Travel Expense and Reimbursement Policy

Purpose of Policy

The College appreciates the efforts of those who travel on College business. Employees and students should be comfortable while traveling, understand all travel related policies, and obtain reimbursement quickly. At the same time, it is necessary to keep the costs of travel within reasonable limits and to follow consistent reimbursement procedures.

This policy is intended to:

  • Ensure that only reasonable and necessary expenditures for authorized business are incurred, documented, and paid for by the College.
  • Ensure clear and consistent understanding of policies and procedures.
  • Make sure all payments are in conformity with applicable laws, acceptable practices, and common sense.
  • Provide guidelines that enable the College and  its departments to better manage their budgets.

Scope of Policy

The policy applies to all employees and non-employees, e.g. trustees, volunteers, consultants, guest lecturers, interview candidates, etc. who incur reimbursable expenses while traveling or locally to be paid by Hampshire College, regardless of the source of funds.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) imposes the following requirements on reimbursement of business expenses: (1) there must be a business reason for the expenses; (2) the individual must substantiate the expense; and (3) the individual must return to the employer or organization any amount advanced in excess of the substantiated expenses.

For travel and reimbursable expenses to be paid or reimbursed, they must be properly accounted for on a travel and reimbursement form, with the business purpose stated and proper supervisory approvals obtained.  

Exceptions to this policy may be made on an individual basis, but require the individual to obtain written pre-approval from the vice president for finance and administration. A copy of the pre-approval must be attached to the pertinent travel and reimbursement report.

Responsibilities of Travelers/Individuals

Employees and students are expected to spend Hampshire funds prudently. Business travel expenses will be paid by the College if they are reasonable, appropriately documented, properly authorized, and within the guidelines of this policy. Individuals who incur business travel expenses should neither gain nor lose personal funds as a result of their travel. Travelers conducting official College business are expected to exercise the same care in incurring expense, as would a prudent person. Excessive costs, circuitous routes, excess delays, or luxury accommodations and services unnecessary or unjustified in the performance of College business are not acceptable and will not be reimbursed.

Individuals may not authorize reimbursement of their own travel expenses or those of their fellow employees. Employees may not approve travel or entertainment expenses for an individual to whom they report.

Responsibilities of the Budget Managers

The responsibility for review and approval of all College business and reimbursable expenses generally rests with the budget manager, who is fiscally responsible for the account to which the expenditures will be charged. The budget manager must verify that expenses and expense reports meet the following criteria:

  • The travel expense was incurred while conducting authorized College business.
  • The information contained on the expense report and in the attached documentation is accurate and in accordance with this policy.
  • There are sufficient funds to cover all trip expenses.
  • The expenditure is charged to the proper account(s).

Responsibility of the President's Cabinet

The President's cabinet has approved this policy, and with the help of the budget managers will ensure compliance with it in the schools and departments.

Responsibilities of the Business Office

  • Reviewing forms and attachments for accuracy, completeness, reasonableness, and compliance with government regulations and College policies.
  • Returning forms to employees when items appear unreasonable, incomplete, personal in nature, or violate government regulations or College policies.
  • Maintaining auditable records of travel expenses.
  • Processing balances due to/from vendors and individuals.
  • Verifying required approval signatures.
  • Ensuring proper tax treatment of taxable income items and compliance with IRS regulations.

NOTE: The above does not relieve the traveler or supervisor from her or his obligations under this policy.

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