Travel

Loyola University will reimburse authorized university travelers for travel-related expenses that are reasonable and necessary to conduct university business. Travelers are expected to take advantage of all savings opportunities when possible (e.g. economy class airfares).  

REQUIRED DOCUMENTATION AND RECEIPTS / TIMELINE FOR SUBMISSION

Policy:

In accordance with IRS accountable plan regulations, reimbursements must be submitted within 60 calendar days after business related expenses are paid to avoid being included as wages for tax purposes. Reimbursements processed after 60 days from the date the expense was paid will be added to W-2 taxable earnings and appropriate taxes will be withheld from the employee's next regular paycheck.  Please note, while the university recommends that airline tickets be purchased and conference registration fees be paid be in advance of travel to take advantage of discounted fares, airfare and registration reimbursement requests must be submitted within 60 days from the date of purchase to avoid being included in earnings.  The 60 calendar day reimbursement period begins on the date of purchase, not the date of travel. 

Reimbursement requests must be received by the Financial Affairs Office within the 60 day period.  Reimbursement requests that are submitted to other offices for approval but are not received by the Financial Affairs Office within the 60 day time period will be added to W-2 taxable earnings. 

The University will not process reimbursement requests that are submitted to the Financial Affairs Office more than 90 calendar days after an expense is paid. This policy will apply to reimbursements for faculty and staff.  Reimbursement requests for expenses submitted more than 90 days after the expense was paid will be refused. 

*Effective January 1, 2015, the university will no longer process reimbursement requests that are submitted to the Financial Affairs Office more than 60 calendar days after an expense is paid.  This policy will apply to all reimbursement requests, including those submitted by independent contractors.  

For student reimbursements with receipts 60 days or older, the check request must be accompanied by a completed W-9 form for 1099 reporting purposes. Any single expenditure of $25 or more must be accompanied by an original receipt. If, in rare cases, original receipts are not available, an explanation must be submitted with the Expense Statement prior to processing. Expense Statements that are not properly completed and approved will be returned unprocessed to the employee with an explanation of the deficiency.

Reimbursement requests may be submitted to the Financial Affairs Office as soon as expenses are paid for immediate processing.

Please note, this policy aplies to all expenses paid for which an employee is requesting reimbursement, not just to travel-related expenses.

The Financial Affairs Office will allow an exception to the 60 day rule in the case where a hotel requires an individual to pay a deposit in order to hold a room reservation.  If a hotel deposit is required, the individual may choose to either request reimbursment immediately or to submit the reimbursement request within 60 days of the hotel stay.  This exception will be awarded only to the deposit charged by the hotel.  Any other purchases that may be related to the trip, such as airfare or conference registration, will be subject to the standard 60 day policy.

Examples:

For clarification, please review the following examples:

Example 1) Traveler A purchases an airline ticket on June 1, 2012 for a flight departing on August 1, 2012. Traveler A submits a reimbursement request for the airfare on July 1, 2012. The reimbursement request is processed and no taxes are imputed because the reimbursement was submitted within 60 days of the purchase.

Example 2) Traveler B purchases an airline ticket on June 1, 2012 for a flight departing on August 1, 2012. Traveler B submits a reimbursement request for the airfare on August 15, 2012. The reimbursement request is processed but taxes are imputed on Traveler B’s W-2 taxable earnings because the reimbursement was not submitted within 60 days of the purchase. Even though the reimbursement was submitted within 60 days of travel, accountable plan regulations require that expenses be submitted within 60 days of the expenses being paid to avoid being taxed as earnings.

Example 3) Traveler C purchases an airline ticket on June 1, 2012 for a flight departing on August 1, 2012. Traveler C submits a reimbursement request for the airfare on September 15, 2012. The reimbursement request is refused and no reimbursement is provided to Traveler C because the request was submitted more than 90 days after the expense was paid. 

Example 4) Traveler D purchases an airline ticket on January 1, 2015 for a flight departing on March 1, 2015.  Traveler D submits a request for reimbursement on March 5, 2015.  The reimbursement request is refused and no reimbursement is provided to Traveler D.  The request was submitted more than 60 days after the expense was paid and after the new policy disallowing reimbursement submissions after 60 days was effected on January 1, 2015.

While the examples above discuss the purchase of airfare, the process detailed above will apply to all payments (such as conference registration, baggage handling, etc.).  For additional examples please refer to the University's policy on Entertainment and Other Expense Reimbursements.

Procedure: 

  • Sufficient information to establish the business purpose of the travel, entertainment, or other expenditure by completing a properly completed Travel, Entertainment and/or Miscellaneous Expense Statement;
  • Substantiation of expenditures with original receipts. Original documentation is necessary to verify expenditures and eliminate the possibility of duplicate payments.
  • Any single expenditure of $25 or more must be accompanied by an original receipt. If, in rare cases, original receipts are not available, an explanation must be submitted with the Expense Statement prior to processing. Expense Statements that are not properly completed and approved will be returned unprocessed to the employee with an explanation of the deficiency.
  • All lodging and entertainment expenses and meals shared by two or more individuals must be supported by receipts, regardless of amount.
  • Entertainment expenses and meals shared by two or more individuals (regardless of amount) require submission of business purpose and a list of the attendees.

All receipts should be secured to an 8 ½” x 11” sheet of paper and attached to the Travel and/or Entertainment Expense Statements. In the event that a receipt is lost or unavailable, the Missing Receipt Affidavit must be completed and attached to the appropriate expense statement.

(back to up)

PER DIEMS
In place of reimbursement for actual lodging and/or meal expenses, a reasonable per diem may be utilized. Per diems may be less than but cannot exceed the regular federal per diem rate for lodging and M&IE in effect for the areas where you stop for sleep or rest. Per diems do not need to be supported by hotel and/or meal and incidental expense receipts. However, a copy of the applicable GSA per diem rate must accompany the request for reimbursement. Please be aware that on both the first and last days of travel the reimbursement rate is only 75% of the applicable rate.  These rates can be found at http://www.gsa.gov.

Please note- in order to ensure compliance with state grant regulations, Loyola requires that all travel funded by a state grant must be accompanied by actual hotel receipts. M&IE per diem rates may still be utilized at the allowable grant contract rate.

(back to top)

PERSONAL CAR (MILEAGE)
For those who conduct university business with their personal cars, the university will reimburse the traveler at either the standard mileage rate established by the university or actual gasoline expenses submitted with original receipts. As of January 1, 2014, the standard mileage rate is 56 cents per mile for business miles driven. Please note that this rate is subject to change. Reimbursement requests utilizing the standard mileage rate must include either the number of miles driven as well as the point of origin and point of return, or a website mileage calculator such as a Google map or equivalent. The employee must print the page indicating mileage and attach it to the request for reimbursement.

(back to top)

Extended Travel Exception

An exception to the 60 day reimbursement policy will be granted for employees traveling on extended business trips.

  • Travel must be for a period longer than 30 days.
  • Traveler must submit expenses 60 days from the end date of the trip.
  • Traveler must complete the Extended Travel Exception Request form.
  • Documentation must be provided with the reimbursement request that substantiates the dates of departure and return to the United States, such as a boarding pass or flight itinerary. Reimbursements processed after the exception period has ended will be added to W-2 taxable earnings and appropriate taxes will be withheld from the employee's next regular paycheck.
  • Requests submitted after 60 days will be processed as taxable income, without exception. 
  • Requests submitted after 90 days from the end date of the trip will not be processed.  

Effective January 1, 2015, reimbursements submitted after 60 days from the end date of the trip will not be processed.

(back to top)

TRAVEL UNDER SPONSORED PROJECTS
Travel under projects funded by federal, state, or private funding sources may be subject to the conditions specified in the grant or contract and will be monitored for compliance to the applicable regulations. All documentation specified in this policy and any additional requirements specified by the granting agency must be provided. For additional information, please review the Grants and Agency Accounting Manual.

To ensure University compliance to the federal rule regarding “unallowable costs” and IRS guidelines, the University requires that expenses submitted for reimbursement are appropriately documented. The most appropriate documentation to satisfy federal requirements are original receipts that identify each item purchased. In cases where original itemized receipts are not available, other appropriate documentation may be submitted.

Appropriate documentation should show as much as possible the type of expenses incurred and should establish that federal “unallowable costs” are identified on the receipt. Loyola’s per diem policy may be utilized in accordance with the applicable grant regulations. If utilizing per diem rates, the use of itemized receipts does not apply as the applicable per diem rate is used in lieu of receipts.

Non-itemized receipts are not the best documentation for the reason that they cannot validate the types of expenses incurred. However, the University recognizes that itemized receipts may not always be available. For example, some entities may issue receipts that only provide a summary of expenses with the total charges. In such cases, the University will deem the "summary receipts" to be appropriate documentation. In cases where receipts are not available at all a Missing Receipt Affidavit must be completed. However, the following conditions apply:

a) the expense report should document that no alcoholic beverages are included in the expenses incurred; or,
b) when the expenses include alcoholic beverages or other unallowable costs, the report should specify the cost, segregate it from federal allowable costs, and charge it to an appropriate non-grant funded account.

(back to top)

UNALLOWABLE TRAVEL EXPENSES
The university will reimburse the traveler for reasonable business-related expenditures. Some examples of unallowable expenditures are:

  1. Flight Insurance and/or Trip Protection
  2. Airline Clubs
  3. Lost or stolen property
  4. Parking or Traffic Violations
  5. In-room Movies
  6. Personal Entertainment (e.g. movies, exercise facilities)
  7. Personal Gifts
  8. Conference Tours
  9. Fees involved by extending the trip for personal vacation
  10. Guest Related Costs
  11. Childcare & Pet Boarding
     

(back to top)

 

SPOUSAL TRAVEL/ENTERTAINMENT
Purpose:
This policy provides a framework, in compliance with IRS regulations, for determining the need and processing of expenses related to the spouse of an employee to travel and/or entertain on behalf of Loyola University New Orleans to further the mission of the University.  Please note that this policy applies to all spousal expenses, regardless of whether the expenses are for local events or are travel-related.

Policy:
It is anticipated that from time to time spouses of faculty and staff members of Loyola University New Orleans will be expected to attend certain functions related to the ongoing mission of the University. Such functions where the employee and spouse are representing the University may include meetings either at association or convention levels, alumni meetings, donor events or other meetings of organizations in which the university is involved. Additionally, it is expected that on occasion the spouses of Deans, Provost and Vice Presidents may provide a determinable benefit to the university by accompanying the employee while traveling on university business. (Reimbursement for spousal travel expenses is limited to Deans, Provost and Vice Presidents.) It is the responsibility of the Controller and Associate Vice President of Financial Affairs to determine if reimbursements for spousal entertainment and travel expenses are reimbursable and not taxable, reimbursable but taxable, or not reimbursable. Due to the potential that a spouse’s expenses may not be reimbursable and would therefore be considered a personal employee expense, no spousal expenses may be charged to a university issued credit card.

  • It is the position of the University that if it is determined that the presence of the employee’s spouse at an event serves a bona fide business purpose of the University, the travel or entertainment expenses of such spouse may be paid by the University in accordance with university reimbursement policy. All spousal expenses must be approved at the level of Dean or above, though final determination of reimbursements and taxability is made by Financial Affairs.

To be a bona fide business purpose, the presence of the spouse must be essential (not just beneficial) to the employee being able to carry out his/her business purpose for the University. The spouse's performance of some incidental service does not make it a bona fide business expense. A primarily social role does not qualify. An employee's spouse performing certain tasks (such as typing notes) and/or accompanying the employee to luncheons and dinners is not a bona fide business purpose. The spouse must perform substantive business related functions. Documentation of the bona fide business purpose should include an event or meeting agenda, a list duties performed and specific details on topics discussed and individuals engaged. Enough detail should be provided to evidence knowledge of the institutional related topics discussed.

  • In other cases, the Deans, Provost, Vice Presidents and President may determine that it would be desirable for an employee’s spouse to attend a particular function on behalf of the University because the presence of the spouse will generate significant benefit to the university. However, the expenses may not meet the IRS standards of bona fide business purpose as described in section 1 above. In these cases, if the reimbursement of the spouse's expense is approved at the appropriate signatory level and the significant benefit to the university can be documented (subject to approval by Financial Affairs), it will be necessary under IRS code to include such reimbursement in the employee's income as a taxable employer-provided benefit.
  • Unless significant direct benefit to the university is derived by the spouse’s presence at the event or function, the spouse’s expenses are not reimbursable and will be the personal responsibility of the employee.

Procedure:
All travel and entertainment by spouses of employees of Loyola University New Orleans will be reviewed and a specific determination made as to University need and business purpose based upon the following:

  • In some cases, it will be determined that there is a bona fide business purpose for the spouse to represent the University at a particular function. For spousal travel or entertainment to be considered for application of the bona fide business purpose exemption the Spousal Travel/Entertainment Documentation form must be completed and authorized at the appropriate signatory level (Dean and above). If it is determined that a bona fide business purpose does exist, Financial Affairs will authorize the expenditure, and the travel or entertainment expenses of such spouse may be paid by the University in accordance with the University's reimbursement policy. The approved Spousal Travel/Entertainment Documentation form should be submitted along with the applicable expense statements and appropriate documentation upon completion of the event. This form must be attached to any reimbursement request related to spousal travel or entertainment. There will be no tax consequences to the employee if the event is deemed to meet the IRS standards of bona fide business purpose.
  • In other cases, the Deans, Provost, Vice Presidents and President may determine that it would be desirable for an employee’s spouse to attend a particular function on behalf of the University because the attendance of the spouse will generate significant benefit to the university, but the expenses do not meet the IRS standards of bona fide business purpose. In such cases, if the reimbursement of the spouse's travel is approved at the next signatory level and the significant benefit to the university can be documented (subject to approval by Financial Affairs), it will be necessary, under IRS code, to include such reimbursement in the employee's income as a taxable employer-provided benefit. The Spousal Travel/Entertainment Documentation form must be completed to indicate the benefit derived by the university. Additionally, to appropriately account for the cost of the spouse’s expenses, a separate expense statement must be completed by the employee documenting the expenses of the spouse. {For travel costs associated with spouses of Deans, Provost and Vice Presidents, any cost increases that result from the spouse’s travel (ex. double vs. single room, additional driver added to rental vehicle, etc.) must be clearly indicated on the spouse’s expense statement.} The employee will be reimbursed for the spouse’s expenses, but the total amount of the spouse’s expense will be imputed as taxable income to the employee and applicable taxes will be withheld on the employee’s next regular paycheck.
  • Unless significant direct benefit to the university is derived by the spouse’s presence at the event or function, the spouse’s expenses are not reimbursable and will be the personal responsibility of the employee.

Due to the potential that a spouse’s expenses may not be reimbursable and would therefore be considered a personal employee expense, no spousal expenses may be charged to a university issued credit card. 

(back to top)