Travel Authorization and Reimbursement

University Policy 602.7, Travel Authorization and Reimbursement

Executive Summary: 

With the completion of the Travel Manual, Business Affairs has developed this Policy Statement on Travel Authorization and Reimbursement to serve as an overarching statement regarding the purpose and scope of the travel manual, and the responsibilities of University employees while in travel status as well as the responsibilities of individuals and offices that participate in the travel authorization and reimbursement process. This is the University’s initial policy statement and procedure manual related to University travel, and it documents in one place the related federal, state, and University requirements.

Purpose

The University intends to ensure fair and equitable reimbursement of University business travel expense as well as compliance with all applicable laws and regulations related to travel.

This Policy implements the State of North Carolina’s travel regulations and complies with the Internal Revenue Service requirements for an Accountable Plan. To be reimbursable, University business travel must be performed in the most economical manner consistent with mission requirements; all expenses must be incurred while in travel status; expenses must be reasonable, necessary and (except for meal per diem) actual; and expenses must not exceed the limitations imposed by the State or the University. 

Scope

This Policy and the accompanying Travel Manual apply to all UNC Charlotte faculty, staff, students, organizations, and any other individuals and members of organizations that travel at University expense (hereinafter “Travelers”).  

Responsibilities

Travelers are responsible for performing their travel duties in conformity with the provisions of this Policy and the Travel Manual and for providing expenditure documentation that is legitimate and complete to support their travel reimbursement claims.  Unauthorized excess costs, circuitous routes, delays, or luxury accommodations and services unnecessary or unjustified in the performance of official business are not compensable. Travelers are responsible for unauthorized costs and any additional expenses incurred for personal preference or convenience.

Supervisors and senior approving officials are responsible for authorizing travel in advance and for reviewing and monitoring all travel expenses they approve. Such approval must certify that the travel was necessary and the expenses were authorized and incurred while on official business of the University.  Supervisors also are required to deny reimbursement in situations where there is reason to believe the expenditures are inappropriate, extravagant or unreasonable. 

The Office of Sponsored Programs is responsible for reviewing and approving all travel authorizations and reimbursements that charge sponsored grants or contracts for which it has oversight responsibility. 

The Controller is responsible for administering and overseeing the provisions of this Policy and for providing guidance to Travelers through the Travel and Complex Payments Office.

The Athletic Business Office is responsible for authorizing, reviewing and processing travel authorizations and reimbursement requests for the Athletics programs in accordance with this Policy and the accompanying Travel Manual.

Policy

The University will reimburse reasonable and approved business-related travel expenditures incurred by Travelers for the conduct of University business according to this Policy and the accompanying Travel Manual, which applies to all departments, regardless of the source of funds, and to all affiliated and related organizations.

No duplicate claims or commuting expenses are reimbursable.

This Policy applies to all sponsored programs, except when the sponsored program guidelines are more restrictive than University policy, in which case the sponsored program rules apply.  Principal investigators and others traveling on sponsored project funds are expected to be familiar with the allowable cost provisions of their sponsored program.  Travel expenses that do not conform to both this Policy and the sponsored program guidelines will not be reimbursed to the Traveler or expensed to the sponsored program.

Each administrator is responsible for ensuring that reimbursements from programs or to persons under his or her authority are reasonable and appropriate for the purpose and charged to a program appropriate to that purpose. An administrator may set lower reimbursement amounts for persons or programs under his or her responsibility.

Reimbursement claims must be signed by the person seeking reimbursement, the immediate supervisor, and the person responsible for the fund paying the claim, if different from the supervisor.  Individuals may not approve their own reimbursement or that of a superior.  It is recommended that Travelers retain photocopies of expense reports and related receipts for their own records.

Original receipts showing the date of service are required for reimbursement of all expenditures except for meal per diems and incidental expenditures such as tips.  Every reimbursement request must include a statement of business purpose that covers the entire travel period.

Travelers who do not comply with this Policy or with the Travel Manual either will not be reimbursed or their reimbursement will be treated as taxable income.

Travel Procedure

The Travel Authorization Form (Travel Forms Package, tab 1) published by the Controller’s Office must be completed and submitted to the Travel and Complex Payments Office no less than two weeks before the travel start date.

The Travel Reimbursement Form (Travel Forms Package, tab 2) published by the Controller's Office must be completed and submitted to theTravel and Complex Payments Office no later than 30 days after travel return date.

All Travelers are obligated to comply with the Travel Manual supplemental to this Policy.

Administration Policy

The Vice Chancellor for Business Affairs is responsible for establishing and enforcing supplemental procedures related to travel to insure compliance with all applicable North Carolina laws. These procedures are available online at the Travel & Complex Payments web page.

 

Revision History: 
  • Initially approved October 20, 2009
  • Updated January 12, 2016
  • Updated July 1, 2016

Authority: Chancellor

Responsible Office: Business Affairs

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