STATEWIDE TRAVEL REGULATIONS January 2010
General Information • The travel regulations can be found at http://sao.georgia.gov • Statewide Travel Regulations are issued by the State Accounting Office and the Office of Planning and Budget. • BOR allows institutions to implement additional policies which can be more restrictive. Institutional Guidelines and Procedures are on the Controller’s webpage.
Authorization for Travel • Employees must receive authorization from their department head/director prior to performing the travel. • A standing travel authorization may be issued for in-state travel only. A standing travel authorization can not extend past the current fiscal year. • A specific or individual authorization must be initiated for all out-of state travel.
Authorization for Travel • Traveler retains authorization in the traveler’s home department until traveler requests reimbursement for the trip. • Electronic travel authorizations through PeopleSoft Expenses are being tested and will be rolled out in the near future.
Authorization for Travel • Original approved travel authorization should be submitted as supporting documentation for the expense report. • For standing travel authorizations, the original should be submitted with the initial expense report and a copy should be submitted for all subsequent expense reports.
Authorization for Travel • If an employee is traveling with a group or team, the employee must submit a travel authorization addendum listing the names of all members of the group. • A travel authorization for non-employees must be submitted for all non-employees who will be reimbursed for travel. • UWG Travel Authorization Guideline can be found at http://www.westga.edu/assetsDept/controller/bfcntr-01_Travel_Authorization(2).pdf
Meal Reimbursement • Employees traveling overnight will be paid a per diem amount designed to cover the cost of meals (including tax and tips), based on the number of meals per day for which the employee is eligible. • Generally the traveler is eligible for reimbursement for three meals per day for all days on travel status other than the day of departure and return.
Meal Reimbursement • Not eligible for reimbursement if meal is part of the cost of conference registration. • Day of Departure/Return – Employees should report the actual time of departure/return and will only be reimbursed for meals while officially on travel status. Departure may be from home or UWG depending on travel plans. • Indicate location (city/state) where the meal took place.
Per Diem Rates In-State High Cost*Restricted to the following counties – Chatham, Cobb, Dekalb, Fulton, Glynn and Gwinnett
Meal ReimbursementOut-of-State • Employees traveling outside of Georgia may receive meal per diem amounts up to the federal per diem rates – less the $5 federal incidentals allowance. • Federal per diem rates can be found at http://www.gsa.gov/perdiem • Breakdown by meal for federal per diem rates can be found at http://www.gsa.gov/mie
Meal ReimbursementOut-of-State • If neither the city nor the county is listed for a particular state, the per diem rate is the standard federal per diem rate of $46 for meals and incidentals. With the $5 deduction for incidentals, the meal per diem would be $41 ($7 Breakfast, $11 Lunch and $23 Dinner)
Meal ReimbursementForeign Travel • Per diem rates for foreign travel can be found at http://aoprals.state.gov/content.asp?content_id=184&menu_id=78 • Allocation of foreign meal per diem rates can be found at http://aoprals.state.gov/content.asp?content_id=114&menu_id=81
Meal Reimbursement Exceptions • If for some reason the employee is unable to participate in the conference meal, the employee may request the per diem amount associated with the meal purchased in lieu of that provided. • If this situation occurs, the employee must provide a receipt documenting the meal purchased and justification for the meal purchased must be indicated on the statement.
Meal ReimbursementNo Overnight Travel • Employees may receive per diem for meals that are an integral part of a scheduled, official meeting. The meeting must be with persons outside the employee’s department and meeting should continue during the meal. Employees are not authorized to receive this per diem if they leave the premises of the meeting site.
Meal ReimbursementNo Overnight Travel • Employees may be reimbursed for noon meals that are part of a required registration fee. • Employees who travel more than 30 miles from home or headquarters on a work assignment and are away for more than thirteen hours may receive per diem for meals. • The travel regulations do not authorize employees to receive per diem for a “lunch meeting” in which the meal and meeting are one and the same.
Meal ReimbursementStudent Travel Per Diems • See Institutional Policy for Student Travel Per Diems and Food Purchases at http://www.westga.edu/assetsDept/controller/bfcnex-09_Student_Food_Purchases_1-19-10.doc
Meal ReimbursementStudent Travel Per Diems • Meals purchased with Student Activity or Aux Enterprise funds may exceed by 50% established location per diems. • For Athletic Department only, two consecutive per diems may be combined prior to or following a game or match. • If receipt is submitted for less than the per diem amount, reimbursement will be paid at the amount of the receipt.
Lodging Expenses • Employees who travel more than 50 miles from their home office, residence, or headquarters may be reimbursed for lodging expenses. • Employees should ensure that the most reasonable lodging rates are obtained. • State employees are encouraged to explore the opportunities at cost-competitive certified “Green Hotels.” A list can be found at http://www.p2ad.org/Assets/Documents/ci_grnhotel.html
Taxes Associated with Lodging • Lodging paid directly by employee (personal credit card, personal check or cash) are exempt from hotel/motel tax. • State and local government officials and employees traveling within the state on official business are exempt from paying the county or municipal excise tax on lodging (“hotel/motel” or “occupancy” tax). Employees are required to pay any state/local sales and use taxes.
Taxes Associated with Lodging • Employees are required to submit a copy of the hotel/motel tax-exemption form when they register at a hotel/motel. This does not apply to employees staying at an out-of-state hotel/motel. • If the hotel refuses to exempt the tax, the employee should pay the tax. The tax should be noted on the travel expense statement and will be reimbursed. The travel reimbursement office will notify the SAO of the hotel/motel’s refusal to exempt the tax.
Lodging Expenses • “Resort” and other fees are sometimes charged by a hotel. These are not tax exempt fees and will be reimbursed. • The lodging expenses should be itemized on the travel expense statement and receipts are required for reimbursement.
Mileage Reimbursement • The state requires employees who travel to determine the most advantageous form of travel. There are many factors that play a role in determining the most advantageous form of travel. Some helpful information can be found at: http://www.gsa.gov/pov
Mileage Reimbursement • Tier 1 Rate – When it is determined that a personal motor vehicle is the most advantageous form of travel. Reimbursement will be made at the Tier 1 rate in effect for the travel date. • Required documentation includes a comparison of the personal vehicle cost verses the cost of a fleet vehicle (if available) and a rental vehicle. • The following website is a good tool to calculate the estimated cost of a rental vehicle. http://ssl.doas.state.ga.us/vehcostcomp
Mileage Reimbursement • An employee who travels less than 180 miles round-trip will be reimbursed at the Tier 1 rate without having to provide additional documentation concerning the most cost advantageous form of travel.
Mileage Reimbursement • Tier 2 Rate – If a government/agency owned vehicle is available and its use is determined to be most advantageous or if it is determined that a rental vehicle is the most advantageous method of travel, but a personal motor vehicle is used, the employee will be reimbursed for business miles traveled at the Tier 2 rate.
Mileage Reimbursement • Tier 3 Rate – If a government/agency owned vehicle is assigned directly to an employee but that employee utilizes a personal motor vehicle, the employee will be reimbursed for business miles traveled at Tier 3 rate.
In-State Motor Vehicle Rental • Employees should utilize the statewide contract with Enterprise. http://ssl.doas.state.ga.us/PRSapp/statewide/SWC-070765%20(PS%208.8)_082609_171739.pdf
Mileage Reimbursement • Employees requesting reimbursement must record the actual odometer readings on the expense statement. Personal/commuting miles should be entered in the appropriate field to be excluded. • If round trip miles are entered on one expense line, documentation must be submitted as to the places visited during the trip.
Determination of Miles Traveled • Employees may be reimbursed for the mileage incurred from the point of departure to the travel destination. If an employee departs from his/her residence, mileage is calculated from the residence to the destination point, with a reduction for normal one-way commuting miles. If an employee returns to his/her residence, mileage is calculated based on the distance to the residence, with a reduction for normal one-way commuting miles.
Example A Employee drives from home to headquarters to job site back to headquarters and back home. Total business miles traveled is 80 miles. Job site 40 mil Home Headquarters 15 miles Normal commute
Example B Employee drives from home to headquarters to remote site then back home from remote site. Total reimbursable miles is 22 miles. (Total miles traveled is 37 miles with a deduction of 15 one-way commute miles). Remote site 19 miles 18 mil Home Headquarters 15 miles Normal commute
Example C Employee leaves from home to attend a conference 200 miles from home. Employee returns directly home after conference. Total business miles traveled is 370 miles. (400 miles to conference site and back less 30 round-trip normal commute miles.) Conference Site 200 miles Headquarters Home 15 miles Normal commute
Exceptions • If travel occurs on a weekend or holiday, mileage is calculated from the point of departure with no reduction for normal commuting miles. • If an employee does not regularly travel to an office/headquarters, the requirement to deduct normal commuting miles does not apply. • If travel occurs on a day that is not considered a normal work day for the employee. “The requirement to deduct normal commuting miles does not apply.” • This exception does not apply to those working under the State’s telework policy. Therefore, if an employee works under the State’s telework policy and travels on a day covered by that policy, then the employee would be required to deduct normal commuting miles.
Parking Fees, Tolls & Mass Transit • Expenses for parking fees, tolls or mass transit (buses, trams, subway) should be recorded on the travel expense statement. • A receipt is required for these expenses that are $10 or greater. • For expenses $10 or greater and no receipt is obtained or it is lost, complete the “Missing Receipt Form” • For expenses less than $10 with no receipt, state in comment section that no receipt was available.
Taxi & Shuttle Fees • Employees must obtain receipts for reimbursement of taxis and shuttles regardless of amount. • If receipt is not obtained or lost, complete the “Missing Receipt Form.”
Air Travel • Employees should utilize commercial air transportation when it is more effective and efficient to travel by air than by vehicle. • Employees who travel by air should obtain the lowest available airfare to the specified destination. • Employees who choose to travel by personal vehicle when air travel is more cost effective should only be reimbursed for the cost of the lowest available airfare to the destination. • Utilize the lowest possible coach fares.
Prepaid Airfare • University has contract with West Georgia Travel for employees to obtain airfare and have it billed directly to the University. • Submit completed and approved travel authorization to West Georgia Travel. • West Georgia Travel will book flight and issue invoice to University. • University will make payment on behalf of employee. • Employee must reconcile prepayment of airfare on final expense report.
Out-of-State Rental of Motor Vehicles • Employees should use the statewide contract for out-of-state motor vehicle rentals. • This contract can be found at http://ssl.doas.state.ga.us/PRSapp/statewide/SWC30293%20%20(PS%208.8)_051309_111901.pdf • Employees will be reimbursed for gasoline purchased in association with the business use of a rental vehicle. Receipts must be submitted for reimbursement.
Miscellaneous Travel Expenses • Telephone/fax expenses incurred for work related telephone and fax charges. • Internet usage charges for work related charges. • Stationery/supplies/postage expenses may be reimbursed if directly associated with a work related project. • Baggage handling services may be reimbursed when an expense is actually incurred.
Miscellaneous Travel Expenses • Registration Fees for participation in workshops, seminars or conferences. • Visa/Passport Fees may be reimbursed when the employer necessitates the use of a passport/visa and the employee does not currently possess such a document.
Unallowable Expenses • Laundry (except when travel exceeds 7 consecutive days) • Tipping for Maid Services • Valet services for parking when self-parking is available. (must provide explanation) • Theater • Entertainment • Alcoholic beverages • Visa/passport fees (except as noted on previous slide) • Bank charges for ATM withdrawals
Reimbursement Procedures • Must submit reimbursement request using the Travel and Expense module of PeopleSoft Financials V8.9. • This module can be accessed using the Financials Self Service application which can be found at https://dfs-fineapps.gafirst.usg.edu/psp/F89PRD/?cmd=login&languageCd=ENG • The electronic expense report should be entered and will automatically be routed through the proper approval process.
Reimbursement Procedures • A paper copy of the expense report should be printed after electronic submission. This paper copy (signed by the traveler), along with the travel authorization and all associated receipts, should be submitted to the Office of the Controller for audit purposes. • Supervisor must also sign the travel expense report if he/she is not the approving official on the expense report. • Example is when a traveler is having expenses paid by another cost center whereby his/her supervisor is not the approver on that particular funding source.
Reimbursement Procedures • Upon receipt of the approved electronic copy and the paper copy of the expense report, the Office of the Controller will audit report and process it for payment. • Travel expense statements are processed in the order in which they are received.
Reimbursement Procedures • Generally, all reimbursements will be direct deposited (via EFT) into the bank account setup through Human Resources. • Except during month-end close out, EFT’s are processed three times weekly (Monday, Wednesday and Friday).
Reimbursement Procedures • Expense reports are to be compiled and submitted for approval within sixty (60) days after the trip is completed. • Travelers will only be reimbursed for their own expenses and not for expenses incurred on behalf of another (exception is for group travel). • Reimbursements for standing travel authorizations (including mileage) are to be submitted at regular intervals (no less than once prior to fall/spring break and at the end of the fall/spring semesters.)
Required Receipts • Receipts are required for the following expenses: - Meals purchased in lieu of those provided at the conference/training - Lodging - Airfare - Rental of motor vehicles - Gasoline purchased for rental vehicles - Taxis and shuttles - Parking, tolls and mass transit (if $10 or greater) - Registration Fees - Supplies