Financial Affairs Policies

VIII-11.00(A)

UMB POLICY ON BUSINESS TRAVEL FOR UMB EMPLOYEES AND NONEMPLOYEES

Financial Affairs   |   Approved January 1, 2018


Responsible VP/AVP

Dawn M. Rhodes, MBA


Revision History

Signed December 14, 2017, effective January 1, 2018.


Purpose

  1. To further define and support the University System of Maryland travel policy.
  2. To allow the use of UMB funds to pay for authorized allowable business travel expenses.
  3. To establish requirements and payment guidelines for business travel expenses.
  4. To meet the Internal Revenue Code requirements for an accountable plan concerning payments for Business Travel expenses.
  5. To meet federal cost regulations under the Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards from the Office of Management and Budget (Uniform Guidance).

Policy Statement

In the course of UMB business, UMB Employees and Nonemployees (e.g. job applicants, lecturers, consultants, researchers, students, and other individuals) may travel on behalf of UMB.  Individuals may be reimbursed using UMB Funds for allowable expenses that are directly related to the business purpose of the trip, evidenced by receipts and/or other supporting documentation, and fall within the guidelines set forth in this Policy.

Types of Expenses

Business Travel expenses charged to UMB funds must be reasonable, necessary, allowable, and incurred to fulfill a bona fide business purpose of UMB.  The reasonableness of an expense depends upon many relevant factors, including the business purpose of the travel, the destination, and the duration of travel.  Allowable and unallowable expenses are listed in Financial Services Procedure (FS) – Business Travel.

Costs

Business Travel costs must be reasonable and economical for achieving the purpose of the trip.   Under extraordinary circumstances (e.g. health-related requirements, severe weather conditions), travel arrangements that result in higher costs may be allowable, and payments for costs normally disallowed may be approved. 

Individuals should ensure that all arrangements are reasonable and appropriate.   Whenever possible, individuals should make advance bookings and use discount rates available to UMB to obtain the last expensive logical fares and rates for expenses such as airfare, hotel, and transportation services. 

Payments

  1. Payments for Business Travel expenses must comply with IRS regulations and are subject to the guidelines, restrictions, and requirements described in this Policy and related FS Procedures on Business Travel.  Within these guidelines Business Travel expenses may be an allowable use of UMB Funds.
  2. UMB has established  procedures  to conform to the IRS Accountable Plan rules.  To qualify for payment, Business Travel expenses must satisfy the IRS requirements for deductible expenses and must be UMB allowable expenses. 
  3. UMB payments for lodging expenses are based on the standard room rate as evidenced on submitted receipts.  Federal per diem rates are used as guidelines to determine reasonableness.
  4. Meals are reimbursed using standard and high cost per diem rates established by federal agencies.  The maximum amount of expenses allowable for domestic travel meals is established by the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) and the maximum amount of expenses allowable for international travel meals is established by the U.S. Department of State.  Maximum rates are not entitlements. 
  5. Mileage driven is reimbursed using standard rates.  Mileage rates are established by the IRS
  6. UMB payments for other allowable travel expenses paid by an individual are based on actual costs paid as evidenced on submitted receipts.
  7. Insurance requirements are described in Financial Services Procedures on Business Travel.
  8. Operational Units have the authority to reduce or prohibit payments based on limited availability of funds, availability of lower cost alternatives, specific requirements of funding sources, or determinations that requests for payment include unreasonable expenses.
  9. Business Travel requests and travel expense payments must include sufficient documentation to support the purpose and cost of the trip.
  10. International travel must be registered with the UMB International Travel registry system prior to the start of travel.  Travelers must also provide current emergency contact information on the travel request.
  11. Travel expense advances are prohibited except for limited circumstances related to international travel.
  12. Business Travel funded by a sponsor must comply with the terms set forth in the sponsor’s grant or contract with UMB.  However, payments of Business Travel expenses cannot exceed the limits set forth in this Policy and related Procedures on Business Travel.

Approvals

  1. Appropriate approval of Business Travel is required prior to commencement of the Business Travel as described in Financial Services Procedures on Business Travel.
  2. Travel requests and payments must be approved by the traveler’s supervisor (for UMB Employee travelers) and by a person with fiscal authority for the funds used to pay for the travel (for all travelers) in accordance with UMB Policy VIII-14.00 (A) Policy on Approval, Payment and Reimbursement of Personal Business-Related Expenses of UMB Employees.  Students must also obtain approval to travel according to the academic policies (e.g. attendance) of the school in which the student is enrolled.
  3. Travel requests and travel expense payments funded by more than one Operational Unit or project must be approved by each fiscal administrator responsible for any of the funds to be used to pay the travel expenses.
  4. Operational Units have the right to reject all or part of payments at the discretion of the Operational Unit’s approvers.
  5. A travel expense payment is not considered fully approved until FS has approved it.

Applies to:

  1. UMB Employees and Nonemployees traveling on behalf of UMB
  2. UMB Employees and Authorized Affiliate Employees with travel or payment approval responsibilities

Definitions

Academic Travel – A trip undertaken by a student for academic study, research, or other UMB academic purposes.  Examples include field trips, study abroad, trips sponsored by student organizations, and trips funded by student fees. 

Authorized Affiliate Employee - Person employed by an entity that has a relationship with UMB authorized by the Board of Regents or by law, e.g., faculty practice plan organizations, University of Maryland Baltimore Foundation (UMBF) and other affiliated foundations, recognized incorporated alumni associations, recognized affiliated business entities, University of Maryland Medical System/University of Maryland Medical Center, and other University System of Maryland institutions.  An Authorized Affiliate Employee is responsible for the administration and reporting of UMB resources. 

Business Travel – A trip undertaken for UMB business purposes or UMB Employee work-related business.  Business travel includes travel of faculty and other UMB Employees who participate in academic travel as part of their job functions.  Business travel excludes an Employee’s regular commute between home and the workplace.

Employee – Includes (but is not limited to) all types (regular, contingent I and contingent II) and classes (faculty, staff, students, post-doctoral fellows) of individuals who receive compensation from UMB through the State of Maryland Central Payroll Bureau.

IRS Accountable Plan- A method for making payments to Employees, or on behalf of Employees, for business expenses that complies with IRS regulations.  If the IRS rules for an IRS Accountable Plan are followed, then payments made to Employees or to a third party on behalf of the Employee, are not required to be treated as taxable income.

Nonemployee – An individual who does not receive wages through the UMB payroll system.  Examples include job applicants, lecturers, consultants, researchers, and students.

Operational Unit – Schools, divisions, departments, etc.

UMB Funds – All funds administered by UMB, regardless of fund source.  UMB Funds include State-appropriated general funds, tuition, fees, other income, auxiliary funds, revolving/discretionary funds, Designated Research Initiative Funds, gifts, contract or grant revenues, and other restricted funds.

Roles and Responsibilities

Scope

This Policy applies to all UMB Business Travel transactions for day trips, overnight trips, in-state, out-of-state, and international travel.  Business Travel transactions include travel approvals and the authorization and payment of travel expenses for transportation, lodging, meals, and other expenses described in FS Procedures–Business Travel. 

Limitations:

  1. This Policy does not apply to business food/meal purchases.  See UMB Policy VIII-99.00 (A) – Food and Business Meals Expense.
  2. This Policy does not apply to payments to research study participants.  See UMB Policy VIII-99.00 (B) – Research Study Participant Payments.
  3. This Policy does not apply to travel expenses related to Employee relocations.  See UMB Policy VIII – 16.00 (A) – UMB Policy on Payment of Moving and Relocation Expenses.
  4. This Policy does not apply to student Academic Travel.
  5. Employees who are expatriates may be subject to the travel provisions in the University of Maryland School of Medicine Policy & Guidelines on Allowances and Benefits for Expatriates.
  6. UMB will not pay for Business Travel expenses that were not actually incurred.  For example, an individual may not seek reimbursement for the cost of plane fare if the cost was covered by frequent flyer miles.  Similarly, an individual may not seek reimbursement by per diem or by reimbursement claim for complimentary transportation, lodging, meals, or any other miscellaneous expenses paid by a third party (e.g., a host institution, another agency).

Exceptions/Request Process:

Exceptions to this Policy must be approved in writing by the Chief Business and Finance Officer (CBFO).   Requests must be submitted to the University Controller using the Policy or Procedure Exception Form available on the Financial Services website.  Requests must be signed by the Dean/Vice President or the Dean’s/Vice President’s designee. 

Responsibilities:

  1. FS, under the direction of the CBFO, is responsible for establishing procedures to promote compliance with this Policy and to adhere to proper taxation under IRS regulations.
  2. All Employees and Authorized Affiliate Employees involved in initiating, approving, or processing travel requests or travel expense payments are required to follow the rules set forth in the FS Procedures on Business Travel.
  3. Individuals who improperly authorize the use of UMB Funds or improperly submit travel expense payment claims may be subject to disciplinary action and may be referred for criminal investigation and possible prosecution. Travel expenses that are not in accordance with this Policy that have been charged to UMB Funds must be reimbursed to UMB from personal funds or by authorized transfer of funds held by an affiliated organization.  Funds not properly reimbursed may be recovered by UMB through any available, lawful means, including referral of debt to the State Central Collection Unit.

Downloads

See UMB Financial Services Procedure – Business Travel

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