The purpose of this policy is to outline appropriate travel-related expenses. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regulations state that ordinary and necessary business expenses are reimbursable.
- The United States General Services Administration (GSA) provides guidance on reasonable meals and lodging rates: http://www.gsa.gov/portal/content/104877
- The GSA does not address international travel, but reasonable discretion is expected of College employees.
In order to avoid additional payroll taxes, employees must:
- Document expenses by cost, date, and description
- Describe the business purpose and list attendees
- Return to the College, on a timely basis, any amount advanced in excess of the substantiated expenses
- Submit to the College requests for reimbursement within 60 days of purchase or event
Transportation — Employees should seek and engage the least expensive transportation methods that reasonably accommodate their travel needs. Additional consideration should also be given to direct flights and train travel, as these aid in Macalester’s goal of carbon neutrality.
Personal vehicle — Reimbursement is based on the current IRS Standard Mileage Rate.
- Gasoline purchased for a personal vehicle is not an allowable travel expense.
- When using a personal vehicle for College business, the employee’s personal auto insurance provides coverage. It is the obligation of the employee to carry adequate insurance. In the event of an accident, the employee is responsible for the auto insurance deductible.
Airfare — Carbon offsets for airline travel and conferences are considered allowable reimbursements.
- Staying an additional night — Lowering airfare costs by staying an additional night should be compared against the cost of additional lodging charges and considered as a cost-saving measure.
- Using Personal Frequent Flyer Points — If an employee uses personal frequent flyer miles for College travel, the employee is not entitled to a reimbursement or cash payment equivalent to the fair market value of the miles redeemed.
- Travel Insurance — Travel insurance is recommended only when traveling outside of the United States under the following circumstances:
- Traveling to under-developed nations
- Traveling for an extended period of time (one month of more)
- Multiple flights outside of the United States during extended travel
Transportation to and from an airport — Public transportation and shuttles use the least greenhouse gas emissions. Driving a personal vehicle and being reimbursed for mileage and airport parking should be weighed against taxi or public transportation to determine the lowest cost.
Parking and Tolls — Receipts are necessary for reimbursement.
Rental cars — Macalester College has contracts with several car rental companies. Refer to Macalester College’s Business Service’s website for details.
- Renting cars within the United States — All additional or optional insurance should be waived as Macalester’s insurance policy provides this coverage already.
- Renting cars outside of the United States — Based on the employee’s understanding and discretion, insurance options should be purchased.
- Do not purchase prepaid tank fill coverage on the rental. Whenever feasible, fill the tank yourself before returning a rental car. It is considerably more expensive to return the car with a less-than-full tank.
Lodging — Employees should seek and engage the least expensive lodging that reasonably accommodates their travel needs.
- Free accommodations — There is no reimbursement or cash payment if and employee chooses to stay in free accommodations, such as staying with friends or relatives.
Meals — Employees should seek and engage the least expensive meals that reasonably accommodate their travel needs.
- The College reimburses for actual expenses incurred. Per diems are not allowed.
- Meals per day — Up to three meals per day are allowable.
- Prepaid meals — When a meal is prepaid as part of the cost of lodging or conference registration, and the employee chooses to dine elsewhere, the meal cost is not reimbursable.
- Alcoholic beverages with meals — There are a few select situations when alcoholic beverages are reimbursable. The majority of alcohol purchases are not reimbursable. Pre-approval from a supervisor is required for alcohol reimbursement.
Telephone/Internet — The College does not provide reimbursement for cell phone coverage or internet connectivity, with the exception of in-flight wi-fi when there is a substantiated business need.
|Non-Reimbursable Travel Expenses|
|Books||Moving Violations Tickets|
|Health club||Per diems for food or lodging|
|Fitness centers||Gasoline for personal vehicle|
|Massages||Fair market value on personal frequent flyer miles|
|Entertainment||Rental car insurance option in U.S.|
|Personal phone calls||Snow removal|
|Personal hygiene products||Meals in addition to prepaid meals|
|Personal Internet connections||More than three meals per day|
|Personal medical supplies||Child and/or pet care|
|Alcoholic beverages (except with supervisor’s approval)||Gifts/meals for/with friends/relatives in exchange for free lodging|
Federal grant restrictions in addition to the above:
- Federal or state grant funds may never be used to purchase alcohol.
- Federal grant funds may not be used to purchase local food/meals.