[Major revision–posted 2/21/14 (replaces 11/14/05 edition)]
Operating Policy and Procedure
OP 79.07: Travel Advances
DATE: February 21, 2014
PURPOSE: The purpose of this Operating Policy/Procedure (OP) is to set forth the guidelines for the issuance of travel advance funds that may be used to cover a portion of official pre-travel and travel expenses.
REVIEW: This OP will be reviewed in November of odd-numbered years by the Manager of Travel Services with substantive revisions forwarded through the Managing Director of Procurement Services to the Vice President for Administration and Finance and Chief Financial Officer.
1. Use of a Travel Advance (TA)
a. The university may advance funds for travel expenses to a university employee or student only if the expenses are incurred during travel that requires an overnight stay outside the employee's designated headquarters.
b. The university will not issue a TA to:
(1) A person who is not an employee or student of the university; or
(2) A person who has an outstanding travel advance from a previous trip;
(3) A person who is on hold in the State Comptroller's Texas Payee Information System (TPIS). (Note: Possible reasons an employee may be on hold include being in default on a student loan, indebted to the state or a state agency, delinquent on state tax, not paying child support, or owing a reimbursement for unemployment taxes.)
(4) An employee whose travel expenses will be reimbursed directly to the employee by someone other than the university.
c. Travel advances are allowed for prepaid expenses (airfare, registration fees, hotel deposits, etc.). The advance is approved upon receipt of the travel application and proof of payment of the prepaid expense.
d. Advances for non-prepaid expenses may be requested. If approved, the TA will be approved five working days prior to departure. Travel advances for non-prepaid expenses are restricted as follows:
(1) Airfare cost may be advanced with a copy of the itinerary showing the cost of the airline ticket;
(2) Up to 90 percent of the lodging costs may be advanced for the locale per diem unless staying at a conference hotel. Hotel taxes may be included but may not exceed 9 percent for travel within Texas or 15 percent for travel outside of Texas;
(3) Up to 90 percent of the meal costs may be advanced for the locale per diem rate;
(4) Up to 90 percent of mileage for travel in a personal vehicle for the shortest distance with point-to-point itemization and the current reimbursement rate; and
(5) A maximum of $100 may be advanced for taxis, shuttles, gasoline, etc.
e. Advances are not provided for:
(1) Rental cars – These can be paid for with a credit card or through TechBuy with a purchase order;
(2) Parking costs; or
(3) Mileage to and from the airport.
2. Reimbursement of Travel Advances
a. The traveler must submit a travel voucher to Travel Services within 15 days after returning to headquarters. Failure to process the voucher within the 15-day period will result in the suspension of any further advances for that traveler until the delinquent advance has been cleared. Repeated delays in clearing delinquent advances may result in suspension of all future advances.
b. If the travel voucher is not sufficient to cover the amount of the advance, the employee should attach a check or money order for the difference. Vouchers without required checks will be held without processing until the check is submitted.
c. If the travel voucher exceeds the amount of the advance, a reimbursement check will be issued to the traveler for the difference.
d. Students who obtain advances for their travel expenses and are delinquent in the reimbursement will have a hold put on their student account through the Registrar's office. The hold will not allow the student to register for classes or obtain a transcript until the reimbursement is paid.
e. Under Internal Revenue Service regulations, any travel voucher not received by Travel Services (voucher and paperwork received) within 60 days of the trip end date will be taxable to the traveler. The taxable expense will be reported to Payroll Services for processing.
3. Special Restrictions/Provisions
a. Travel advances for non-prepaid expenses may be picked up no earlier than two working days prior to departure. Exceptions are allowed for advance deposits for hotel. Other exceptions may be requested by contacting Travel Services.
b. If the travel advance is to be picked up by someone other than the traveler, the person will be required to present a note or memo signed by the traveler authorizing the person to sign and receive the travel advance check.
See the Online Travel Training Guide for Applications and Vouchers for instructions on requesting a travel advance through the online travel application.
The Managing Director of Procurement Services and/or the Manager of Travel Services has the authority to make any exceptions to this policy that in his/her determination are essential for the continued operations of the university and do not violate any federal or state laws.
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