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The policies on this webpage have been streamlined and reformatted, and are now available on the University Policies webpage. We ask that you use this new resource, as future changes, additions to or eliminations of these policies will only be made to the University Policies webpage, and policy manuals you may have used in the past will no longer be updated. 

BPM-505 Allowable Expenses

Revised September 20, 2016


Accountable Plan Rules

The University has an accountable plan that allows it to reimburse employees for authorized business expenses with no effect on compensation. Under this plan, the employee must:

  • Have incurred travel expenses while performing services for the University,
  • Properly account for the expenses within 60 days of being paid or incurred,
  • Return any excess reimbursement or allowance within a reasonable period of time. A reasonable period of time is defined as within 120 days after the expense is paid or incurred.

For expenses reported more than 60 days after being paid or incurred, documentation of the reason for the delay must be provided. Reimbursement will be subject to the availability of funds, and the department responsible for funding will have the discretion of denying the reimbursement. If reimbursement is made it will be added to the employee's taxable compensation.

If another entity reimburses a portion of the expenses, reimbursement from that entity should be requested first when allowed by the other entity. The reimbursement of the University's portion will not be taxable if documentation is provided showing:

  • The request to the other entity was made within 60 days of being paid or incurred and;
  • The request to the University for its portion of the expenses is made within 60 days of the date the balance due from the University is known.

When travel advances have been made, failure to comply with the above stated rules may result in any excess cash payments being deducted from payroll earnings.

Advance reimbursement of travel expenses charged to personal credit cards

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 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.

Documentation of travel expenses paid directly by the University

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. If the payment is made by voucher or the University One Card, documentation should be recorded on the voucher.  Airfare paid by the University should be documented and maintained in the home department. To comply with accountable plan rules, documentation should include the amount, date, place and business purpose.


Reimbursement of expenses for non-employees is made (suppliers, consultants, speakers, lecturers, visiting professors, and visiting students) when the travel is necessary and of benefit to the University, and is limited to expenses allowable per the University's policies.


Expenses incurred by a spouse, dependent or personal guest are not reimbursable expenses, unless there is documented pre-approval by the President, Chancellor, Provost, or Chief Financial Officer and the expenses are for legitimate University business.  Such expenses are not allowed to be paid by the University in advance or on behalf of the individual, including expenses directly charged to the University One card or direct billing to the University.  The following principles shall be considered when approving:

  • The expenses must be reasonable, allowable, and allocable under governing laws, regulations, and University policy,
  • The purpose for the expenses must directly support the University’s mission of teaching, research, outreach and economic development (including fundraising);
  • The spouse, dependent or personal guest’s presence serves a bona fide University business purpose.

Under IRS regulations, the travel expenses of a spouse, dependent or personal guest are not taxable, provided it can be established that his or her presence serves a bona fide business purpose. A spouse, dependent or personal guest who attends a function is considered to have a business purpose if his or her presence is required to achieve the purpose of the travel, or if he or she has a significant role in the proceedings, which makes an important contribution to the success of an event. Protocol and tradition may dictate when the participation of a high-level official's spouse, dependent or personal guest is required at official University functions, such as alumni gatherings, fund-raising or ceremonial activities, certain athletic events, and community events.

Documentation must be provided with the travel expense reimbursement to show that the spouse, dependent or personal guest’s attendance at the function meets the above conditions (e.g., an event or meeting agenda listing the name of the spouse, dependent, or personal guest, or an invitation addressed directly by name to the spouse, dependent, or personal guest requesting participation in the meeting or event).

If a spouse, dependent or personal guest has no significant role in the proceedings, or performs only incidental duties of a social or clerical nature, attendance does not constitute a bona fide business purpose. Such expenses will not be reimbursed under this policy.

The employee is responsible for reporting spousal travel as required by Missouri Senate Bill 997.  Missouri Senate Bill 997 requires the spouse of any full-time employee of a public institution of higher education to file a quarterly travel report with the Missouri Ethics Commission, as described in the act, if he or she incurs out-of-state travel costs that are paid or reimbursed by his or her spouse's institution.


Reasonable and necessary amounts are allowed for lodging. When two or more individuals share the same room, the total claimed for reimbursement must not exceed the total paid for the room.

A receipted, itemized statement furnished by the hotel or motel is required for all lodging expenses. Summary statements provided by credit card companies will not be accepted as justification for reimbursement.


Meal Allowances - In-State

For overnight travel within the State of Missouri, meals will be reimbursed on a per diem basis according to the Standard CONUS rate published by the General Services Administration.

Meal Allowances Domestic Trips – Outside the State of Missouri

For overnight travel within the United States (other than Missouri) and the District of Columbia, meals will be reimbursed on a per diem basis according to CONUS rates published by the General Services Administration for the travel destination. 

This information can be accessed online at:


Foreign Meal Allowance

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.

This information can be accessed online at:


Meal Allowances on First & 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 Eligible Amount

Less than 8 hours

not eligible

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 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.

Business Meals

University business meal policies are contained in the UM Business Policy Manual:

REFERENCE: BPM 219 - Travel and Other Business Expenses

Meal Allowance When Travel Extends the Employee's 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 causes an employee to 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 under the following circumstances:

  • Telephone/internet connection - Expenses incurred for official business.
  • Miscellaneous Transportation & Related Expenses - When necessary to carry out purpose of trip.
  • Registration or Other Meeting Expenses - When necessary to carry out purpose of trip.


Only expenses essential to the transaction of University business are reimbursable. Examples of expenses that are not reimbursable in most cases include hotel gyms, mini-bars, movies, laundry, and vehicle fines.


University policies on other business expenses are contained in the UM Business Policy Manual.

REFERENCE: BPM 219 – Travel and Other Business Expenses


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".


With submission of all requests for reimbursement of employee travel expenses, the employee attests to appropriateness of expenses in accordance with University travel policies. The expense report is routed to an employee's fiscal approver for verification and approval that all expenses submitted for reimbursement adhere to University travel policies. In no case should an employee approve his or her own form. Itemized receipts are required to be attached to the expense report for all expenditures $75 or more and for all hotel expenditures regardless of amount. No receipts should be submitted or maintained for expenditures less than $75 except for hotel receipts.


All divisions or departments must adhere to the travel reimbursement policies contained herein and in other sections of the UM Business Policy Manual and may not establish lower limits, additional requirements, or more restrictive policies unless required by an outside entity.