The University of Texas at San Antonio may advance funds to minimize financial hardship for employees or students traveling on official UTSA business.
The information in this guideline is provided as a guide for understanding UTSA procedures; it is not intended to be tax advice, nor does it guarantee tax consequences to an employee.
bor.20801.ut requires institutions to issue regulations covering authorization for travel and reimbursement for approved travel.
irc.162.pdf (regulations and various rules) stipulate the expenditures that may be treated as non-taxable reimbursements and the corresponding documentation requirements.
Travel advances are processed in accordance with IRS accountable plan rules, irc.62.pdf.
Table of Contents
- Requirements and Eligibility
- Allowable Expenses
- Account Codes
- Requesting a Travel Advance
- Travel Advance Payment Methods
Travel advances may be issued to faculty, staff and eligible student employees based on a determination made by the department manager or traveler's supervisor that the out-of-pocket travel costs will create a financial hardship to the employee. Travel advances should be minimal.
The One Card is the required method of payment for travel expenses such as hotel, airfare, registration and other incidental expenses, but is not allowed for M&IE (meals and incidental expenses, often called meal per diems). If an individual travels more than three times per year, they should apply for a One Card. For information on One Cards, see Financial Guideline One Card.
If a One Card is not available, and travel is more than a week in duration, a travel advance may be allowed and must only be used for allowable expenses that are reasonably expected to be incurred out of pocket for domestic or international (foreign) travel conducted on behalf of UTSA (official business). The amount of the travel advance depends on the estimated out-of-pocket travel expenses.
An approved Travel Authorization (TA) or Request for Travel Authorization (RTA) must be processed prior to requesting a travel advance. The encumbrance amount needs to cover the amount of the travel advance.
Prospective employees and prospective students are not eligible for travel advances.
A UTSA employee may be issued a travel advance on behalf of student(s)/group(s) traveling to and from activities or events that advance UTSA's mission (research and discovery, teaching and learning, community engagement and public service).
Eligible activities and events include, but are not limited to, study abroad, national student exchanges, student teaching internships, practicums, observations, research and athletic related travel.
Travel advances issued on behalf of students must be requested by a department manager who will identify the employee with custodial responsibility for the funds while the students are in travel status. This individual is the student advance responsible party and will typically accompany the student travelers on the trip. The student advance responsible party is responsible for the use and reconciliation of all funds disbursed for this purpose, as well as ensuring student travel takes place or return of unexpended travel advance funds immediately via a Deposit Transmittal Form to credit corresponding funding sources.
The department manager and student advance responsible party must
- Complete the PeopleSoft Cash Advance request and Travel Advance Request (TAR)
- Obtain the travel advance and provide it to the student(s), if applicable, prior to the trip departure date
- Explain requirements to students and ensure funds are used for allowable travel costs in accordance with UTSA guidelines
- Settle the travel advance(s) after the trip return date within the timeframes established by UTSA
The athletic director or designee is responsible for compliance with National Collegiate Athletic Association regulations when requesting reimbursement for expenses not typically allowable by UTSA. When such expenses are included in a travel advance, the athletic director or designee signature certifies compliance. The department processes a Non-PO Voucher to request a travel advance to a coach for athletic team travel.
A travel advance can be used to pay for the following expenses, regardless of how the travel advance is issued to the traveler (travel advance payment method):
- M&IE: May be advanced up to the General Services Administration (GSA) per diem rate for the destination. See Reimbursement Rates, a section of Financial Guideline Travel Reimbursement for more information. If the department manager authorizes an advance for M&IE lower than the GSA per diem rate, the lower rate must be entered in the appropriate field(s) of the TAR form
- Transportation: Includes mass transit, parking/tolls and fuel. Car rental advances are allowed only for travelers without a One Card. Travelers must use the currently contracted UT Systemwide travel and car rental agencies
- Student/athletic team/group travel
- Other expenses: See Other Expenses, a section of the Financial Guideline Travel Reimbursement for examples
Airfare, lodging and registration expenses are paid using the One Card.
The Travel Account Codes job aid provides a list of travel expense account codes.
Departments should submit the advance request at least 10 business days prior to the trip departure date to ensure sufficient processing time.
Once approval of the TA has been completed in PeopleSoft, the department prepares a Cash Advance request in PeopleSoft.
If the request is greater than $10,000, the department must prepare a Travel Advance Request (TAR) form to obtain the additional approval of a vice president, dean, vice provost or associate/assistant vice president/dean. The approved TAR must be scanned and attached to the PeopleSoft Cash Advance request.
The Cash Advance request routes electronically in PeopleSoft for the following:
- Traveler/Employee Certification – the employee receiving the advance is required to log into PeopleSoft to certify and agree to the terms of the promissory note
- Supervisor approval
- Disbursements and Travel Services (DTS) approval
To issue a travel advance for student traveler M&IE, departments process a single payment voucher in PeopleSoft for each travel event and attach the signed and approved TAR. The student advance responsible party must also sign the TAR. Use the following expense account codes for student traveler M&IE up to the GSA rates:
- 62304 Travel Student Non-Employee
- 62305 Travel Student Foreign
- 62306 Partial Student Non-Employee
- 62307 Partial Travel Student Non-Employee Foreign
For detailed instructions on processing travel advances, see the Cash Advance Process for Travel and Participant Advances training course.
DTS notifies the travel advance recipient by phone or email when the travel advance is available for pickup (if check), or when it has been processed (typically four business days before the travel start date).
Travel advances issued to employees are paid via direct deposit according to the employee's PeopleSoft HCM (Human Resources/Payroll) system profile.
Travel advances issued on behalf of students and paid via direct deposit are made payable to the student advance responsible party and not the traveling student(s). The student advance responsible party is responsible for providing travel advance funds to the student(s) when needed.
Checks are only issued to faculty, staff and student employees as an exception if approved by the assistant vice president of supply chain or designee under extraordinary circumstances.
If the traveler requests a check, the individual must be set up as a vendor using PaymentWorks.
If payment by check is approved, the traveler must pick up the check at the Fiscal Services office. The traveler must present a valid photo ID upon pickup. A proxy may pick up the check; however, the proxy must present a valid photo ID and sign for receipt of the check on behalf of the traveler.
Travel advances issued on behalf of students and paid via check are made payable to the student advance responsible party, not the traveling student(s). The student advance responsible party is responsible for providing travel advance funds to the student(s) when needed.
The traveler must settle the travel advance within 30 days after returning from travel:
- Via a properly executed Expense Report. The traveler/department must link or associate the Expense Report to the Cash Advance in order to close out the Cash Advance in PeopleSoft. The Expense Report must include all required documentation (including receipts, if applicable). See Financial Guideline — Travel Reimbursement for more information
- By submitting supporting documentation to DTS to clear/close the advance, if the travel advance was processed using a non-PO voucher
- Note: Travel advances processed via single payment vouchers do not need settlement, because the costs are allocated directly to expense codes
Travel advance amounts not settled within 120 days of returning from travel may incur taxation. IRS regulations Section 1.62-2(h)(2) allow an employer to treat unresolved travel advance amounts as taxable income if the traveler does not reconcile and substantiate the advance within a reasonable time period after the travel has been completed. See Financial Guideline — Travel Reimbursement for travel settlement deadlines.
In the event the advance is reported as income and then later cleared, UTSA is not required to return any tax that may have been deducted from the employee's paycheck.
A traveler must settle an outstanding travel advance before a new advance will be authorized.
If travel expenses exceed the travel advance, travelers should seek reimbursement; see Financial Guideline — Travel Reimbursement for more information.
If travel takes place, travelers who may have received travel advance funds for M&IE up to the GSA Per Diem Rates are entitled to keep the entire per diem, including any unused funds, regardless of how the travel advance was issued.
Travelers must return all other unspent travel advance funds to UTSA. A check or money order must be made payable to UTSA and must be deposited at either Fiscal Services office (Main or Downtown campus). The check should include the traveler's Employee ID, Cash Advance or voucher number, and RTA or TA number.
The traveler must also complete a Deposit Transmittal Form and
- Scan and attach the deposit receipt to the Expense Report in addition to any other supporting documentation; or
- Submit the Deposit Transmittal Form (and any other supporting documentation) to DTS, if a non-PO voucher was processed.
The Deposit Transmittal Form must include:
- Name of traveler
- Cash Advance or voucher number
- Departmental Cost Center/Project ID
- Account code 11650 or 11704 if non-PO was processed
To return excess travel funds via cash, travelers visit Fiscal Services (Main or Downtown campus) and complete a Deposit Transmittal Form. Fiscal Services will provide a receipt that must be attached to the Expense Report or be submitted to DTS if an non-PO voucher was processed.
|11/05/21||Clarified request and settlement processes. Added a subsection in section F. Editorial updates including a link to the new cash advance training course.|
|04/28/21||Updates to processes – references to Travel Cards and the Supplier Information Form have been removed; airfare, lodging and registration must be paid using the One Card; car rental expenses are advanced only for travelers without a One Card; account codes have been updated.|
|11/12/19||Clarification of processes and updates to forms/hyperlinks.|