Business and Travel Expense Policy
This policy has been established to ensure cost effective use of College resources and compliance with federal regulations regarding reimbursement of business related expenses. This policy applies to all Concordia faculty, staff and student organizations—regardless of the payment method (reimbursement, purchase card, etc.).
Note: If travel or business expenses are to be charged to a grant or contract sponsored by an outside agency (i.e,: National Science Foundation, Dept. of Education, etc.), the requirements of the outside agency prevail if they are more restrictive than Concordia's policies.
Travel and business related expenses incurred will be paid by the College if the expenses are reasonable, necessary, documented and properly authorized for the purpose of official College business in accordance with College policy.
It is the responsibility of each individual employee to comply with Concordia's policies (this includes responsibility for educating oneself on policy requirements and keeping informed of changes). Supervisors are responsible for authorizing travel and business expenses and then reviewing and approving reimbursements in accordance with College policy. Any exceptions to College policy must be approved in writing by the division Vice President with notice to the Controller, PRIOR to making a reservation and/or incurring an expense. This exception must include significant justification documented in writing.
Employees must submit the required forms with adequate documentation of business expenses (original itemized receipts with the date, place, amount, description, participants, and business purpose) to the Business Office within 30 days of the date of the expense or, if an advance was issued, within 30 days of the date of the advance. Reimbursement requests submitted after the 30 day deadline will not be eligible for reimbursement.
All employees are expected to travel coach or economy class and to select moderately priced accommodations and restaurants. Airline reservation upgrades utilizing Frequent Flyer miles are acceptable. Reservations should be made well in advance to minimize cost. Comparative shopping is encouraged.
The Concordia Purchase Card (P-card) is a cost-effective method of paying for business and travel expenses. Concordia employees with college P-cards should use their card instead of cash or personal funds (except for purchases on campus). The card is not intended to avoid or bypass appropriate purchasing or business expense procedures but is to be used in accordance with established P-card guidelines and Concordia's policies. P-card purchases require the same documentation (original itemized receipts with the date, place, amount, description, participants, and business purpose) in order to qualify as legitimate business expenses.
Whenever possible, avoid paying sales tax by using a college P-card or by having charges billed directly to Concordia College (the sales tax exemption does not apply to prepared meals or lodging).
Persons incurring travel or business related expenses on behalf of the College will be reimbursed for approved out-of-pocket expenses upon the proper completion and submittal of a Reimbursement Report form. If an employee has a P-card, reimbursement of expenses should be submitted through the P-card Out-of-Pocket (OOP) process.
Reimbursement Report Form:
Use the Reimbursement Report form for reimbursements to any Concordia employee or student (who does not have a P-card). To ensure compliance with IRS regulations, College policy requires that this form be completed and submitted to the Business Office within 30 days of the date expense was incurred. Submittal must include the complete budget number (FOAP), the signatures of both employee and approver, and acceptable documentation supporting each purchase as described below:
- Original itemized receipts or invoice from the vendor including:
- Vendor name
- Transaction amount
- Itemized description of the item(s) purchased
- For meals, include the names of the participants and the business purpose of the meal (Note: alcohol is NOT reimbursable)
- A screen-print or order confirmation for purchases made on-line or a copy of the order form used to make purchases.
- If the purchaser is unable to obtain a receipt, a Missing Receipt Form must be completed documenting the transaction and verifying it was for official college business. Purchaser should make every attempt to obtain a receipt before using this form—including contacting the vendor for a duplicate receipt.
- For mileage reimbursement, attach a Mileage Log form documenting the date, starting and ending odometer number, starting and ending location, and business purpose. Mileage reimbursement is 33 cents per mile.
Personal Vehicle Reimbursement:
The College reimburses personal mileage at 33 cents per mile. For two or more persons traveling together in the same vehicle, only one person will be reimbursed for mileage.
Receipts for actual fuel charges will not be accepted unless it was for a college vehicle or if it is documented the amount for fuel would be less than the mileage calculation reimbursement.
Direct trips between the employee's residence and the College are considered commuting miles and are not reimbursable. Mileage reimbursement is meant to cover only those miles incurred above and beyond the employee's normal commute to the College. For example, if the normal commuting round trip is 20 miles and the employee goes on a business trip leaving directly from home that covers 90 miles, only the incremental 70 miles are reimbursable.
When employees use their own cars for college business, their personal insurance remains primary with the college providing secondary coverage in the event of an accident. Therefore, employees will be obligated for damage to their car and liability for injury/damage sustained by third parties as dictated under primary coverage.
Employees are encouraged to use college-owned vehicles whenever possible. Vehicles may be reserved through Transportation Services (Phone 218-299-3259) for college purposes. Drivers must complete the appropriate paperwork and training in order to be on the current "approved" driver list. Contact Risk Management (Phone 218-299-4242) for more information. Transportation Services should be contacted within 24 hours should an accident occur while driving a college vehicle.
The College recommends that travelers use economy or compact models when rental cars are necessary. Do not accept the Collision Damage Waiver or Personal Accident Insurance, since the College provides adequate insurance coverage for rented/leased vehicles in the United States. The College will not reimburse additional insurance coverage. The only exception is for vehicle rental in a foreign country. The College does not have insurance coverage outside the United States, so insurance should be accepted in those cases; however, travelers are encouraged to use public or hired transportation when traveling outside the United States.
Before leaving the rental lot, the traveler should inspect the vehicle for preexisting damage to avoid unwarranted charges when the vehicle is returned.
Return the vehicle to the same rental location with a full tank of gas to avoid additional charges.
Attach a copy of the rental agreement as well as the receipt to your Reimbursement Report form.
Contact the car rental company and Risk Management (Phone 218-299-4242) within 24 hours should an accident occur while driving a rental car.
Bus, Train and Taxi Service:
A receipt should be requested to document these expenses. Indicate on the receipt the starting and ending point for the trip and a brief description of the purpose of the trip.
Commercial Air Travel:
The College expects employees to fly coach or economy class, and federal regulations require persons using federal grant funds for travel to utilize coach or equivalent airfare. Airline tickets should be purchased as far in advance as possible (14-21 days for domestic travel and at least 30 for international). Employees are expected to book the least costly fare offered that realistically meets their scheduling needs without preference to one's frequent flyer affiliation. The last page of an original airline ticket entitled the "passenger receipt" is required for reimbursement or, in the case of an E-ticket, the receipt or ticket itinerary provided.
Travelers are strongly encouraged to use standard accommodations at moderately priced, mid-market hotels or motels (exceptions are made when a conference, workshop or other college business is scheduled at an upscale hotel). Original itemized hotel receipts are required for reimbursement listing room rate, tax, phone charges, meals, etc.
Meals are reimbursable for expenses incurred during: (1) college-related travel out of town; (2) entertaining guests of the College for a business related purpose; (3) a local conference, seminar, workshop, or presentation which extends through typical mealtimes; and (4) local dining expenses incurred as a part of employee or student recruitment, alumni function, donor solicitation or official college business meetings. Please note that meals during informal meetings between coworkers are NOT reimbursable and should be paid with personal funds.
Original itemized receipts for meals must be attached to the Reimbursement Report with the following documentation (required by the IRS):
- Who attended (self, if alone)
- Business purpose of the meal
- Name and location of restaurant or facility
Meals cannot be lavish or extravagant as per IRS regulations. Expenses should be reasonable in relation to the nature and purpose of the meeting. For guidance on reasonable standards, please see the websites referred to below under "Per Diem".
Concordia College does not reimburse for alcoholic beverages.
Tipping at the standard rate of 15-20% is reimbursable.
Other expenditures—including business telephone calls, seminar/conference fees, parking fees, tips and gratuities (15-20%) and other business related expenses—must be itemized on the Reimbursement Report form and supported by receipts whenever possible.
Per diems may only be used in special situations: (1) international travel as approved through the Office of Global Education; or (2) grant-related travel where adherence to federal per diem rates is required. Payments using per diems must be approved in advance by the appropriate vice president.
To determine the per diem rates for destinations within the United States, use the US General Services Administration website.
For foreign travel per diem rates, please consult the US Department of State website.
Below is a listing of expenses that are not eligible for reimbursement (keep in mind that this list is not all-inclusive and the College reserves the right to decline reimbursement as deemed appropriate). In general, expenses that are of a personal nature or expenses that are not adequately documented or submitted within 30 days are not eligible for reimbursement.
Any exceptions to the above must be approved IN ADVANCE and in writing by the division Vice President or President of the College with notice to the Controller, prior to making a reservation and/or incurring an expense. This exception must include significant justification documented in writing.
- Airline or auto club memberships
- Commuting costs between home and the College
- Dry cleaning/laundry for trips of less than seven business days
- Expenses of family members or personal guests unless authorized in advance by the College
- Health club or spa fees
- Premiums for accident, domestic auto rental, professional liability, and property insurance (please note that vehicle rental insurance in a foreign country should be purchased and is reimbursable)
- Non-business meals and/or transportation
- Personal entertainment expenses or dues
- Repairs/maintenance for personal vehicles used for College travel
- Personal items such as toiletries, magazines, etc.
- Theft or loss of personal belongings or money
- Traffic, speeding or parking violations
Responsibility of Employee Incurring Expenses and Preparing Reimbursement or P-Card Report:
- Ensure expenses follow Concordia's policies and also meet guidelines of the sponsoring agency or grant if their guidelines are stricter (e.g., NSF or Dept. of Ed).
- Properly prepare reimbursement or purchase card report by stated deadlines and provide adequate documentation. The IRS's assumption is that improperly documented business expense reimbursements are compensation payments that must be reported and taxed as income.
- Use correct budget numbers (FOAPs) for expense charges.
Responsibility of Department Head Approving Reimbursement or P-Card Report:
- Confirm that expenses are adequately documented and in compliance with College policies and any sponsoring agency or grant (e.g., NSF or Dept. of Ed).
- Confirm that expenses were incurred in the conduct of College business.
- Ensure that expenses are charged to the proper budget numbers (FOAPs) and within budgeted amounts.
The College does not have insurance coverage for personal property loss or damage; therefore:
- Employees/students must seek reimbursement through their own insurance company or directly from the responsible party.
- Personal property insurance premiums are the responsibility of the individual and will be not reimbursed by the College.
Departments should notify Risk Management in writing when employees or students are traveling out of the country—documenting names of participants, destinations, and dates of travel.
For additional information concerning international travel assistance and insurance, visit the EIIA Foreign Assist website.