About this Policy
Allowable Travel Expenses
Policy Number: 22603
UM System Controller's Office
UM System Controller
- Reason for Policy
- Policy Statement
- Related Information
This policy is for university employees and Non-Employees seeking payment of travel expenses.
The policy outlines allowing payment on behalf of or reimbursement to employees for authorized business expenses. It defines expenses that fall under the accountable plan and those that are not reimbursed along with other applicable plan rules.
Employees and others who incur travel expenses while conducting official University business may have reasonable and necessary travel expenses paid on behalf of or reimbursed in accordance with university policies. Every reasonable effort should be made to use appropriate University payment methods for travel expenses to minimize personal liability.
Itemized receipts for reimbursement for all expenditures $75 or more and for all hotel expenditures regardless of amount are required. Travel expenditures incurred on a One Card require a receipt regardless of dollar amount.
All divisions or departments must adhere to the travel reimbursement policies contained herein and may not establish lower limits, additional requirements, or more restrictive policies unless required by an outside entity.
Documentation of the business purpose of travel expenses paid directly by the University is the responsibility of the traveler and the traveler's home department and is required whether the payment is made by voucher or the University OneCard. To comply with accountable plan rules, documentation should include the amount, date, place and business purpose.
Travel by Telework Employees
Travel expenses are only eligible for reimbursement if the travel is ordinary and necessary and is away from the employee’s Tax Home for University business. The employee’s Tax Home is their official work location, which can include their personal residence in the case of employees who work remotely.
An employee whose work designation is fully remote for which their work location is outside of a University provided location, the Tax Home will be the same as their personal residence. Employees under this designation, can be reimbursed for travel between their personal residence and the University provided work location as long as the distance between their residence and the University location is greater than 50 miles and the travel is required by the University.
Employees under a hybrid work arrangement will use the University provided location as their Tax Home for travel purposes. Travel between the hybrid employee’s personal residence and their University provided location is not reimbursable as this type of travel is considered their commute.
Reimbursement of Travel Expenses Prior to Travel
Reimbursement of travel expenses paid by the traveler in advance of the travel dates may be made when adequate documentation is provided. The traveler is responsible for providing appropriate documentation showing the expense has been personally incurred. The traveler's department is responsible for verifying that the travel takes place and for obtaining a refund of the reimbursement from the traveler, if necessary.
Travel lodging that best meets the needs of the traveler and the University should be selected by the traveler. Travelers are responsible for selecting the most cost-effective lodging. A receipted, itemized statement is required for all lodging expenses. Summary statements provided by credit card companies will not be accepted as justification for reimbursement.
When two or more individuals share the same room, the total claimed for reimbursement must not exceed the total paid for the room.
Meals will be reimbursed on a per diem basis according to CONUS rates published by the General Services Administration for the travel destination and as follows:
- In-State: for overnight travel within the State of Missouri, meals will be reimbursed on a per diem basis according to the Standard rate established by CONUS,
- Out-of-State: domestic trips within the United States (other than Missouri) and the District of Columbia are based on the CONUS rate for the travel destination
- Foreign: For travel outside the fifty United States and the District of Columbia, reimbursement is allowed at a per diem rate prescribed by the U.S. Department of State.
- Meals on first and last days of overnight trip: The daily per diem amount to be reimbursed on trips with overnight travel will be determined by the number of hours in travel status for the day, as follows:
Hours in Travel Status
Less than 8 hours
At least 8 hours but less than 12 hours
50% of applicable per diem
12 hours or more
100% of applicable per diem
Excluded Meal Allowances
If meals are included in conference and hotel registrations, covered by other University payments, or paid by others, the traveler is responsible for making appropriate deductions to the per diem amount when submitting their reimbursement request.
Note: Individual meals that are reimbursable on Per Diem basis should not be charged on the OneCard.
Extended Work Day
An employee may qualify for an occasional meal allowance when traveling without an overnight stay, as a non-taxable de minimis fringe benefit, if the travel enables overtime work in excess of their normal work schedule. If this occurs, the employee may be eligible for a single meal allowance equal to one-half of the Standard CONUS rate published by the General Services Administration at the discretion of their department.
Reimbursements will be made for other expenses incurred for official business and necessary to carry out the purpose of the trip:
- Telephone/internet connection
- Miscellaneous Transportation & Related Expenses
- Registration or Other Meeting Expenses
Only expenses essential to the transaction of University business are reimbursable. Examples of expenses that are not reimbursable in most cases include hotel gyms, room service, mini-bars, movies, laundry, and vehicle fines.
Expenses Charged to Sponsored Gifts, Grants or Contracts
Reimbursement of expenses to be charged to sponsored gifts, grants or contracts made to the University for research, instruction, or other purposes must be in full compliance with the specific terms and instructions of the gift, grant or contract as well as this policy. In the event a gift, grant or contract specifically provides for special arrangements for accountability of travel expenses, this fact must be noted on the expense report.
It is permissible for departments and units to provide travel allowances that limit total reimbursement on a trip to a total maximum amount determined prior to travel. In these cases, the traveler should account for the individual travel components (e.g. lodging, per diem, mileage) in accordance with University policies, and reduce the overall reimbursement to the trip maximum by entering a single line "Expense Adjustment".
Non-Employees - individuals who are not employees of the University but they have an academic or contractual relationship. (i.e. suppliers, consultants, speakers, lecturers, visiting professors, and visiting students).
Tax Home – the entire city or general area where the main place of business or work is located, which is defined as a 50 mile radius.
Traveler or Delegate:
- Attests to accuracy and appropriateness of expenses in accordance with University travel policies.
- Reimburse any overpayment received
- Submit itemized receipts for reimbursement for all expenditures $75 or more and for all hotel expenditures regardless of amount. Travel expenditures incurred on a One Card require a receipt regardless of dollar amount.
- Review and approve the reimbursement request and all attached supporting documentation to verify that the expenses submitted for reimbursement adhere to University travel policies.
This policy was revised on 08/14/2023 to include guidance on travel for employees with approved telework arrangements.
Formerly Business Policy Manual 505 – Allowable Expenses (revised 9/20/2016)
An employee's telework status can be verified using the following resources and should be applied in the following order:
- Employee’s offer letter authorizing travel reimbursement
- Telework arrangement form
- Travel authorization approved by the employee’s supervisor requiring the travel as part of University business
- PeopleSoft HR for verification of employee’s home address
If the finance approver does not have access to the above resources, a copy can be requested from the employee and/or supervisor approving the travel.