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Section 9: Travel

Travel Reimbursement

Effective Date:

05/10/11

Approved By:

Lenora Chapman, Associate Vice President for Financial Affairs

Last Revised On:

11/01/16

For Assistance Contact:

Disbursements & Travel Services (DTS)

PURPOSE/SCOPE

This guideline applies to all employees and individuals whose travel costs are paid by the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) including:

  • Student employees traveling for reasons related to their employment, regardless of funding source.

  • Students participating in study abroad, national student exchanges, student teaching, internships, practicums, observations and those attending athletic events held out of town, including National Collegiate Athletic Association  (NCAA) Division I athletes attending NCAA athletic activities or events.

  • Prospective employees, prospective students and consultants and guests traveling to UTSA for purposes such as employment interviews, recruitment visits and providing professional services.

In this guideline, these individuals are referred to as “Travelers.”

AUTHORITY

Travel costs are primarily regulated by the following governing authorities

  • State of Texas Travel Regulations Act

  • General Appropriations Act

  • University of Texas (UT) System Board of Regents’ Rules and Regulations Rule 20801 requires institutions to issue travel regulations covering authorization for travel and reimbursement for approved travel

  • Official interpretations of the Travel Act as made by the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts (State Comptroller).

  • Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regulations (IRC §162 and various rules) stipulate the expenses that may be treated as non-taxable reimbursements and the corresponding documentation requirements

  • U.S. General Services Administration (GSA)

  • UT Systemwide requirements for use of the contracted travel and car rental agencies.

UTSA must meet the minimum rules and requirements set by the agencies listed above; however, UTSA may choose to be more restrictive in the application of travel rules.


UNIVERSITY GUIDELINES

Table of Contents

A. Overview

UTSA travel must be planned to achieve maximum savings and efficiency. The travel expenses must be the lowest possible considering all relevant circumstances.

A Traveler may be reimbursed for meals, lodging, transportation and other expenses while traveling on official UTSA business, as determined by UTSA and TexTravel.

Reimbursement for airfare and car rental expenses requires the use of UT Systemwide-contracted travel and car rental agencies.
Prior approval for all official business travel outside of the Traveler’s designated headquarters is required for absences during the normal working period, whether or not there is a cost to UTSA. The Traveler must complete a Travel Authorization (TA) in UTShare/PeopleSoft, and the TA must be approved by the Traveler’s supervisor prior to being eligible for reimbursement.  (See FMOG – Travel Authorization)

Travel should not be authorized for reimbursement unless funding is available for the estimated amount of approved expenses. Before submitting documents for reimbursement, the Traveler should ensure that all travel costs have been included, as partial reimbursements are generally not allowed.

NOTE: A TA is not required for travel within the Traveler’s designated headquarters.

B. Reimbursement Accountability

UTSA follows IRS rules for travel reimbursements, which allow amounts paid under an accountable plan to be non-taxable to the Traveler.
To be considered an accountable plan, the following rules must be met:

    • The authorized travel must have a business connection;
    • Travel expenses must be substantiated – adequately accounted for within 120 days after travel has been completed following UTSA processes; and
    • Any advance amount paid in excess of authorized travel expenses must be returned to UTSA as soon as the overage is known and no later than when the Expense Report is submitted.

C. Reimbursement Rates

Reimbursement rates for meals and incidental expenses (M&IE) and lodging differ, depending on the travel destination and the first and last calendar day of travel.
An employee may be reimbursed for non-overnight official business travel meals, not to exceed the GSA daily per diem, if the following rules are met: 

  • Travel and business fill more than eight hours of the day and meals are not provided (e.g. a same day trip involving airline travel)
  • Travel is not funded by state funds
  • Travel is outside Bexar County

As required by the State Comptroller, UTSA adheres to the GSA per diem reimbursement rates as the method for determining maximum meal and lodging rates for all official business travel.

NOTE: GSA incorporates the U.S. Department of Defense rates for Alaska, Hawaii, U.S. Territories and Possessions and the U.S. Department of State rates for international travel.
Reimbursement for M&IE for the first and last calendar day of overnight travel is calculated at 75% of the per diem rate for domestic travel only.

EXAMPLE: If the per diem rate is $74, then the rate for the first and last day of travel is $55.50.
For more examples, including a per meal breakdown, see the GSA Meals and Incidentals (M&IE) Breakdown website.

1. Accessing the GSA Per Diem Rates Website

See the websites linked below to locate current rates for:

  • Domestic Travel:
    • Ensure the correct fiscal year is selected in the Find Rates for drop-down menu (located at the top right-hand corner of the U.S. map image)
    • If the destination city/state is not listed, use the rates located in the Standard Rates column.
  • International Travel:
    • Ensure the correct month and fiscal year is selected from the Previous Rates drop-down menu.
    • If destination location does not appear in the Post Name column, use the rates that appear in the Other post name row.
  • Alaska, Hawaii, U.S. Territories and Possessions:
    • Ensure the correct month and fiscal year is selected from the PUBLISHED drop-down menu.
    • If the destination location does not appear in the Locality column, use the rates that appear in the [OTHER] locality row.
2. Department Authorized (Lower) Rates

Reimbursement rates may be lower than the GSA per diem rate, but those differences will not be monitored by DTS. If applicable, departments must notify the Traveler before traveling. Meal and lodging expense limitations must be listed on the Expense Report or Travel Reimbursement Settlement (TRS) form, if applicable.

NOTE
: Departments may add comments on the TA as advance notification to the employee when entering an M&IE per diem that is different from the GSA reimbursement rate; however, these comments are used for department reference only and are not monitored by Disbursements and Travel Services (DTS).

D. UT Systemwide Contracted Travel and Car Rental Agencies 

Effective May 13, 2013, UTSA travel arrangements must be made through Corporate Travel Planners (CTP) or Anthony Travel, Inc., (ATI).   Additionally, all UTSA car rentals must be made through Avis/Budget, Enterprise/National, or Hertz.

As required by the UT Systemwide contracts, reimbursements to Travelers for airfare and car rental expenses are allowed when purchased through the approved travel agencies (CTP or  ATI)  or car rental agencies (Avis/Budget, Enterprise/National, or Hertz).

Travelers have the option to purchase airfare by contacting the full service travel agents at either CTP or ATI, or by using the CTP online reservation tool Concur. 

Travelers may also use Concur to purchase airfare and make hotel and car rental reservations at their convenience for both domestic and international travel.

E. Travel Expense Account Codes

Travel expenses must be coded to the appropriate UTShare/PeopleSoft Account code for the location of travel and the type of expense. The Department Manager is responsible for ensuring that the appropriate Account code is charged when approving travel reimbursement documents.  A travel expense Account code listing can be found in the Expense Account Code Listing for Transactional Use document on the Accounting Services Tips and Tricks website.

F. Funding Restrictions

  • Sponsored projects (Fund 5100-5499): Require advance approval from the appropriate Research Service Center (RSC) before DTS may approve.

NOTE: Additional restrictions may apply when using federal grant funds for commercial air travel. See Airline Open Skies Agreement/the Fly America Act or contact the UTSA Travel Agencies for assistance.

  • Gift funds (Fund 5500 - 5699): Must comply with the terms and conditions of the donor, if any.
  • State funds (Funds 2100 – 2199) – In addition to restrictions noted in this guideline, see FMOGs – Chart of Accounts and Travel Authorization for restrictions
 

G. Cancellation, Lost/Stolen Fees or Fees Incurred Due to Travel Changes

Travelers may be reimbursed for a lost/stolen or cancellation charge if the charge is incurred for any of the following reasons:

  • Change in business needs

  • Natural disaster

  • Personal emergency or illness

Travelers must specify the reason for the cancellation when completing the Expense Report and must submit a receipt as proof that the cancellation charge has been paid.

H. Transportation

Travelers are entitled to be reimbursed for transportation charges incurred while conducting official UTSA business. The most cost effective method of transportation available should be selected.

1. Mileage Rate for Personal Vehicle Use

The mileage reimbursement rate is inclusive of all expenses associated with the Traveler's use of the Traveler’s personal vehicle. The reimbursement may not exceed the product of the actual number of miles traveled for official business and the maximum mileage reimbursement rate per Texas Government Code Section 660.042.

Mileage Reimbursement Rates

If traveling between:

The reimbursement rate is:

Jan. 1, 2016 – Dec. 31, 2016

54 cents per mile

The number of miles traveled for official UTSA business is determined by the Traveler's departure point to the Traveler's destination point. The State of Texas requires that UTSA adopt a single online verification method to verify mileage reimbursement.  UTSA has adopted MapQuest®, which is the same method used as the State Comptroller's Office.

a. Traveling to and from the airport: The Traveler may be reimbursed for mileage to and from the airport (as well as parking at the airport). If a Traveler is dropped off and/or picked up (versus parking at the airport), they may receive reimbursement for two round trips to the airport (one for drop off and one for pick up, as applicable).

b. Traveling outside of the Traveler's designated headquarters:  Must be associated with an approved TA. Such reimbursements are allowed using the  UTShare/PeopleSoft Expense Report when the cost of using the Traveler's personal vehicle is the most cost effective or only mode of transportation.
NOTE: The Mileage/Parking Log for Travel Reimbursement may be used as a tool to track multiple trips made by a Traveler; however, it is not required and should not be included when completing the Expense Report.

c. Traveling within the Traveler's designated headquarters: Must be supported with an approved Mileage/Parking Log for Travel Reimbursement.

NOTE: Personal vehicle travel within the Traveler's designated headquarters may be reimbursed without a TA.

Mileage reimbursement for the approved use of an employee's personal vehicle within the Traveler's designated headquarters may be authorized for official UTSA business provided that:

    • The employee is not a Vice President or Dean; or an individual whose base salary has been set to include a car allowance; or an individual who receives supplemental pay as a car allowance, unless otherwise approved by the President.
    • The mileage is not for travel between UTSA campuses or leased facilities unless approved by the appropriate executive officer per HOP 4.28 - Assignments to UTSA Campuses and Associated Locations, or routine business lunches within Bexar County.
2. Parking

Parking expense reimbursement is allowed when traveling on official UTSA business, including attending meetings or training at off-site locations.

  • Event occurring within the Traveler's designated headquarters and no additional meal cost: When authorized, should be reimbursed via a completed Mileage/Parking Log for Travel Reimbursement form with an original receipt included
  • Event occurring within the Traveler's designated headquarters with additional meal cost: When authorized, can be reimbursed via a completed Business Expense Form (BEF) with a scanned receipt included.
  • Event occurring outside of the Traveler's designated headquarters: Parking must be tied to a TA with a scanned receipt included.
3. Rental Vehicles

Travelers are entitled to reimbursement for the cost of renting a vehicle to conduct official UTSA business, when using the UT Systemwide contracted car rental agencies.

Travelers may select one of the following car rental agencies:

  1. Enterprise/National Holdings
  2. Avis/Budget
  3. Hertz

Travelers may complete the car rental reservations by directly contacting the approved car rental agency, making reservations online at the car rental agency website, or by using one of the approved travel agencies or Concur.

Travelers may be exempt from paying the motor gross rental receipts tax when the vehicle is rented in Texas with any car rental agency, but they are not exempt from paying other taxes collected by the car rental agency.

To qualify for the exemption, Travelers must print a Motor Vehicle Rental Exemption Certificate prior to the trip and obtain their supervisor's signature in the Authorized person field. The remainder of the form, such as vehicle make, model and vehicle identification number is completed at the rental counter when picking up the vehicle.

If a Traveler fails to provide this certificate, the Traveler may not be reimbursed for the motor gross rental receipts taxes charged. However, if the Traveler provides the signed certificate to the car rental agency and the car rental agency does not honor it, the Traveler may be reimbursed when submitting the Expense Report.

Reimbursable expenses may include:

  • GPS Navigation System
  • Gas fill-up service
  • Insurance charges (for non-State contracted rentals only): UTSA Travelers must accept Collision Damage Waivers (CDW) and liability insurance products when using a non-State contracted rental agency
  • Additional driver charges: The additional driver must also be a UTSA employee and the reason for the charge must be business related

The following expenses related to a rental vehicle are not reimbursable:

  • Failure to use the approved car rental agencies
  • Expenses incurred for personal use of the rental vehicle, including fuel expenses
  • Insurance charges (for State contracted rentals only): UTSA Travelers must waive Liability and Loss/Damage Waiver (LDW) insurance as State-contracted rental car costs include these products in the base rate
  • Additional driver costs, if the additional driver is not a UTSA employee

The Traveler must include a receipt to be eligible for reimbursement. The receipt must include all of the following:

  • The name of the approved car rental company
  • The name of the employee renting the vehicle: If the employee is not listed as the renter, the employee may be required to submit a statement attesting that the expense was incurred for official UTSA business
  • The starting and ending dates of the rental
  • An itemization of expenses incurred
  • Proof of payment

Receipts may not be altered, unless altered by the rental agency.

If a scanned receipt cannot be provided, the Traveler may provide a cancelled check, credit card slip or credit card statement that reflects the rental charges.
4. Mass Transit, Taxi or Limousine

Travelers are eligible for reimbursement for the actual cost of transportation by bus, taxi, subway, train or other commercial transportation company, including appropriate tips, if related to official UTSA business. Documentation should accompany the request for travel reimbursement.

The cost of a limousine when shared by Travelers is allowed when conducting official UTSA business only if the cost incurred is less than the most cost effective transportation.

If a taxi or limousine is shared by two or more UTSA Travelers, then only the Traveler who paid for the transportation may be reimbursed for that expense.

UTSA Travelers are also entitled to be reimbursed for the cost of other modes of transportation if incurred to conduct official UTSA business.

Examples of other modes of transportation include, but are not limited to ferry or water taxi.

Travelers must submit a scanned receipt to be eligible for reimbursement.



5. Commercial Air

Travelers are entitled to be reimbursed for the actual cost of commercial air transportation incurred to conduct official UTSA business when purchased through CTP, ATI or Concur to book airfare.

Travelers may use any airline, but are encouraged to take advantage of the additional UT System discounts negotiated with American, United, Southwest and JetBlue .

Purchase of state fares and UT System negotiated discounted fares requires the use of the state issued Corporate Liability Individual Billed Account (CLIBA) card or Travel Advance Card (TAC).  Failure to use the State issued CLIBA card or TAC may result in delayed reservations or additional fees imposed by the airlines.

In addition to airfare, additional fees assessed by the airline may be reimbursed, such as baggage charges; however, the fees must be business-related and charged to the traveling employee. All other fees must be business related and charged under the traveling employee’s name.
Travelers must provide a scanned receipt to be eligible for reimbursement. The receipt must include all of the following:

  • Name of the employee
  • Airline
  • Ticket number
  • Confirmation number
  • Class of transportation/fare basis code, if applicable
  • Travel dates
  • Fare total
  • Origin and destination of each flight
  • Method of payment

If the airline ticket is purchased thru the travel agency or Concur, the employee can use an itinerary printout as the submitted receipt, if it includes the information noted above.

If the airline ticket is purchased with a CLIBA card, TAC or personal credit card, the Traveler may provide a copy of the credit card statement in lieu of an original receipt. The credit card statement must include the above information.

6. Tolls

Reimbursement for tolls paid by a UTSA employee while traveling in a personally owned, leased, rented, or state owned vehicle are allowable if for official UTSA business.

Travelers are not required to submit a receipt; however, the expense must be documented on the Expense Report.

7. Aircraft Charter

Per Board of Regents policy, any leased or chartered aircraft will be used only in the conduct of official State business and in compliance with the travel regulations contained in Section 2205.001 et seq., Texas Government Code and any other laws applicable to the use of state-owned or leased aircraft.

All use of chartered aircraft must be authorized through established contracting procedures and be approved by the Vice President of Business Affairs to ensure compliance with reporting requirements.

UTSA will not reimburse a Traveler for use of the Traveler's privately owned aircraft even if used for official UTSA business.

I. Meals and Incidental Expenses (M&IE)

Travelers are entitled to be reimbursed for the GSA per diem reimbursement rate for overnight travel, even if the entire amount is not used.  The GSA per diem reimbursement rate differs for the first and last calendar day of travel. See Reimbursement Rates for more information.

NOTE: Incidentals covered by the M&IE per diem rate total $5 and are intended to include tips given to porters, baggage carriers, bellhops, hotel maids, etc.

If the Traveler is attending a conference, seminar or workshop that includes meals, then a department may reduce the amount of the per diem reimbursement rate. See Department Authorized (Lower) Rates for more information.

Travelers are not required to provide meal receipts for reimbursement as long as the per diem is not exceeded (includes domestic and international travel destinations). If the per diem rate is exceeded, then the Traveler must submit scanned receipts.

NOTE: If the receipt contains an amount that is listed in foreign currency, see Foreign Currency Receipts for more information.

J. Lodging

Travelers are entitled to be reimbursed for actual lodging expenses – up to the per diem reimbursement rate for their travel destination - when traveling on official UTSA business as long as the expense is incurred at a commercial lodging establishment.

If the lodging expense exceeds the per diem reimbursement rate, then the Traveler must substantiate the reason for the higher rate. See Lodging Rate Increases for more information.

Lodging expenses incurred the night before official UTSA business has started and the night after official UTSA business has ended are reimbursable.

The Traveler must provide a scanned receipt to be eligible for reimbursement. The receipt must include all of the following:

  • The name and address of the commercial lodging establishment
  • The name of the employee
  • The single room rate
  • A daily itemization of the lodging charges
  • Proof of payment.

If a lodging receipt is unavailable, a canceled check, credit card slip used to pay the lodging expense or a credit card billing statement may be provided when submitting the reimbursement request.

1. Contract Hotels

UTSA strongly encourages (but does not require) Travelers to use State-contracted hotels. Travelers may make hotel reservations by contacting the hotel directly, making reservations online at the hotel website, or using the approved travel agencies. 

For more information, see the State Comptroller Hotel Directory Listing.

2. Shared Lodging

When at least two Travelers share and pay for lodging expenses, each Traveler will be reimbursed for his or her share of the expense, up to the maximum daily lodging reimbursement rate.

If the lodging expense is paid for by only one of the Travelers, then the non-paying Traveler's name and TA number must be referenced on the Expense Report.

3. Lodging Rate Increases

Travelers may be reimbursed for lodging expenses that exceed the per diem reimbursement rate for the travel destination if one of the following reasons exists:

  • Conference Hotel
  • Recommended Hotel
  • Safe lodging is not available for less than or equal to the maximum lodging reimbursement rate
  • Other costs, such as car rental and parking, will be avoided that will result in a decreased total cost of travel
  • Other business reasons: the Traveler must document all relevant circumstances

If the lodging expense is paid from state funds (Fund 21xx), the Traveler must detail the costs that are avoided, such as car rental or parking, as a result of staying at the lodging establishment.

Lodging rate increase requests must be approved by the Traveler's supervisor in advance of travel via the TA or when requesting a travel advance.

4. Related Taxes

UTSA Travelers are exempt from paying the hotel occupancy tax when traveling in Texas; however, they are not exempt from paying county, municipal, or other tax collected by a commercial lodging establishment unless an exception applies. To qualify for the exemption, the employee must present a completed Texas Hotel Occupancy Tax Exemption Certificate upon check-in.

If the Traveler fails to provide the completed certificate to the commercial lodging establishment, they may not be reimbursed for the hotel occupancy taxes charged. However, if the Traveler provides the completed certificate to the commercial lodging establishment and the commercial lodging establishment does not honor it, the Traveler may be reimbursed when submitting the  Expense Report.

Travelers who experience this latter situation must report the lodging establishment to the State Comptroller's Office.

5. Recalculating Hotel Taxes – State Funds Only (Fund 21xx)

If the lodging expense is greater than the maximum lodging reimbursement rate and the lodging rate increase is not approved, the Traveler must ensure the hotel occupancy tax and similar taxes are also adjusted (in addition to the adjusted lodging expense) when submitting the Expense Report.

K. Conference, Seminar, Workshop or Training Courses

Travelers may be reimbursed for registration fees for attending a conference, seminar, workshop or training course. Registration fees must be listed in the travel authorization and included in the Expense Report regardless of the method of payment.  

Travelers must submit a scanned receipt as proof of payment.  If the payment was made with the CLIBA card, the receipt only needs to be attached with the CLIBA card payment.

L. Other Expenses

Travelers may be reimbursed for other travel expenses associated with official UTSA business.

Some examples of other expenses include, but are not limited to:

  • Shipping charges for materials used for official UTSA business (e.g., FedEx, UPS)
  • Fees associated with placing or receiving official UTSA business related telephone calls
  • Internet usage fees
  • Business supplies/materials

Travelers must attach a scanned receipt to be eligible for reimbursement.

M. Travelers with Disabilities

Disabled Travelers may be reimbursed for attendant care expenses for travel if such care is deemed medically necessary by a licensed physician. The attendant's travel expenses are subject to the same rules as a Traveler and should be included when travel is authorized.

A single reimbursement request may be submitted to cover the expenses incurred by one or more attendants.
The following conditions must be met for such reimbursement:

  • The expenses must be charged to the Texas Identification Number (TIN) of each disabled Traveler who incurred the expenses, and each Traveler must be listed on a separate detail line.
  • The TIN and name of the attendant payee must be listed on the address line.
  • The supporting documentation must include documentation for each expense that will be paid or reimbursed.
  • If a state agency uses an applicable federal law or regulation as authority to reimburse a travel expense, then the supporting documentation for the reimbursement must include the agency American Disability Act coordinator's written determination that the law or regulation requires the reimbursement. The document must contain the signature of the coordinator.

Travelers must specify the reason for the charges when completing the TA and Expense Report and must attach the physician's determination.

Additional charges incurred to assist a disabled Traveler, such as tips and transportation expenses are also reimbursable. Travelers must attach an original receipt as proof of the charge when submitting the reimbursement request.

N. Prospective Employees/Students and Consultants

Prospective employees/students and consultants may be reimbursed for the actual cost of meals and lodging - not to exceed the GSA per diem rate for San Antonio - and appropriate transportation expenses.
If UTSA is making the travel arrangements or using a CLIBA card, then use of the travel agencies and car rental agencies is required. 

Prospective employees, prospective students or consultants who are making their own travel arrangements and paying for airfare or car rental expenses out of pocket may use the travel agency, car rental agency or on-line reservation tool of their choice.

NOTE: If the lodging per diem rate is exceeded, see Lodging Rate Increases for more information.
The reimbursement should be processed using a non-PO voucher and must list the title of the position for which the prospective employee was interviewed or evaluated, and original receipts must be attached.

O. Student Athletic Team and Student Group Travel

UTSA athletic travel and student group travel are not required to use the mandated travel and car rental agencies, although they must adhere to the other travel reimbursement requirements.

If the NCAA allows an athletic team to incur travel expenses not normally allowed for other UTSA Travelers, the Athletic Director or designee is responsible for compliance with NCAA regulations. When such expenses are included in a travel reimbursement, the Athletic Director or designee signature certifies compliance.

Athletic and student group travel related expenses must be substantiated by attaching a list of student names that traveled, or a copy of the Student Travel: Request for Authorization form for each traveling student must be included in the Expense Report. The log sheet should include each Traveler's name, amount received and the Traveler's signature, which certifies the expense.

P. Settlement of Travel Expenses

Travelers should settle travel related expenses within 30 days after returning from travel via a properly executed Expense Report in UTShare/PeopleSoft. 
All expenses must be included on the Expense Report, regardless of the method of payment.  If the employee did not pay out of pocket, the expense must be marked as non-reimbursable on the Expense Report, so that the employee is not reimbursed for that item.
Expenses (reimbursable and non-reimbursable) that must be approved in the TA and submitted in the Expense Report include:

  • Registration/conference fees (regardless of the method of payment)
  • Airfare
  • Lodging
  • Car rental and/or mileage
  • Meals
  • Incidentals (baggage fees, taxis, etc.)

If the total of the Expense Report is greater than 10% or $250 (whichever is higher) than the approved TA, then a TRS form will need to be attached to the Expense Report. In that situation, the TRS form must be signed by the employee and the employee’s supervisor.
If an Expense Report is submitted 60 days or more after the travel date:

  • The Expense Report is past due
  • Expenses will be reimbursed
  • DTS will notify the department that the Expense Report is past due

If an Expense Report is submitted 120 days or more after the travel date:

  • Expenses will be reimbursed
  • The full amount of trip or non-travel related expenses will be processed as taxable income to the employee
  • Once taxation has occurred, it will not be reversed
  • Exceptions will only be granted for the “rare” case when an individual was not reasonably able to submit the Expense Report (e.g., extended illness)
  • Department turnover in administrative staff will not be approved as an exception
  • If the employee has a reasonable explanation for the past due submission, an exception may only be granted by the Assistant Controller or designee

NOTE: If travel expenses are paid using a TAC and/or CLIBA card, then the travel card must be paid in full by the internal due date (20th of each month), even if the Traveler has not returned from the trip. See How to Make a Payment, a section of the UTSA Financial Management Operational Guideline (FMOG) - Travel Cards for details.

1. Funds Owed to the Traveler (travel reimbursement)

The department must process an  Expense Report in UTShare/PeopleSoft, which will reimburse the Traveler for any out of pocket expenses.

Travelers who fail to use the required travel agencies and car rental agencies are subject to the consequences listed in Exceptions and Non-Compliance.

The payment method is the default payment type selected in the employee’s payroll system profile.

2. Funds Owed to UTSA (excess travel advance funds)

Travelers must return excess travel advance funds to UTSA, except for meal expenses less than the GSA per diem rate. For more information, see Excess Travel Advance Funds, a section of FMOG - Travel Advances.

Q. Processing Expense Reports

If seeking reimbursement for out of pocket expenses or to close out a trip, an Expense Report must be completed and approved in UTShare/PeopleSoft. The Expense Report will route via workflow to the following, with email notifications at each point:

  • Traveler or his/her delegate for expense certification
  • Budgetary Approval (Cost Center Approver and/or Principal Investigator)
  • Other Approvals (Grants Project Manager, Research Service Center, Capital Projects Program Manager, etc. as applicable)
  • DTS

The Expense Report workflow does not include the employee’s supervisor, since the TA was already approved by the supervisor.  If the Expense Report is greater than 10% of $250 (whichever is higher) than the TA, then a TRS form approved by the supervisor must be attached to the ER.  See Settlement of Travel Expenses for more information. 

Travelers/employees  log into UTShare/PeopleSoft to certify the Expense Report.  An employee has the option to delegate the certification of expenses to a department employee who is not the creator of the Expense Report.  The employee must complete the Delegation of Travel & Expense Workflow form and send it to the PeopleSoft Support and Sustainment Center (PSSC) for processing.  The form is completed only once, unless a new delegate is designated. 

However, when an employee delegates the certification of expenses, the creator must prepare and the employee must sign a TRS form acknowledging the expenses for each trip.   In that situation, the TRS form must be attached to the Expense Report.

For detailed instructions see the Travel Reimbursement Process training.

1. Foreign Currency Receipts
Travelers may receive a receipt with an amount that is listed in foreign currency. If the U.S. dollar (USD) equivalent and exchange rates are not listed on the receipt, then the Traveler must obtain these items prior to submitting a reimbursement request.

Obtaining the USD equivalent for the actual expense incurred depends on the source of payment made by the Traveler. If the item/service was purchased with:

Credit card or debit card: Obtain the applicable bank, credit card or other statement that reflects the exchange rate and USD equivalent.

Cash: Obtain the total USD equivalent for each expense type (e.g., meals, lodging, gas) from the OANDA Average Exchange Rate website.

a. Enter the expense type total in the Convert amount field.
b. Select the applicable time period from the Duration drop-down field.

        • If you are traveling for less than four weeks, select Week.
        • If you are traveling from one to three months, select Month.
        • If you traveling from three to 12 months, select Quarter.
        • If you are traveling for 12 months or longer, contact DTS for assistance.

NOTE: Exceptions to these conversion methods must be approved by DTS.

c. Select the travel start month in the Starting Date field.
d. Select the travel ending month in the Ending Date field.
e. Select the travel destination currency type from the Base Currency list.
f. Select US Dollar, USD from the Quote currencies list.
g. Click Get Table. The Average Exchange Rates table appears.
h. Obtain the total USD amount from the appropriate bid column.

2. Supporting Documentation for Expense Reports
Travelers must scan and attach to the Expense Report all required documentation prior to submission. The Expense Report includes the TRS Form (if applicable) and supporting documentation, including receipts.
The Traveler's name should be included on the top of each sheet.

Supporting documentation, including receipts when required, should be organized in chronological order and by expense type. If a receipt is smaller than 8.5 x 11 inches, you may tape multiple receipts to a blank sheet of 8.5 x 11 inch paper.   For additional information see: Travel & Expense Scanning Requirements.

EXAMPLE:

    1. TRS form, if applicable
    2. Lodging expenses
      • Hotel A receipt from 01/01/XX - 01/02/XX
      • Hotel B receipt from 01/02/XX 01/03/XX
    3. Meals and Incidental Expenses (M&IE) – per day amount claimed should not exceed published per diem rates adjusted to 75% for the first and last day of travel. No receipts are necessary if only claiming per diem at published rates.
    4. Transportation expenses
      • Gas receipts for 01/04/XX
      • Car rental receipt paid on 01/04/XX
    5. Other expenses

Once received electronically, complete reimbursement requests will be processed within 7-10 business days. Expense Reports will be returned to the creator electronically if missing or incomplete documentation is attached.

Reimbursements charged to a sponsored project will route to the appropriate RSC electronically in the financial accounting system.

3. Documentation Retained by Departments/Colleges
Departments may choose to retain in their department files but should not scan or attach to the Expense Report:

  • UTShare/PeopleSoft screen printouts
  • GSA Per Diem Rate website screen printouts
  • Travel task checklist
  • Event brochures/website printouts
  • Lodging establishment website printouts reflecting rates
  • Oanda® currency conversion website printouts
  • Mileage/Parking Log for Travel Reimbursement (if applicable, see Mileage Rate for Personal Vehicle Use for more information).
 

R. Exceptions and Non-Compliance

1. Exceptions Authorized for Non-Use of Mandated Travel Agencies
    1. Travel paid by an outside entity;
    2. Emergency situations (flood, hurricane, etc.);  or
    3. The contracted travel agency is unable to provide an airfare within $100 of a lower fare available from an alternate travel provider, with apples-to-apples comparison (this exception requires advance approval of the Assistant Controller or  Director of DTS).

      The Traveler must contact the travel agency for a price comparison.  The Traveler must document the travel agent name, the travel agency contacted (CTP or ATI), and the date and the time that the agency was contacted.  DTS will verify the pricing with the travel agency. If the exception is approved, note exception approval received in the comments section of the TRS form. Failure to do this for the apples-to-apples comparison will result in non-compliance.
2. Non-Compliance Consequences

All Travelers are required to use the approved travel agencies and car rental agencies. Failure to comply with this requirement will result in the following implications:

1st violation:   Management will be notified. The Traveler (and travel arranger – as relevant) will receive a reminder along with a copy of this guideline.  Attending a travel information training session will be encouraged.

2nd violation: Management, including Vice President, will be notified.  The Traveler (and travel arranger – as relevant) will receive a second reminder. Prior to future travel, both Traveler and travel arranger will be required to attend a travel training class (or attend again, as may be the case).  The Traveler will be required to submit a memo to the Vice President explaining why approved agencies were not used.

Further Violations: Management, including Vice President, will be notified. The Traveler will not be reimbursed for non-compliant trip expenses.  The Traveler will be suspended from future travel until allowed by the Vice President. Multiple infractions (three or more) of this guideline will be handled by the appropriate Vice President consistent with a progressive disciplinary process.


DEFINITIONS

Term

Description

Commercial Lodging Establishment

A motel, hotel, inn, apartment, house or similar establishment that provides lodging to the public for pay; or a person or establishment that provides lodging for pay that the Comptroller determines to have a sufficient number of the characteristics of a commercial lodging establishment for the purposes of the Travel Regulations Act. Texas Government Code Section 660.002(5)  The term includes lodging provided by: (1) a governmental entity on property controlled by that entity; or (2) a religious organization on property controlled by that organization; or (3) a private educational institution on property controlled by that institution.


Travel Authorization (TA)

The Travel Authorization (TA) is completed in the financial accounting system and is used to authorize travel for employees and students who are traveling for UTSA.


TexTravel

A website developed by the State Comptroller to provide information on state travel requirements applicable to state agencies and institutions of higher education.

 

REFERENCES/LINKS

RELATED FORMS/WORKSHEETS

  1. Declaration of Missing Evidence

  2. Direct Deposit - Non-Payroll

  3. Mileage/Parking Log for Travel Reimbursement

  4. Motor Vehicle Rental Exemption Certificate

  5. Travel Reimbursement/Settlement (TRS) Form


REVISION HISTORY

Date Description

11/01/2016

Updated for workflow.

09/19/2016

Section E update alongside of various verbiage updates.

01/13/2016

Updated mileage chart.

02/03/2015

Removed 2013 mileage rate.

01/05/2015

Updated section ‘G. Transportation’ / mileage chart.

05/01/2014

Updated DEFINE information for transition to PeopleSoft.

01/06/2014

Updated Mileage Reimbursement Rates for 2014.

05/30/2013

Update UTSA Travel Reimbursement FMOG with new System-wide requirements.

01/03/2013

Updated table to reflect 0.565 cents per mile increase effective January 1, 2013. Updated links section with Travel Rate Change url and Travel Reimbursement URL to reflect change.

05/10/12

Removed 'prospective employees' from the Request for Travel Authorization (RTA) definition. An RTA is not required to authorize travel for this type of traveler.

04/02/12
  • Mileage Rate for Personal Vehicle Use – added a note to inform users that the TRS form automatically rounds the total number of miles to the nearest tenth to comply with format in DEFINE.

  • Completing the Travel Reimbursement/Settlement (TRS) Form

    • Added steps to complete if the Student Advance Responsible Party traveler type option is selected (located in section 1 – Traveler Information).

    • Modified steps to complete if any travel expenses were paid using any of UTSA's travel payment methods (located in section 4 – Settlement).

02/29/12

Updates published on 2/29/12 are effective immediately, however, Financial Affairs encourages users to submit comments and/or concerns regarding these updates to financialaffairs@utsa.edu within the next 60 days.

  • Modified the partial reimbursement requirement. Travelers should assure all travel costs have been included as partial reimbursements are generally not allowed.

  • Replaced references to Bexar County with 'traveler's designated headquarters' throughout FMOG to address employee's whose headquarters are outside of Bexar County, for example, employees that telecommute.

  • Explained why UTSA does not reimburse for meal expenses associated with non-overnight travel.

  • Added the Accessing the GSA Per Diem Rates Website subsection heading (under Reimbursement Rates section) to help users locate related information. No additional changes were made.

  • Added the Department Authorized (Lower) Rates subsection heading (under Reimbursement Rates) to help users locate related information. No additional changes were made.

  • Completed the following changes to the Rental Vehicles section:

    • Added instructions for completing the Motor Vehicle Exemption Certificate when renting a vehicle to conduct official UTSA business.

    • Clarified when insurance charges are reimbursable to the traveler, including instance when the traveler must accept insurance products.

  • Completed the following changes to the Commercial Air section:

    • Modified the receipt requirement for airline purchases.

    • Corrected the hyperlink to International S.O.S.

    • Added statement regarding additional reimbursable fees assessed by airlines.

  • Clarified that travelers are entitled to be reimbursed the GSA per diem reimbursement rate for meals (for overnight travel), even if the entire amount is not used.

  • Removed 'baggage charges' from the list of other types of reimbursable expenses as it has been added to the Commercial Air section.

  • Modified the document type to be included in the Travel Reimbursement Packet for athletic team and/or student group travel.

  • Added a note in Reconciliation and Settlement section to clarify that travel card payments must be paid in full by the established due date even if the traveler has not returned from their trip.

  • Added the Funds Owed to the Traveler subsection heading (under Reconciliation and Settlement section) to help users located related information and completed the following changes:

    • Explained when departments should process a Payment of Travel Request (VP5).

    • Added additional pick up locate for reimbursement checks.

    • Explained that reimbursement checks are only mailed to the traveler's address on file or to their department.

  • Added the Funds Owed to UTSA subsection heading (under Reconciliation and Settlement section) to help users located related information and included a link to the Travel Advance FMOG that provides more information.

  • Modified the Completing the Travel Reimbursement/Settlement (TRS) Form section to mirror changes made to form. Details are located in the How To Complete the Travel Reimbursement/Settlement (TRS) Form PowerPoint Presentation.

  • Added the How To Complete the Travel Reimbursement/Settlement (TRS) Form presentation to the REFERENCES/LINKS section.

02/20/12

08/17/11

  • Corrected the beginning travel date for the 50-cent mileage reimbursement rate from 01/01/10 to 09/01/10 to correspond with start of fiscal year 2010.

  • Clarified procedures for authorizing and approving chartered aircraft contracts. In addition to the Vice President of Business Affairs, the Associate Vice President for Administration may also approve chartered aircraft requests.

07/01/11


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