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DOCUMENT INFORMATION

Document TitleTravel Procedures
Document Type
  • Bylaws
  • Policy Document
  • Procedures
  • Guidelines
  • Form
Office/UnitUniversity Accounting
Document Owner
Contact Information
Office Name Phone Email








Approval Date


Approved by
Effective Date


Review Date/Schedule
Revision HistoryLast revised: March 17, 2015 (Policy no. 810)

DOCUMENT CONTENT

PURPOSE

The purpose of this policy is to define reimbursable travel expenses and what documentation is required for submitting travel vouchers.

SCOPE

Travel includes numerous scenarios and modes of transportation. This procedure encompasses the most popular transportation modes, lodging, meals, foreign travel, and incidental charges. This procedure also summarizes Travel Authorizations, how to calculate meal allowances, and how to complete travel related forms.

Please note:  The Office of State Comptroller (OSC) Travel Manual states “the expense of meals or lodging within the proximity of the official station will not normally be reimbursed, unless it is in the best interest of the State or determined by the head of the agency’s finance office…subject to the audit of the Comptroller.”  For employees traveling within 35 miles from both their official work station and home, travel reimbursement is at the discretion of the department head funding the travel. Other helpful travel information can be found at  http://www.osc.state.ny.us/agencies/travel/travel.htm

PROCEDURES

Travel Authorization

  • All trips must be authorized by traveler’s supervisor and the department funding the travel. A Travel Authorization Form must be completed and sent to University Accounting PRIOR to trip, so the funds can be encumbered. A Travel Authorization Form must be completed even if the traveler will not be personally reimbursed for expenses. If traveler is not being reimbursed, the form should state “for insurance purposes only.”
    • A blank Travel Authorization Form, which no longer is sequentially numbered, can be found on-line.
      • Have supervisor’s signature and if applicable signature of department head funding trip. Traveler should verify that supervisor/funding department also provided an account number at time of signature.

Air and Rail Travel

  • This process requires that all airline reservations be booked via our authorized State travel agency. The State Contract No. PS66730 with Child Travel is in effect January 20, 2015 through January 20, 2020. Child Travel has an Online Travel Reservation System with a booking fee of $4.95 for airline and rail transactions. The agent-assisted airline transaction fee is $14.95. Should you need the help of an agent, please call:

Telephone: (800) 774-0655
Email: CTTravel@dt.com
Fax: (518) 292-9090

After Hours Emergency Assistance: 800-774-0655, Option 8

  • Employees can purchase airfare via their personal credit card, but cannot be reimbursed until AFTER they return and submission of their travel voucher.
  • Employees can also purchase airfare via their State issued Travel Card and or Non- Employee Travel Card.
  • Process when using Fredonia's New York State Contracted Travel Agent:
    • Traveler contacts Child Travel for an airfare and Rail quotes. When giving the traveler’s name and date of birth must agree exactly to the identification they will be using at check-in. Traveler requests that Travel Child Travel hold a particular itinerary. Traveler may request that an itinerary be e-mailed directly to them.
      • Electronic ticket receipts, which include the traveler’s name, Travel Authorization number, invoice number, electronic ticket number, itinerary and cost of ticket, will be e-mailed to the traveler.
    • Traveler sends the original Travel Authorization and photocopy of the electronic ticket receipt to University Accounting at 402 Maytum Hall.
    • IF TRAVEL IS CANCELLED, TRAVELER MUST NOTIFY UNIVERSITY ACCOUNTING, so the funds may be disencumbered. Also, please let the accounting office know if a credit will be coming from Travel Leaders/Albany Travel for tickets already purchased.
      • Note: University will first apply the approved Trip Allowances to any State Travel card purchase. Any remaining Trip Allowance will then be applied to traveler’s out-of-pocket portion.

Transportation to and from Transportation Terminal

  • Travel should be by the most efficient and cost-effective method of transportation available (which is usually coach fees). Traveler should schedule all travel assignments effectively to minimize expenses whenever possible.
    • Traveler may incur charges traveling to or from a transportation terminal, such as an airport, train or bus station. Traveler will be reimbursed actual costs for taxi or common carrier between residence and transportation terminals, or for personal car mileage in accordance with their bargaining unit if the transportation is most efficient and cost-effective method available. Agencies are responsible for determining if costs are reasonable and necessary.
  • State Vehicles
    • When determining whether to request or not to request a State vehicle, keep in mind that state vehicle usage does not allow anyone but an employee, student, or intern to be in the vehicle. Liability rules will not cover spouses or family members. A personal vehicle should be used.
    • Guidelines for the use of State vehicles, as well as the State Vehicle Request Form should be downloaded from the University Services website: Click on Vehicles; then click on Vehicle Request form.
        • The State Vehicle Request Form must be completed in full, including an account number, whether it is a:
        • State account number
        • College Foundation account number
        • Research Foundation account number
          • Note: A project number should not be used. Contact the Research Foundation through Sponsored Programs at Ext. 3196 for an appropriate account number.
      • The form should be completed online and then printed out to obtain the proper signatures. The completed form should be sent to University Services at Administrative Office Complex. An approved request will be returned to the traveler on yellow paper with the guidelines on the back of the form.
      • Each vehicle contains a gas credit card in the glove compartment to be used strictly for fuel and/or oil purchases specifically for that vehicle. To use the card, traveler must input 0 plus their five-digit business pin (the pin code used to make business long distance calls or business photocopies.) An odometer reading of the vehicle must be entered when prompted at the pump. The gas credit card receipt should be turned in with the vehicle keys and yellow request form. Traveler will need to sign the form and write in the ending odometer reading. As a last resort, you may purchase fuel and/or oil at any station using your own credit card or cash. In this case, to be reimbursed for the purchase you must turn in your receipt with your Travel Voucher.
    • If traveler is returning the state vehicle later than scheduled, they must contact University Services at Ext. 3257 (8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Monday – Friday during school year; 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. during summer hours).
  • Personal Vehicles
    • A personal vehicle may be used when common carrier transportation is not available or cost effective. Mileage will be reimbursed in accordance with the current collective bargaining agreement, regardless of the number of passengers.
    • Charges for gasoline, accessories, repairs, depreciation, antifreeze, towing and other similar expenditures will not be allowed. These are considered operating costs of a vehicle and are covered in the mileage allowance.
  • Rental Vehicles
    • Fredonia currently utilizes the State contracted vendors of Hertz and Enterprise. The state has a discount program with Enterprise Rent-a-Car and Hertz for rentals inside New York State. The discount code for SUNY Fredonia is P85322. For rentals outside New York State you can still use Enterprise; therefore the discount code is NA24NYS.
      • When renting a vehicle for State business, the traveler should rent in the name of New York State and sign the agreement as agent for the State.
      • Use form AC-946 and our Tax Exempt Letter to ensure tax exemption.
      • Present your State ID (FredCard) at time of rental.
      • Do not purchase additional insurance if using the State contracted vendors. The insurance is included in the negotiated rental cost.
      • Rental vehicle should be returned with the same amount of fuel as when it was rented.
        • Reasons for using a rental car may be public transportation not available or a rental car is cheaper than alternative transportation.
  • Incidentals
    • Parking, taxi and shuttle fares, business related telephone charges, baggage transfer charges, and tolls can be reimbursed. Traveler may go online to check tolls at www.thruway.state.ny.us/tolls. Tolls may also be reimbursed if paid for through EZ Pass. Note: EZ Pass does not work in Canada except on the Peace Bridge.
    • As of April 1, 2015 OSC is requiring itemized receipts for all incidental expenses.

Registration

  • Registration can be paid by the traveler and reimbursed on the Travel Voucher OR if permissible by department; traveler can pay for registration on their procurement or travel card, or on a Requisition.

Meal and Lodging Expenses

  • Employees may choose from 1 of 2 reimbursement methods for meals and lodging. Per Diem rates are established by the federal government. Rates are identified by county and the traveler must indicate the county as well as the city on the voucher. A full per diem is considered to be dinner the first day, lodging, and breakfast the following day. Incidental expenses such as tips to bellmen, porters, hotel maids, etc. are included in the per diem. Breakfast on the first day and dinner on the last day will also be reimbursed provided traveler meets the same requirements for arrival and departure times as for day trips and THE TIME IS PROPERLY INDICATED ON THE TRAVEL VOUCHER.
    • Overnight Travel – Method I – Without a Lodging receipt
      This is a flat rate per diem allowance for meals, lodging and incidentals as noted above. The rate is based on the location of travel but is the same regardless of where lodging was obtained, including with a relative or friend. For example, there is a $50 maximum for out-of-state and foreign destinations to cover BOTH the meals and lodging. No lodging receipt is required. To receive the full Method I allowance for the specified area, it is necessary for travelers to be in overnight travel status and be eligible for both breakfast and dinner. Click here for Method I Meal Reimbursement Rates.
    • Overnight Travel – Method II – With a Lodging Receipt
      This method provides reimbursement of ACTUAL lodging costs based on the location of travel, and an allowance for meals. Receipts for lodging are required for any meals associated with overnight travel. Traveler must attach the original lodging receipt to the Travel Voucher. If another agency or organization provides lodging, this should be indicated on the voucher, (with a copy of the receipt) and the traveler may claim the meal allowance for the area (find the Per Diem link below). Once the Per Diem rate is determined; click here for Method II Meal Allowance Breakdown.
      • For travel in NYS, employees should use the Tax Exemption Certificate (ST-129) for lodging. NYS taxes cannot be reimbursed. For out of state travel, taxes are not included in the maximum lodging amount, and may be reimbursed.
      • If the amount paid for lodging is greater than the maximum per diem allowed, traveler must obtain approval and attach and Over Per Diem Memo, signed by the department head funding trip, approving the over per diem rate.
    • Meal Allowance
      • Only breakfast and dinner are reimbursable meals. Lunch is not a reimbursable expense.
      • Breakfast - Employees will be allowed reimbursement for breakfast if they have to leave at least one hour before their normal work starting time. For example, if their regular work hours are 8:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M., they would be entitled to breakfast reimbursement on the day the trip starts if they have to leave before 7:00 A.M.
      • Dinner - Employees are allowed reimbursement for dinner if they return at least two hours later than their normal work ending time. For example, if their regular work hours are 8:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M., they would be entitled to dinner reimbursement if they return after 7:00 P.M.
    • Overnight Trips
      Employees will automatically get dinner the night of the stay and breakfast the next morning if a lodging receipt is provided. For breakfast on the first day or dinner on the last day of an overnight trip, travelers may claim the federal per diem allowance for the place of lodging and will automatically get reimbursed with the lodging receipt. DEPARTURE AND RETURN TIMES MUST BE CLEARLY MARKED on the Travel Voucher to get these extra meals reimbursed.
    • Day Trips
      Employees in travel status for day trips are allowed breakfast and dinner reimbursement based on the departure and arrival times of the trips. For non- overnight travel, an employee may claim the non-receipted meal allowance, (the rate now in effect is $5.00 for breakfast and $12.00 for dinner) or actual expenses up to the federal maximum meal allowances with a receipt but not more than the amount spent if less than the per diem. All meal reimbursements not associated with overnight travel are considered taxable by the IRS.
    • Per Diem Rates
      Per Diem rates for domestic and foreign travel may be found at http://www.gsa.gov. Click on Per Diem Rates, on the left under Most Requested Links. Locate the map of the United States.
      • To get domestic rates, click on the state being traveled to.
      • To get foreign rates, click on the rates in foreign location (found on the right side of the US map).
        • Note: These rates will change on October 1st of every year and may be adjusted throughout the year as well.
  • Foreign Travel
    • Travel outside the continental United States is reimbursed based on the maximum per diem allowance established by the U.S. Department of State. The rates are posted on the above listed website. Expenses should be converted to American dollars, based on the exchange rate in effect during the period of travel.
    • The foreign travel rates provide for lodging costs up to a maximum amount, and an allowance for meals and incidental expenses. If a traveler is entitled to the full meal per diem, the allowance is divided into 80% for dinner and 20% for breakfast.
    • The passport rules are changing. It is the traveler’s responsibility to know the document requirements of the country they are traveling to!
    • Incidental Expenses
      Expenses directly related to lodging and meals are included in the per diem allowance and are not reimbursed. However, some expenses unique to foreign travel may be reimbursed.
      • Examples of some of these expenses include:
        • Passports
        • Visa fees
        • Cost to convert currency
        • Travelers’ checks
        • Laundry charges for extended stays
        • Departure taxes

When all the above has been determined, please complete a Travel Voucher and submit to University Accounting.

  • Travel Voucher
    • All expenses must be recorded on the appropriate forms and attached to a completed Travel Voucher.
      • Make sure these items are filled in or attached:
        • Traveler’s New York State Employee ID Number (your number begins with an “N” and can be found on the SUNY Portal under Human Resources.
        • Date and time of departure - this will determine if meals will be paid for
        • Supervisor’s signature
        • Conference brochure
        • Mileage Statement for Personal Automobile Usage, if applicable
        • Original receipts for hotel, conference registration, rental cars, airline ticket stubs, or travel agency print out.
        • Method I MUST BE USED IF TRAVELER DOES NOT STAY IN A HOTEL.
        • Sales tax for lodging is only reimbursable if it is out of NY State.
        • Non-overnight trips; when you take a day trip & are going to claim meals you must have a receipt of some sort for all of the claimed meals (breakfast & dinner) in order to get up to the listed per diem. No reimbursement is allowed for lunch. Otherwise, you will only get reimbursed $5.00 for breakfast and $12.00 for dinner. Both are taxable since these are non-overnight trips.
        • WE CANNOT REIMBURSE TRAVELER FOR SOMEONE ELSE’S TRAVEL COSTS.
    • Mail completed and signed Travel Voucher to University Accounting for payment.

DOCUMENT REQUIRED FOR PAYMENT

    • A completed Travel Authorization must be sent to University Accounting PRIOR to the trip.

    • A completed Travel Voucher must be sent to University Accounting within 30-days of the END of the trip.
      • Any applicable forms

If you have any questions regarding this procedure, please contact University Accounting via e-mail or by calling Ext. 3467.

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