14.16 Preparing a Travel Expense Report

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Purpose: To provide guidelines and procedures for travel for The University of Arizona employees, students and affiliates.
Policy Owner: Accounts Payable

Preparing a Travel Expense ReportSettling a Travel Advance | Receipt Requirements

Preparing a Travel Expense Report

  1. Within ten working days after the completion of a trip complete a Travel Expense Report, itemizing expenses and  per diem claims for each day.
  2. Attach original itemized receipts when required. See information on the receipt requirements below.
  3. If the traveler attended a conference, attach a copy of the brochure.
    NOTE: If the Financial Services - Operations Office will be reimbursing more than 20% of the receipt, then the original receipt must be retained in Financial Services - Operations to satisfy State audit requirements. However, a copy of the receipt stamped "Filed with UA" will be returned to you upon request.
  4. Settling a Travel Advance - UAccess Financials Reference Guide (section 10, Travel - Post-Travel, Settling a Travel Advance)
    1. If the travel advance was less than the actual expenses incurred, the difference will be reimbursed as after tax net pay.
    2. If the travel advance exceeded actual expenses, the traveler must reimburse the University for the difference.  The check must be deposited and the number of the Cash Receipt referenced on the Travel Expense Report.  Checks or cash should not be sent through the mail to Financial Services - Operations.
    3. Travel advances are considered liens against wages and must be settled within 10 business days after the completion of travel. Failure to clear advances on a timely basis by submitting a Travel Expense Report with the appropriate receipts and a Distribution of Income and Expense (DI) may result in loss of future advance privileges and deductions from any payments due the individual (for example, reimbursements, scholarships or salary/wages).
  5. Obtain all required signatures:
    1. Traveler
    2. An authorized approver for the all accounts used
  6. Forward the Travel Expense Report to Financial Services - Operations using the original DV Cover sheet used to issue the advance along with the original receipts, necessary documentation and reference the Cash Receipt   if money was paid back to the University.
  7. Reimbursements will be direct deposited into the employee's bank account on a daily basis upon FINAL approval of the Disbursement Voucher if the employee currently has direct deposit through the payroll system.  Employees have the ability to ‘opt out’ and have their reimbursement funds deposited into a separate account than their primary payroll account by contacting the Travel office to make arrangements.  Employees that do not have direct deposit through payroll will receive a check from Accounts Payable. Students and affiliates who are paid through travel will be sent a check. Completed documents will be processed in the order of their receipt by Financial Services - Operations.

Prepaid/partial/multiple expense reimbursement claims:

  1. Submit a Travel Expense Report marked partial. Do not include in the amount requested as a travel advance (if applicable).
  2. Reference the original Travel Authorization number with all available receipts.
  3. Provide a brief explanation in the Disbursement Voucher document overview as to why a partial Travel Expense Report is being submitted and the date you expect to submit the final Travel Expense Report.
  4. When the trip is complete, a Travel Expense Report marked "final." To speed processing, attach a copy of each partial Travel Expense Report submitted for this trip. 

Business related expense reimbursement (not travel expenses): 

  1. To request reimbursement of business related expenses incurred while on official travel you will need documentation, original itemized receipts and business purpose as required by Policy 9.10.
  2. Benefits (hotel discounts, rebates, frequent flyer awards) earned as a result of University travel should be used by the traveler for future University business travel at no cost to the University and may not be claimed by the traveler as a reimbursable expense. Promotional benefits which the employee is awarded from either personal or business related travel may not be sold or bartered to the University. 

Receipt requirements

  1. Lodging Receipts
    1. Lodging must be with a commercial establishment.  The commercial establishment's original itemized receipt is required. It must be the original itemized statement from the hotel/motel showing the establishment's name, street address, location (for example, city and state), telephone number, the actual dates of lodging, daily room charges and single room rates if more than one person is occupying the room. A credit card receipt is not acceptable.
    2. When lodging is shared by travelers on approved university travel status, reimbursement will be the total cost divided by the number of persons sharing a room, but the total of the two or more lodging receipts may not exceed the single room rate. Claim reimbursement as follows
      1. When a room is to be shared, the travelers should request separate receipts when registering.   The total of the two (or more) lodging receipts cannot exceed the total lodging cost.
      2. Designated lodging - A copy of the conference brochure must be submitted showing the site of the designated hotel and the cost per night.
      3. If the establishment cannot issue separate original receipts one traveler may submit the original lodging receipt and the other traveler(s) may submit photocopies. However, each receipt (original and photocopies) must be marked "Shared Lodging," and have the names and Travel Authorization number of all travelers sharing the room. Photocopies must be signed by the traveler and approved by the department head. No photocopies will be accepted without these original signatures, OR
      4. When a group or team is traveling together, one traveler may incur the cost of lodging for the group and submit the original receipt for lodging reimbursement. The lodging receipt must indicate the names of all travelers who shared the room.
    3. When lodging is shared with an individual not on state business (such as a spouse) reimbursement to the traveler will not exceed the single room rate. 
  2. Airline receipts: When purchasing tickets via the internet, the confirmation or receipt must indicate the name, itinerary and that the tickets have been paid for.
  3. Public transportation:  Itemize public transportation expenses within a city (for example, trains, buses) on the Travel Expense Report.  (Receipts are not required. Exception: Foreign rail receipts are required.)
  4. To claim registration or conference fees, a program or literature showing the opening and closing dates of the function is always required as well as original itemized receipts. For receipt information see the Receipt Requirement section.  Registration fees for conferences outside of your duty post by 35 miles must be claimed on a Travel Expense Report. In order to avoid out of pocket expenses, registration or conferences fees can be paid for with the Purchasing Card or on a Requisition.
  5. Parking/Garage Fees: Claims for parking/storage must be supported by a receipt.
  6. Telephone Charges: When authorized by the supervisor, it is possible to access the least costly telephone networks from off-campus locations. Contact the supervisor for authorization and instructions. Business-related communication charges for telephone are reimbursable if documented by original itemized receipt and UA business purpose. 

Other receipts:

  1. Gasoline: Travelers using rented vehicles, or any vehicle that is not owned by the traveler, may not claim mileage. Submit original gasoline receipts showing the date of purchase, name of the vendor, license plate number of the vehicle and the total amount paid. 
  2. Rental Vehicles: Submit the original rental agency statement showing the dates of use and total cost.  
  3. Rented Aircraft: Receipts are required for reimbursement of chartered aircraft rental, landing and parking fees.  Reimbursement will not be made for storage or parking fees at the location where the privately owned aircraft is normally based. (Aircraft fuel will be reimbursable if receipts are provided. 

Foreign expenses

  1. Foreign Receipts: It is the traveler's responsibility to convert foreign receipts into US dollars; the exchange rate used must be shown on the Travel Expense Report.  One of the online sources for exchange rates is OANDA Currency Converter. When submitting foreign receipts, the following must be documented:
    1. The exchange rate,
    2. What the receipt is for, and
    3. The amount in US dollars.
  2. Foreign Currency Exchange Fees: Submit original itemized receipts showing the amounts exchanged and the fee charged.
  3. Foreign expenses, other than those incurred in Canada and Mexico, cannot be reimbursed on state accounts.

If the original receipt is lost or destroyed: 

  1. Submit a photocopy of the receipt with the statement, "Treat as an Original." The photocopy must be signed by the employee and approved by the department head, OR
  2. If a photocopy is not available and a copy cannot be obtained from the commercial establishment, then submit a copy of the canceled check or credit card receipt showing the employee paid for the expense and a letter of explanation approved by the department head in lieu of the original or photocopy.  The letter must contain the name of the employee, the dates of the expense, the name, address and telephone number of the business, cost per night, if lodging, the total cost, etc., and the reason(s) why an original or photocopy of the receipt is not available.