General Reimbursement Guidelines

The University will reimburse individuals for necessary and reasonable travel and non-travel expenses incurred in the conduct of official University business. The person who authorizes reimbursement is responsible for verifying that expenses are, in fact, necessary and reasonable (following the IRS Pub. 463 guidelines for an accountable plan p463.pdf). He or she is also responsible for confirming the availability of funding sources that support the expenses and that appropriate documentation is provided. Requests for reimbursement are expected within a reasonable time frame, generally 10 business days of incurring the expense or returning from a trip.

Accountable Plan
Reimbursement for travel and non-travel expenses must comply with IRS reporting and documentation requirements for an “Accountable Plan". The following Accountable Plan requirements must be satisfied:

  • Business Connection - The plan can provide reimbursements or allowances only for otherwise deductible business expenses (such as travel, lodging or meals occurred on business) that are paid or incurred by individuals in connection with their performance of services as employees for the employer.

  • Substantiation - The plan must require substantiation of the expenses being reimbursed through use of an expense log/ trip sheets and attachment of original receipts. The purpose of this record is to identify the specific nature of each expense and to allow the employer to conclude that the expense is attributable to its business activities. This documentary evidence should substantiate the business purpose of the expense including: the exact amount, date, time and location of any travel, meals  or entertainment, the names, titles of individuals present and the specific University business discussed.

Please see substantiation requirements bellow for meals and entertainment as presented in IRS Pub. 463 Table 2.01 (When Are Entertainment Expenses Deductible?)

General rule

You can deduct ordinary and necessary expenses to entertain a client, customer, or employee if the expenses meet the directly-related test or the associated test


  • Entertainment includes any activity generally considered to provided entertainment, amusement, or recreation, and includes meals provided to a customer or client.
  • An ordinary expense is one that is common and accepted in your trade of business.
  • A necessary expense is one that is helpful and appropriate.

Tests to be met

Directly-related test

  • Entertainment took place in a clear business setting or
  • Main purpose of entertainment was active conduct of business, and

You did engage in business with the person during the entertainment period, and

You had more than a general expectation of getting income or some other specific business benefit.

Associated test

  • Entertainment is associated with your trade or business and
  • Entertainment is directly before or after substantial business discussion.


  • Return of Excess Advances - The plan must require employees to return any advances that exceed substantiated business expenses within a reasonable period of time, generally 10 business days. Any excess not actually returned, will be treated by the University as compensation to the employee and is subject to income and payroll tax withholding like any other compensation.

  • Authorization - The individual at the department authorized to approve for the account being charged approves all travel and non-travel business expense reimbursement requests within dollar limits as outlined on the Signature Authorization Limits page. Employees may not approve expense reimbursements for themselves. No matter who fills out and approves the form, the requisitioner is responsible for its preparation, accuracy and compliance with University policy (or grant or contract terms). Proof of travel is required for reimbursement.