arrangements: Domestic Appropriate class of service and preferred airlines/railways • Domestic: travel within and between any of the United States and its territories and possessions • Lowest available Coach class is Allowable • Business class is Allowable to Hawaii and Alaska. • Business class is Allowable to Canada and Mexico when the trip exceeds 6 hours • Harvard preferred domestic travel agreements: • American - Amtrak • UsAirways • Continental • Northwest
Travel arrangements: International Appropriate class of service and preferred airlines • International: destinations outside North America (Alaska and Hawaii included) • Business class travel is Allowable • First class travel is Unallowable to all destinations • Exception: Medical reason with Financial Dean (or equivalent) approval • Harvard preferred international air agreements: • American • UsAirways • Continental • Lufthansa • Alitalia • Air France
University Policy – Class of Service • Coach class only for travel within the 48 contiguous United States and to Puerto Rico, Mexico, and Canada Travelers to Mexico or Canada on flights longer than six hours can use business class • Business class is allowed for travel to Hawaii,Alaska, and international destinations ALL AIRFARE COSTS in excess of coach class must be charged to expense object codes 8450 - 8459, “Expenses Ineligible for Direct or Indirect Federal Reimbursement.”
Federal Policy In addition to University policy, federal restrictions apply to all Harvard travel charged to federal funds (range 100000-199999). • The Fly America Act requires the use of a U.S. flag carrier, when available, for international travel on all federally sponsored awards • Cost savings is not considered a valid exception • For more information, visit the University of Alaska, Fairbanks web site at: http://www.uaf.edu/grcon/manual/sec_g.html If you are unsure about the restrictions of your award, call OSR at 496-2522 before making travel arrangements.
Lodging arrangements • Travelers may stay in a standard room at hotels appropriate for business travel • Luxury hotels should be avoided • Budget hotels should be avoided • Sources providing Harvard travelers with discounted room rates • Ivy Plus Hotel Program • On-Line Expedia Rates (coming in early April) • HTC (WorldTravel Partners) Hotel Program
Car rental arrangements Travelers should use Harvard’s preferred car rental vendors when ever possible because of… INSURANCE • Hertz: Free #1 Gold Card • Avis: Free Avis Preferred Service • Enterprise (Local Rentals Only): Will Deliver a Car Important Insurance Reminders Domestic: Decline LDW/CDW Decline Excess Liability Insurance International: Accept All Insurance
Ground transportation arrangements Sedan Service and other ground transportation • Sedan services may be used when appropriate for the business occasion • Harvard preferred agreements: • Boston Coach • Custom Transportation • Limousines are generally unallowable and require Financial Dean approval • Harvard preferred agreement: • Commonwealth Limo Taxis are the most recommended mode of transportation
Related expenses General comments regarding some common expenses • Entertainment • requires a business purpose describing who was entertained and for what purpose. • Meals • with fellow employees: employee morale or recognition • business meals: meal expenses incurred while on a trip • Alcoholic Beverages • must be charged to expense object code 8450 “Expenses Ineligible for Direct or Indirect Federal Reimbursement.” • Phone Calls • personal : sustain reasonable contact with family • business : reasonable and necessary for conducting business
Travel and Reimbursement Expense Reporting
Reimbursements University travelers are expected to spend Harvard funds prudently ALL reimbursements must be: • Guided by policy • Properly documented • Reasonable and prudent • Substantiated with an acceptable business purpose • Submittedwithin 60 days from the date the expense was incurred • Reimbursements may not be submitted if being paid or reimbursed by another source Refer to the Reimbursements –Travel and Non-Travel Policy at http://vpf-web.harvard.edu/documents/ for additional details.
Why are expense reports returned? Most expense reports are returned to local units by TRO for basic policy violations • Expenses were not properly documented • Business purpose was missing or incomplete • Receipts were missing and no MRA was submitted • Required financial dean (or equivalent) letter was missing or incomplete • Reimbursee’s signature was missing • Expenses were unallowableunder University policy • Expenses were submitted beyond 60 days and did not have financial dean approval Consult the Reimbursement Policy at a Glance quick reference on ABLE for a high-level summary of the Travel and Reimbursement Policy.
Documentation Reimbursement requests must be accompanied by receipts substantiating expenses, including: • Original receipts for all expenses $75 or greater • Receipts under $75 should not be sent to the TRO • Local units may have more restrictive documentation requirements • All hotel receipts (a.k.a. hotel folios) • Any personal charges on the hotel folio must be: • crossed out, • subtracted from the total bill, • paid with personal funds by the individual Call your local financial office if you are unsure about your local documentation policies.
Federal documentation requirement All travelers using Federal funds are expected to document the purchase the lowest cost airfares available for non-stop trips, using US Flag carriers when possible, and booking through any of Harvard’s preferred travel agencies. • Use of Harvard preferred travel vendor • satisfies Federal documentation requirements • Use of a web site or travel vendor outside of the Harvard preferred travel program • documentation must be included demonstrating airfare was equal to or lower than the cost of the same trip booked through Harvard’s preferred agents If you are unsure about the restrictions of your award, call OSR at 496-2522 before making travel arrangements.
What if receipts are lost? Missing Receipt Affidavit • If the original receipt is not available, the reimbursee must fill out a Missing Receipt Affidavit (MRA) • The MRA is available on ABLE and can support multiple expenses • Both the reimbursee and the approver must sign the MRA Use of MRAs should be the exception, not the norm when processing reimbursements
Business Purpose As required by the IRS, a reimbursement request MUST be accompanied by a valid business purpose that contains the following information: • Who incurred the expense • What the expense entailed • Why this is a Harvard business expense • When the expense was incurred • Where the expense was incurred • for travel-related expenses • Who else was involved • for entertainment-related expenses
Lab research books, Dr. Duffy, 5/20/02, for reference use Photocopying for Dr. Hoyt’s History 101 course, 6/10/02, FAS Bill Hoyt, purchased office supplies for students enrolled in Literature course, 6/07/02 Examples of Business Purposes Unacceptable Acceptable Business Purpose Books Photocopying BH Purchase Supplies Refer to the Reimbursements –Travel and Non-Travel Policy at http://vpf-web.harvard.edu/documents/ for additional details.
Reportable Income Reportable income: any payment or reimbursement where the University’s benefit is secondary to the individual’s benefit. To determine if an expense is reportable income, ask yourself … • Is there alegitimate, substantiatedbusiness purpose for the expense? • Whoprimarily benefitsfrom the goods or service purchased? The University may not be required to report certain expenses to the IRS, but the individual taxpayer may still be responsible for disclosing payments from Harvard on his/her individual tax return.
Reportable Income (continued) Due to IRS regulations, certain types of reimbursements require a pre-audit by the Tax Operations office. These include: • Gifts, gift certificates, or donations • Moving or relocation expenses • Telephone or internet services • Spousal or family travel Call Tax Operations at 6-5224 if you have questions about reportable income or for more information on this topic.
Timeliness Reimbursements must be submitted within 60 days from the date of the expenditure. After 60 days: • Reimbursement requests require the written approval of a Financial Dean (or equivalent) explaining why an exception should be granted Refer to the Reimbursements –Travel and Non-Travel Policy at http://vpf-web.harvard.edu/documents/ for additional details.
Timing Exceptions Two exceptions to the 60-day rule are allowed: • Extended Business Trip Exception: • Expenses incurred while on a business trip longer than 21 consecutive days • Allowance Reimbursement Exception: • Expenses paid from an annualresearch or professional expense fund The phrase “Extended Business Trip Exception” or “Allowance Reimbursement Exception” must appear at the beginning of the business purpose when submitting these reimbursement requests.
Extended Business TripReimbursement Exception Basic process for an Extended Business Trip Reimbursement Exception: • Follow all documentation guidelines • check that the reimbursable expenses were incurred within the beginning and end dates of the trip • Begin the business purpose with the phrase “Extended Business Trip Exception” • follow all other business purpose guidelines • Process using Web Voucher Reimbursement Extended business trip reimbursement requests must be submitted no later than 60 days from the end date of the trip.
Extended Business TripBusiness Purposes Examples of acceptable business purposes for extended business tripexceptions: • Extended Business Trip Exception - Dr. Richardson, trip expenses to Oxford, England, to collaborate on Genome Project, April 15 - June 30, 2002, exchange rate £1 = $1.41 • Extended Business Trip Exception - Professor Sheen, trip expenses, Rochester, NY, to work on Harvard-RIT Wells Project, 5/10/02 - 6/20/02 • Extended Business Trip Exception - R. Easton, trip expenses, Beaumont, TX, Gulf Biology Project, assistant, May 1 - June 23, 2002
Allowance Reimbursement Exceptions Basic process for an Allowance Reimbursement Exception: • Follow all documentation guidelines • Make sure that reimbursable expenses were incurred no later than 12 months before the date of your reimbursement request • Begin the Business Purpose with the phrase “Allowance Reimbursement Exception” • The “when” can describe the extended time period of the allowance expenses • Process as a reimbursement through Web Voucher In these cases, reimbursement requests must be submitted no later than 12 months from the date expenses were incurred.
Allowance Exception Business Purposes Examples of acceptable business purposes for Allowance ReimbursementExceptions: • Allowance Reimbursement Exception - S. Jones, student, allocated funds of $1,300 which were spent over the year from June, 2001 on research books for Dr. Benez’s anthropology course • Allowance Reimbursement Exception - M. Sheets, off-campus Brookline office telephone charges, June 2001 to June 2002, for University business • Allowance Reimbursement Exception - Dr. Baughman, research materials allowance, FY 2001, Longwood campus, RNA research
Prepaid Expenses Prepaid expenses now fall under the 60-day rule for submitting reimbursements • Whether charged to a personal credit cardor paid by personal check or funds • The reimbursement, properly documented, should be submitted as soon as possible and within 60 days from the date of expenditure It is the responsibility of the local units to monitor prepaid expenses AND recover any reimbursements that were made in the event a trip or conference is cancelled.
University Policy: Per Diems Per Diem: a daily rate assigned by the government to a location for reimbursement of lodging, meals and incidental expenses • Per diems provided in advance of a trip are not allowed • Reimbursement for travel may be requested based on either: • actual expenses incurred, or • per diem rate • per diems are paid as a reimbursement in lieu of actual expenses • receipts are not required (local units may be more restrictive) • Travelers may not request reimbursement of actual expenses for one portion of their trip and per diem for the remainder • IRS per diem regulations • Employees: must follow Federal daily allowance • Independent Contractors, Alumni, and Trustees: Not applicable • Non-Employee Researchers and Scholars: Not applicable Payments made to Non-employee Researcher/Scholars must be treated as a fellowship and are reportable by the individual
University-wide Business Expense Policy (UBEP) Recent Updates to the UBEP • The Personal and Unallowable Expenses list was revised and separated into two lists for ease of use • Personal and Unallowable Expenses – No Exceptions • These expenses will not be reimbursed • Personal and Unallowable Expenses – Reimbursement or Payment Meeting Exception Criteria Only • These exceptions are considered extraordinary and require a Financial Dean’s (or equivalent) approval before a reimbursement will be made • Some tubs may have more restrictive policies Refer to the University-wide Business Expense Policy at http://vpf-web.harvard.edu/documents/ for additional details and the revised lists.
Personal and Unallowable – No Exceptions Appendix A, UBEP • Lists most common personal expenses which will NOT be reimbursed • The “no exceptions” list clarifies existing policy and/or procedures • The items on it are truly unallowable • NO exceptions can be made Found in the University-wide Business Expense Policy at http://vpf-web.harvard.edu/documents
Personal and Unallowable – No Exceptions (continued) Some examples are: • Parking tickets or traffic fines • Credit card reward programs • Per diem expenses when staying with family or friends • Body augmentation (piercing, tattoos, etc.) • Massages – including office “chair massages” • Auto repairs (damage while on University business) – these must go through the University Insurance office For a listing of the most common unallowable personal expenses, refer to the University-wide Business Expense Policy at http://vpf-web.harvard.edu/documents/
Personal and Unallowable – Meeting Exception Criteria Only Appendix B, UBEP • Lists most common personal expenses which MAY be reimbursed under extraordinary circumstances • Financial Dean’s (or equivalent) letter is required • The list also indicates how to process these exceptions and identifies which expenses are: • Chargeable to federally sponsored research programs • Considered reportable income For a listing of the most common rare exceptions, refer to the University-wide Business Expense Policy at http://vpf-web.harvard.edu/documents/
Personal and Unallowable –Meeting Exception Criteria Only (cont.) An exception on this list must be accompanied by a Financial Dean’s (or equivalent) letter that: • Explains the extraordinary circumstances why the expense should be allowed • Approves the exception • Includes a complete business purpose • Who, What, When, Where, and Why • Is attached to the reimbursement request
UBEP – New Expense Categories Allowable as exceptions only and with Financial Dean’s (or equivalent) letter: • Telegrams • Hotel health club fees • Cancellation fees • Use of private airplanes • Contact the University Insurance office before booking Allowable at the discretion of local units: • Minibar expenses • must be charged to expense object code 8450 “Expenses Ineligible for Direct or Indirect Federal Reimbursement.”
Where Can I Get Help? Get policy and other help online at: http://able.harvard.edu Get help by calling: The UIS Helpdesk at 6-2001
Travel and Reimbursement Office (TRO) The TRO is available to help you meet the compliance requirements of Harvard and the IRS. Additional information is available on the TRO web site (http://www.travel.harvard.edu/)
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