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Travel Reimbursement


    Salt Lake Community College values international experiences in higher education. The college conducts educationally sound international programs in compliance with college policies and those of our accrediting and governing boards. The procedures in this policy promote a safe, educational experience for college faculty, students, staff, and others participating in these international programs, including study abroad, faculty exchanges, and partner institution agreements.


    Adjusted Gross Income, I.R.C. § 62.

    Disallowance of Certain Entertainment, Etc., Expenses, I.R.C. § 274.

    Travel, Gift, and Car Expenses, I.R.S. Pub. 463.

    1. Allowable Expense: a necessary, reasonable, and appropriate expense incurred by a traveler.
    2. Approver: the budget center manager (“BCM”) over the Index entered on a report or, if the traveler is a BCM, the BCM's supervisor.
    3. Designated Travel Agency (“DTA”): the agency or provider contracted to assist in arranging travel.
    4. Expense Management System (“EMS”): the software system used to automate the approval, processing, and reporting of travel expenses.
    5. Group Travel: travel that includes athletes and students. This does not include groups consisting entirely of employees.
    6. Guests: non-college employees such as job applicants, guest lecturers, or visiting professors, excluding spouses or dependents, who are authorized to travel on college business.
    7. Hosted Meal: a meal that includes at least one non-employee. Multiple employees may be included in the hosted meal. A meal involving only college employees is not a hosted meal.
    8. Local Travel: business travel that does not require overnight lodging away from home.
    9. Mileage: miles traveled for business purposes. It does not include miles traveled while commuting to the traveler's regular workplace.
    10. Per Diem: a meal allowance in place of actual meal costs that travelers may receive.
    11. Rideshare: a private vehicle operating as a taxi or transportation service, e.g., Lyft and Uber.
    12. Schedule of Travel Allowances and Reimbursement Rates (STARR): a document that outlines allowable reimbursement rates for travel expenses.
    13. Traveler: an individual, such as a college employee, student, or guest, whom the college has authorized to travel on legitimate college business.
    14. Travel Planners: college support staff charged with making travel arrangements on behalf of a traveler.
    15. Travel Event: overnight or out-of-state travel, including travelers visiting the college.
    1. General Travel Procedures
      1. Compliance with IRS Rules
        1. The college designs travel policies and procedures to meet the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) accountable plan definition. The college does not report reimbursements that follow an accountable plan as taxable wages.
        2. Adherence to this policy and procedure ensures business travel reimbursements remain income tax-free. If travelers do not follow these procedures, the college may report the amount as taxable income to the traveler.
      2. Travel Planner

        Travelers may designate a travel planner to assist with obtaining travel authorization, making travel arrangements, and completing travel expense reports.

      3. Travel Authorization
        1. For local travel, the travelers’ supervisor must authorize the travel before the trip verbally or in writing. Travelers do not need pre-approval in the Expense Management System (EMS) for local travel.
        2. For travel events, Travelers must wait to make travel arrangements until a pre-approval is submitted and approved in the EMS.
        3. The college considers all travel events completed without prior approval in the EMS a noncompliant travel event, and all expenses related to the travel event require approval from the appropriate cabinet member.
      4. Payment of Expenses
        1. Travelers should use a college purchasing card for college travel expenses whenever possible, Except for meals covered by per diem. Travelers may not use the college purchasing card to pay for meals, except for hosted meals.
        2. Travelers may pay for college travel expenses with personal funds and request college reimbursement when a college purchasing card is not available or feasible.
        3. Except for per diem, the college will not pay more than actual costs incurred or for costs of a personal nature.
      5. Travel Expense Reports
        1. Travelers must submit a travel expense report in the EMS for all travel events within 10 business days of completing the travel event.
        2. Travelers must attach the trip itinerary, all required receipts, and any other documents to the travel expense report.
        3. Travelers may request reimbursement for prepaid travel expenses made with personal funds before the trip.
        4. Travelers may request the college to directly prepay for expenses by contacting the Travel Office.
      6. Reimbursement by a Third Party
        1. When a third party pays a portion of travel expenses, the college will only reimburse travelers for expenses not paid from other sources, subject to the provisions of this policy.
        2. The college prefers third-party reimbursements be made payable to the college, not the traveler.
          1. Payments made payable to the college must be routed to the Controller’s office and will be deposited to the appropriate travel expense account used for the trip.
          2. The college will reimburse the traveler the full amount reimbursed by a third party, including paying meals at cost, with actual receipts, rather than per diem, when applicable.
          3. Payments made payable to the individual should not be deposited with the college. A record of the expenses paid must be submitted with the travel expense report, and the transactions should be marked, “paid by a third party.”
      7. Damage, Theft, Vehicle Accidents, or Personal Injury
        1. Personal Auto and Property
          1. Individuals and the individual's insurance company are responsible for any damage to or theft of a personal vehicle or personal property and the value of such damaged or lost property is not an allowable expense.
          2. The college includes the cost of auto insurance and other vehicle maintenance costs in the college's mileage reimbursement rate.
        2. Vehicle Accident and Personal Injury
          1. Travelers must immediately report any vehicle accident to the local law enforcement agency, car rental company (if appropriate), and to the college's Risk Management office.
      8. Guest Travel
        1. The college reimburses reasonable travel costs for guests.
        2. Guest travel costs must be included as part of the contract negotiations when travel is part of a contract. The college prefers that the company or guest make the travel arrangements, except for job candidates.
          1. When the company or guest arranges travel, the travel portion of the contract should be invoiced and will be paid through Accounts Payable. Receipts must be provided.
          2. When the college arranges travel, departments should work with the Travel Office to make the arrangements. Before making travel arrangements, the hosting department must get pre-authorization through the EMS. After the trip, the hosting department must submit an expense report for the guest.
        3. Spouse or dependent travel expenses are not an allowable expense and are the personal responsibility of the traveler.
    2. Allowable Expense Guidelines
      1. Airline Travel
        1. Air travel is limited to coach or economy class. The Travel Office may make exceptions as appropriate.
        2. Airline optional fees, such as seat upgrades, priority boarding, or fees for expedited security screening, are considered personal preferences and are not allowable expenses.
        3. Travelers should arrange and purchase air travel through the Designated Travel Agency (DTA) unless other less expensive fares are available.
          1. When acquiring airline tickets from other sources, travelers must obtain airline ticket price quotes from the DTA for cost comparison and include them with the travel expense report.
        4. The traveler must notify the DTA of any cancellations to redeem any available refund or applicable credit to use on a future trip.
        5. Personal Time Before or After Traveling on College Business
          1. Travelers may elect to extend a business trip for personal reasons before or after the business trip dates. Travelers must include price quotes for both the business trip dates and the extended dates in the travel expense report.
            1. If the fare for an extended trip is less than the business-only fare, the college will pay the fare.
            2. If the fare for an extended trip is greater than the business-only fare, the amount will be deducted from any refund due the traveler. Any difference must be reimbursed to the college by the traveler.
        6. Unused Airline Tickets and Credits

          Credits for unused tickets booked through the DTA remain college property and should be used, when possible, for future travel events.

        7. Baggage Fees

          The cost of a single bag is an allowable expense. Additional bags are not an allowable expense without a valid business justification.

      2. Ground Transportation Costs
        1. Out of State Travel
          1. Origin Transportation
            1. Local Mileage
            2. A traveler may claim reimbursement for private vehicle mileage to and from the Salt Lake International Airport at the current STARR rate on the travel expense report.
            3. Mileage is calculated from the place the traveler leaves and/or to which the traveler returns.
            4. Parking Fees
              1. Long-term parking fees, whether at the airport or at an off-premise parking facility, are an allowable expense.
              2. Valet parking is not an allowable expense, unless approved by the vice president.
              3. Short-term airport parking is not an allowable expense.
            5. Shuttle, Taxi, or Rideshare
              1. Shuttle, taxi, and rideshare fares are an allowable expense.
              2. The traveler may claim a transportation allowance for transportation to and from the airport as outlined in the STARR.
          2. Destination Ground Transportation
            1. Airport to Hotel and Return Ground Transportation
              1. Transportation between the destination airport and hotel is an allowable expense.
              2. The traveler may claim a transportation allowance for transportation between the airport to the hotel, as outlined in the STARR.
            2. Other Ground Transportation
              1. The traveler must provide a business purpose that supports additional ground transportation costs incurred while conducting official college business.
              2. Side trips and non-business functions requiring transportation are not an allowable expense.
              3. Transportation for meals is an allowable expense.
            3. Rental Vehicles:
              1. Rental cars are not allowed unless the supervisor specifically authorizes it as necessary to accomplish the business trip purpose, before the trip.
              2. Travelers must be on the Risk Management approved driver list to rent a car.
              3. Rental vehicles must be arranged through the DTA or directly with contracted car rental companies whenever possible.
              4. If authorized, the traveler must include the rental car and estimated cost on the travel pre-approval. Allowable expenses are:
                1. the basic rental car rate for the most economical size vehicle needed; and
                2. fuel purchases for the rental car.
              5. The traveler must only use a contracted rental car during the conference or business trip dates.
              6. A traveler desiring to extend a trip for personal reasons must obtain a separate rental for personal use.
              7. Personal property insurance to protect college-owned equipment is an allowable expense.
              8. Travelers should not purchase damage and liability Insurance when utilizing the contracted rental companies. If a traveler does not make rental car arrangements through the contracted providers noted in the STARR, or if the rental is outside of the 50 states and District of Columbia, the traveler must purchase both damage and liability insurance with the vehicle rental.
            4. Private and Motor Pool Vehicles
              1. Individuals must be on the Risk Management approved driver list to:
                1. drive a vehicle on college business; or
                2. be reimbursed for mileage, except for mileage to/from the SLC airport.
              2. Use of Motor Pool Vehicles
                1. Travelers are encouraged to utilize motor pool vehicles when appropriate.
                2. Use of a Motor Pool vehicle is governed by the college's Motor Vehicle Policy and Procedure.
                3. Departments will be charged for the use of motor pool vehicles according to the motor pool rate schedules in effect at the time of travel.
              3. Private Vehicle Use
                1. Only one person in the vehicle may receive mileage reimbursement regardless of the number of people in the vehicle.
                2. The mileage reimbursement rate is inclusive of all costs incurred, e.g., fuel, insurance, and vehicle wear and tear.
                3. For local travel, mileage to be reimbursed is determined as follows:
                  1. All mileage is reimbursable where a traveler leaves from their regular workplace on college business and returns to that workplace.
                  2. When a traveler leaves from home and/or returns home directly, mileage will be reimbursed less their regular commute.
                  3. Mileage incurred as part of a traveler’s commute is not reimbursable.
            5. Private Vehicle Use in Lieu of Air Travel
              1. If a traveler chooses to drive a private vehicle instead of flying, the college will reimburse the traveler at the amount that is lowest:
                1. Current STARR mileage rate reimbursement; or
                2. the lowest reasonable airfare price, obtained by DTA, plus all other costs associated with flying, including agency fee, baggage fees, meal per diem, and transportation fees.
              2. The lowest, reasonable airfare price quote must be obtained from the DTA and be included with the travel expense report.
              3. The traveler will be reimbursed for meals and lodging not to exceed the total of those expenses the traveler would have incurred if the traveler had flown.
              4. The college may grant exemptions to this for special circumstances when the traveler provides written justification and obtains supervisory approval.
      3. Lodging
        1. Hotel or Vacation Rental
          1. Travelers should book standard rooms. Upgraded rooms, e.g., suites, require a business justification.
          2. For conference travel, staying in the conference designated hotel is preferred and is an allowable expense.
          3. For non-conference travel, a reasonable rate for the city or locale visited is an allowable expense.
          4. Vacation rentals, such as Airbnb or VRBO, is an allowable expense with a business justification.
          5. For in-state lodging, travelers should request the state government rate when making reservations.
          6. If a trip is canceled, the traveler must contact the hotel to cancel the room.
        2. Lodging at Personal Property or Campground
          1. Travelers may elect to stay with friends or relatives instead of staying in a hotel and be reimbursed without receipts at the rate noted in the STARR.
          2. A traveler staying at a trailer park or campground in a personal or recreational vehicle will be reimbursed for the actual cost up to the rate noted in the STARR with a receipt from the facility.
          3. A traveler staying in their personally owned residence does not qualify for lodging reimbursement.
      4. Meals and Per Diem
        1. Travelers may not use the college purchasing card to pay for meals, except for hosted meals.
        2. The college will reimburse travelers for meals at the college's current per diem rates published in STARR. The per diem rates are all-inclusive and taxes and tips are considered included in the rates.
        3. Travelers on trips requiring overnight lodging may receive per diem based on the time a traveler leaves and returns home according to the STARR.
        4. Travelers will not receive per diem for any complimentary meals provided by the lodging provider, conference, another organization, a third party, or a co-worker, regardless of whether the traveler eats the meal.
          1. If the hosting entity cannot provide a meal meeting the traveler’s dietary restrictions, the traveler may receive a per diem for that meal.
          2. Hotel continental breakfasts and airline meals or snacks are not considered meals and a traveler may claim per diem.
        5. Hosted Meals
          1. If the traveler hosts a guest for college business while traveling, the actual cost is an allowable expense.
          2. If a traveler hosts other college employees, amounts exceeding the per diem rate for that meal per hosted individual is not an allowable expense unless approved by the host's supervisor.
          3. The traveler hosting a meal must attach an itemized receipt to their travel expense report.
          4. Travelers that are included in a hosted meal are not eligible for per diem for that meal.
        6. Alcohol is not an allowable expense.
      5. Incidental Costs
        1. Tips
          1. Tips for concierge, valet parking, and other personal preference services are not an allowable expense.
          2. Meal tips are not an allowable expense, except for hosted meals.
          3. If the traveler claims actual shuttle, rideshare, or taxi costs, tips can be included and are an allowable expense.
          4. Other tips listed in the STARR are an allowable expense at the rates listed in the STARR.
        2. Internet Service and Other Miscellaneous Costs
          1. Internet charges on a plane or hotel are an allowable expense when needed to conduct business.
          2. Other miscellaneous costs are an allowed expense with a valid business justification.
      6. Unallowed Expenses
        1. The following are not allowable expenses:
        2. fines for parking or traffic violations;
        3. personal entertainment expenses;
        4. laundry services or other personal use purchases; and
        5. purchases with no college business purpose.
    3. Cash Advances
      1. The college does not issue cash advances except in instances where travelers do not have a college purchasing card or available personal funds.
      2. Advances to travelers are limited to 90 percent of estimated out-of-pocket expenditures such as meals and ground transportation.
      3. Students involved with athletic teams or other college student activities may receive a 100 percent advance.
      4. Cash advances will be available the week before departure.
      5. Travelers must deposit any unused portion of the travel advance at the Cashier's Office and submit the deposit slip with the travel expense report.
    4. Per Diem and Travel Expense Cards
      1. The travel office may issue per diem and/or travel expense cards to travelers when necessary.
      2. The use of these cards are governed by the guidelines established by the Travel Office.
    5. International Travel
      1. Travel to international destinations, excluding Canada and Mexico, requires appropriate vice president pre-approval. Approval is obtained electronically in the EMS.
      2. Travelers must submit the Health and Wellness Form and accept the International Travel Agreement with the travel pre-approval.
      3. International travel as part of Study Abroad or Faculty Exchange must comply with the Study Abroad and Exchange Policy.
      4. Expenses specific to international travel, such as passport fees, visa fees, required immunizations, and currency exchange fees are allowable expenses.
    6. Group Travel
      1. Group travel, including athletics and other student groups, must follow the appropriate travel procedures for such groups.
      2. Travel expenses cannot exceed the college's reimbursement rates or guidelines.
      3. College employees traveling with groups are subject to this policy and procedures.

Last Executive Cabinet Review: May 23, 2023

The originator of this policy and procedure is the Controller'’'s Office. Questions regarding this policy and procedure may be directed to the originator by calling 801-957-4084.