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Business Travel and Related Expenses

The purpose of this policy is to establish uniform guidelines for allowable and eligible business travel and related expenses. All such expenses must be necessary and reasonable and incurred during the course of conducting official Manhattanville College business.

This policy outlines qualified business travel and related expenses that can be incurred on behalf of Manhattanville and reimbursed to the employee when an out-of-pocket situation occurs. Neither Manhattanville nor the employee should benefit from this policy. The employee must use the lowest cost alternative or provider while traveling. Because Manhattanville cares about the security, safety and health of its employees, sub-standard modes of transportation and accommodations should not be used.

It is, of course, impossible to anticipate every situation that may be encountered while traveling on business or working in the office. Therefore, it is expected that all Manhattanville employees exercise good business judgment while incurring travel and related business expenses on behalf of Manhattanville. Exceptions to the policy, based on individual circumstances, have to be preapproved by the President.

The topics covered in this policy are:

  • Pre-Travel Authorization
  • Travel (air, rail, etc.)
  • Other Allowable Travel-Related Expenses
  • Unallowable Travel Expenses
  • Travel Expense Reimbursement Procedures

If the employee is unclear as to whether or not an expense is covered by this policy, approval from the department manager should be sought prior to incurring the expense.

Pre-Travel Authorization

  1. An appropriate Vice President, the Provost or the President must authorize all travel expenses in advance.
  2. The form used to request authorization is entitled "Request for Travel Authorization" (attached and available electronically).
  3. Individuals will be reimbursed for expenses they incur in accordance with this policy after the expenses are incurred.

Travel (Air, Rail, etc.)

  1. Employees must use economy class when traveling. Any variances must be approved in advance by the President.
  2. When a non-employee accompanies a college traveler, the airfare for the non-employee should not be charged to the College. Exceptions are consultants, students accompanying an admissions counselor, or students who are going on a college-sponsored trip.
  3. Employees are encouraged to use travel agents when purchasing tickets for a group. They can provide valuable assistance with securing refunds, changing names on tickets, assisting with emergencies and travel arrangement advice.
  4. It is the responsibility of the employee to ensure that any cancelled or unused airline, rail, etc. tickets paid for by the College are refunded to the College or applied to future college-related business travel.

Other Allowable Travel-Related Expenses

Reasonable and necessary expenses incurred by the employee that will be reimbursed may include:

  1. Accommodations: It is expected that employees will use moderately priced facilities or convention hotels specified by conference organizers. An original hotel bill detailing the charges must be obtained to document this expense. If the listing includes charges other than room and taxes, additional explanation must be provided. Reimbursement will not be given for in-room movies or mini-bar purchases. If it is necessary to cancel a reservation, inform the hotel or travel agency immediately. It is the responsibility of the employee to ensure that any cancelled or unused accommodations paid for by the College are refunded to the College or applied to future college-related accommodations. The employee should advise the hotel in advance of late arrivals or early departures to avoid penalties.
  2. Ground Transportation: Taxis, shuttles and public transportation between terminals, hotels, places of business, etc., should be documented by receipts.
  3. Rental Vehicles: The employee should make all arrangements with Enterprise Car Rentals through the Business Affairs office. Use of rental vehicles is restricted to situations where commercial transportation is not available or is impractical, or when a rental car is more efficient. The original receipt along with proof of payment must be obtained. When an employee is on college-sanctioned business in the U.S., the driver should decline the optional insurance coverage. Collision damage waiver and liability insurance supplements are provided through the College's automobile physical damage and automobile liability insurance policies. However, when a vehicle is rented in connection with international travel, the optional travel insurance should be purchased.
  4. Use of College Vehicle: If the employee is reserving a college van, additional guidelines apply. Please contact the Safety and Security office for specific procedures.
  5. Use of Personal Vehicle for Transportation: Mileage will be reimbursed based on miles used for business purposes (not personal travel) using the current standard IRS rate. The College also reimburses tolls and parking fees upon submission of a receipt. Expenses for gasoline, repairs, etc. are included in the mileage allowance. Mileage for commuting to and from work is not reimbursable. Under the provisions of New York nofault insurance laws, the owner of a vehicle and the owner's insurance company are responsible in the event of an accident. The employee must have at least the following insurance to use his/her personal car for Manhattanville College business: $100,000.00 per person and $300,000.00 per occurrence for bodily injury liability and $50,000.00 per occurrence for property damage or a combined single limit of $300,000.00 per occurrence for bodily injury and property damage.
  6. Meals: The College will reimburse for reasonable meal cost, when appropriate. Receipts for all such costs should include a detail of the purchase including name of the establishment and date, the business purpose of the meal and names of the individuals involved. When meals are included in the cost of a conference, meals taken elsewhere are not considered valid travel related expenses.
  7. Tips: In the U.S. and Canada tips should not exceed 15%-20% of the cost of service, unless required by the establishment. In countries outside the U.S. and Canada the local tipping customs should prevail i.e. gratuities are often included on the bill.
  8. Registration Fees: Accounts Payable should process registration fees before a conference begins. However, if registration is completed using the Internet, a copy of the registration should be printed. The registration form should show the name of the sponsoring organization, date(s) of the event(s) and cost(s). Conference registration fees are not "travel" expenses.

Unallowable Travel Expenses

The College will not reimburse or pay for the following:

  1. Traffic and parking tickets.
  2. Personal charges such as valet service, entertainment not considered college-related, inroom ovies, gifts, souvenirs and personal purchases.
  3. Airline club memberships.
  4. Auto club memberships.
  5. Theft or loss of personal belongings or money.
  6. Non-business meals and/or transportation.
  7. Undocumented expenses.
  8. First class travel.
  9. Reimbursement for travel and related expenses incurred in a prior fiscal year.

Travel Expense Reimbursement Procedures

Travel expense reimbursements are claimed by filling out a Check Requisition (attached and available electronically).

  1. The Check Requisition must be accompanied by appropriate documentation as noted below within 30 days of the trip.
  2. It must be signed by the traveler, the department manager indicating review and approval of the request and its documentation, and by the vice president, provost or president indicating that person's review and approval.
  3. The Travel Authorization must be attached to the Check Requisition

At a minimum, the following Internal Revenue Service substantiation requirements for business expenses must be provided:

  • Amount: Original receipts for expenditures and proof of payment
  • Dates: Documented dates of departure and return for each trip or date of event
  • Place: Documented name of the city, town or state of destination
  • Business Purpose: Documented business reasons for travel

Original receipts are defined as follows:

  1. Air travel - The used airline ticket stub. For those airlines using "ticket-less travel" or electronic ticketing, attach a receipt or confirmation detailing the transportation expense, proof of payment, and boarding pass (if one is available).
  2. Auto Rental - A receipt detailing the expense for the rental car.
  3. Taxi – A receipt for each trip indicating cost including tips.
  4. Train - Used ticket stubs.
  5. Mileage for business use of personal auto – Printout of "driving directions" from a web site such as MapQuest, showing total mileage for the trip.
  6. Other: Receipts for parking, tolls, gas, etc. If no receipt is available, such as for public transportation by bus, list the item, dates, from/to locations, and cost.
  7. Hotel – Detailed bill as described above.
  8. Meals – Detailed bill as described above.
  9. Registration fees if not paid by Accounts Payable – Invoice as described above.