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Travel & Transportation

Travel, Entertainment, and Business-Related Expenses

This policy is intended to be used as a guide for college related travel, entertainment and business-related expenditures.  It supports our belief that all business related expenses for the College should be undertaken in the most economical way consistent with achieving the objectives of the College.  

The Internal Revenue Service has issued publication 463, Travel, Entertainment, Gift and Car Expenses.  In the regulations, the IRS states that ordinary and necessary business related expenses are deductible and reimbursable. The IRS defines ordinary as “common in your field of trade, business or profession”; and necessary as “helpful and appropriate for your business”. The IRS states that meals, hotels and entertainment expenses cannot be “lavish or extravagant”. Carleton reimburses employees for travel and entertainment expenses under "an accountable plan". The IRS defines an accountable plan as follows:

  • there must be a business reason for the expenses
  • the employee must substantiate the expenses
  • the employee must return to the employer any amount advanced in excess of the substantiated expenses on a timely basis

To be in compliance with the IRS, the College has prepared the following accountable travel and business expense plan. These guidelines apply to all business related expenditures made by College employees and faculty. Faculty travel funded by federal grants must also comply with federal travel regulations as outlined in their individual grant proposals.

Departments may choose to have employees complete a Travel Budgeting Tool to have an estimate of the travel expenses prior to the trip.  When traveling on behalf of the College please leave your itinerary and emergency contact information with your department chair or manager.

This is an evolving document. Updates will be made as regulatory (IRS) and industry standards change. Employees should review the Travel Policy at least annually to be sure that they are in compliance with the guidelines.

 

Travel and Reimbursement Payment Requests
The IRS requires that reimbursements must be processed within 60 days following the event or trip or they are subject to taxation. 

These policies apply to Carleton VISA transactions and items submitted for reimbursement on a Payment Request Form.

Reimbursements will be automatically deposited into your chosen bank account.

Travel Advance
A travel advance can be issued to a traveler by the Business Office if it has been approved by an authorized supervisor and is received at least one week in advance of the trip.  Advances are made to Carleton personnel only.  The IRS requires that advances must be cleared within 120 days or they are subject to taxation.

Business and Personal Travel
In instances where a traveler interrupts business travel for personal convenience, travels by an indirect route, or is accompanied by his/her spouse/companion not on College business, the traveler must maintain accurate records to substantiate official business travel.  You can edit the Use of Personal Vehicle Form which can be found on the Business Office website to help you document your travel decision.  The College does not reimburse any expenses incurred on behalf of the spouse/companion/children or for their personal travel.

Charter and/or Private Aircraft
For the safety of travelers, Carleton does not recommend flying on charter and/or private aircraft.  The College assumes no liability for death, personal injury, or property damage in connection with charter/private aircraft travel.

Group Travel
Travel by a group of employees in the same aircraft, automobile, or other mode of transportation is discouraged when the employees’ responsibilities are such that an accident could seriously affect the functioning of the College.  Key employees, such as the President, Vice Presidents, Deans or a substantial number of employees from the same department should consider this risk when making travel arrangements.

Spousal or Companion Travel
The payment for spouse traveling on business is closely regulated by the IRS.  The IRS requires a “bona fide business purpose” for the spouse to be on the business trip for the expenses to be reimbursable.  The business purpose must be clearly documented on all travel forms.  In the specific circumstance where non-business spousal travel is approved it will be treated as taxable income to the employee.

  1. AIR/RAIL TRANSPORTATION

    Domestic Air Travel
    The standard domestic or North American airline accommodation is coach class utilizing special fares on nonstop and connecting flights.  If you choose to use first class you will need to obtain documentation of coach fare vs. first class and pay for the difference with your personal funds.

    Travel reservations should be made as far in advance of the required departure date as possible to take advantage of discount airfares.  This usually requires booking 7 to 14 days in advance.  The more flexible your schedule, the easier it is for you to find the lowest fare. 

    Participation in frequent flyer programs is encouraged.  All incentives are for your benefit and use.  Air carrier selection cannot be biased by the traveler's frequent flyer affiliation.  The lowest cost air travel should take precedence.

    International Air Travel
    The standard accommodation on transoceanic flights is “lowest coach available fare.”  Airfare costs in excess of the lowest available commercial discount airfare are not allowable except when it causes undue hardship (i.e. physical limitations, scheduling challenges, etc.).  Allow adequate time to arrange the most cost effective airfare for your international destination.

    The College’s Travel Insurance carrier does not provide coverage in “war risk” countries.  Risk Management should be contacted to verify that the country in which you are traveling is afforded coverage.

    Airport Parking
    Carleton employees can take advantage of discounted parking rates with EZ Air. EZ Air has a minimum requirement of three parking stays per month to stay active in our
    corporate discount program.

    EZ Air Park Location & Directions
    Our corporate rate is $1.00 per day off our regular rate or currently $10.00 per 24 hour day and $60.00 per week (7th day is free). When our employees use the services, they only need to show the cashier upon checkout, their Carleton ID badge, or submit a business card or show some other proof of employment to get the discounted rate. Employees can take advantage of the EZ Air frequent parker program. They will stamp a card for each paid day of parking. Once the card is full with 10 stamps it can be turned in for a free day the next time they travel. Employees can use this discounted rate for business travel or for personal travel.

    EZ Air is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, including holidays. EZ Air suggests arriving about 20-25 minutes before you want to be at the airport. Shuttles run every 5-10 minutes and it is an 8-12 minute ride to the airport.

    EZ Air has a points program in which employees can enroll.  You receive 1 point for every day of parking at EZ Air and 10 points give you 1 free day of parking for your next use or parking at EZ Air.

  2. GROUND TRANSPORTATION

    CAR RENTAL

    Policy and Guidelines
    Authorized Carleton Drivers can rent cars if it is economical and a business necessity.  To determine if you are an authorized driver, please go to Collab/Departments/BUSO/BUSO-Shared/Campus/Authorized College Drivers.  Rental of 15 passenger vans is strictly prohibited.  Employees renting large vehicles holding 8-12 passengers must complete the large vehicle training by contacting the Risk Manager at 507-222-4178.

    Rentals should be limited to situations where other means of transportation are not practical, economical or available.  Travelers are encouraged to choose compact or mid sized cars whenever possible.  Travelers are highly encouraged to rent hybrid and fuel efficient vehicles when available and rental costs are similar to those of conventional vehicles.  All rentals should be at the Corporate Rate or the lowest possible rate per day.  When traveling in groups, sharing of cars is encouraged to reduce costs.  Exercise good judgment prior to renting an automobile.  At today’s rates, cabs may be more economical when traveling in cities. Collision damage or personal accident insurance should not be accepted for business travel rentals since the College carries insurance on hired autos; however, insurance should be accepted when traveling outside of the United States and Canada. Claims should be reported to the Risk Manager (507-222-4178) as soon as possible. When working with a travel agency, car reservations should be made at the same time your airline reservations are made.  Travelers booking their own rentals should book through the Enterprise link on the Transportation website.  This will tie them into the State of MN contract which includes insurance.  In the event “special rates” are available, they should be used when they are more economical than the negotiated rates.

    Cancellation
    Advise the car rental company or the travel agency if you decide to cancel a car reservation.  Automobile rental companies also appreciate it if you advise them in the event you plan to keep a car longer than you originally planned.  This allows them to keep a current status of their cars.

    Refueling
    Travelers should be aware that refueling fees often exceed the pump price of gas available in the community.  Travelers should refuel before returning the car to the agency.  Fuel costs associated with refueling a rental vehicle will be reimbursed based upon actual fuel purchased, not mileage.

    Rental Car Contracts
    The College recommends the State of Minnesota contract through Enterprise/National for rentals with contract pricing which includes insurance. Carleton's Transportation website link is tied to our contract pricing or you may call the local office at (507) 664-9944. When renting a vehicle for College business, it is important to familiarize yourself with the rental company’s accident reporting procedures. The accident procedures are often printed on the rental agreement. If you are involved in an accident with a rental vehicle, please adhere to the agency’s reporting requirements. If you are renting outside of the Enterprise/National Contract you should provide the name of the College’s insurance company, Citizens Insurance Company, and direct the owner of the other vehicle to the Carleton website http://apps.carleton.edu/campus/business/businessofficeforms/ for our certificate of insurance.  They may also contact the Risk Manager at (507) 222-4178 for additional assistance.

    College Vehicle
    College vehicles are available for business travel to authorized College drivers.  Requests for College vehicles should be arranged through Campus Services, contact x4443.

    College owned or leased vehicles are to be used for business use.  Employees may not use College vehicles for personal purposes.

    Carleton College maintains a limited number of fleet of shared vehicles that are available for use by pre-qualified drivers of the College conducting official Carleton College business.  Smoking is prohibited in Carleton College fleet vehicles. Pets are not allowed in College vehicles unless they are properly kenneled and restrained.  The use of Cell phones (including texting) is prohibited while driving College vehicles or while you are driving on College business.

    1. The driver of a College vehicle is responsible for the vehicle and its occupants. The driver should be familiar with the principles of safe and lawful operation of a motor vehicle and must obey all traffic laws. Failure to assume proper responsibility (safe and lawful operation) for the vehicle and its occupants will result in loss of driving privileges.
    2. College vehicles and rental vehicles being used for College business are to be driven only by “pre-qualified” Carleton College employees or students. To pre-qualify (faculty/staff): Complete a Motor Vehicle Report Release Waiver and submit it to the Risk Management Office. To pre-qualify (students): Complete a Student Driver Application form, apply for a certified copy of your driving record (obtained from your home State's Department of Motor Vehicles) and submit it to Campus Services, attend defensive driver training, and read the Fleet Vehicle Policies/Procedures notebook. Student drivers are required to provide a certified copy of their motor vehicle records (MVR). Students must renew their driving status in January of each year by submitting a current driving record.  Driver training sessions are held on campus at various times throughout the year.
    3. If an authorized driver is involved in a motor vehicle accident or receives a moving violation, he or she may be required to attend additional defensive driver training. Students may be asked to provide new MVRs upon a qualifying event such as receiving a moving violation ticket or being involved in an accident either in a personal vehicle or a College-owned vehicle. 
    4. The list of authorized faculty and staff drivers is maintained by the College's Risk Manager and may be found on Carleton's shared drive "Collab" , the student driver list is maintained by the Fleet Vehicle Manager.  Copies of both lists are kept in the Campus Services Office and may be referred to prior to checking out a vehicle key. Copies of the student list are distributed to several departments who authorize student travel and upon request.
    5. College vehicles are not to be used for personal business. All vehicle use will be charged with a per mile rate through the College’s budget system and a budget number must be supplied for each vehicle reservation.  Departments and groups will be charged a 100 mile assessment fee if they fail to pick up a reserved vehicle.
    6. The use of rooftop carriers or similar externally mounted storage containers on College-owned/leased passenger vehicles is prohibited. The College has one cargo mini-van, which can be used in place of trailers and/or rooftop carriers. Trailers containing a boat or other such apparatus that cannot easily fit in the cargo space may be towed using the cargo minivan. The College has purchased a utility trailer which may also be used behind a cargo van when more storage is required. Only authorized faculty and staff who have experience towing trailers are allowed to tow a trailer of any kind behind the College-owned vehicles. STUDENTS ARE PROHIBITED FROM USING A TRAILER OF ANY KIND. All drivers are encouraged to use the space in a cargo van in place of a trailer whenever possible.
    7. When there is a state-issued traveler advisory in effect due to a storm warning, no travel will be allowed. Keys will not be issued for reserved vehicles and everyone traveling in College vehicles should seek shelter until driving conditions improve and all traveler advisories have been lifted.
    8. Accidents that occur on campus property should be reported to Carleton Security immediately. Accidents that occur off campus property must be reported to the local police at the time of the accident and to Carleton Security immediately upon return to campus. If there are injuries or if the vehicle is not in “driveable” condition--either due to an accident or mechanical difficulties--contact Fleet Services at 507-222-4443 (Carleton Security at 507-222-4444 after hours) for assistance. Insurance information is kept in the glove compartment of each vehicle. The College will review all accidents involving College vehicles. Determination of future eligibility for drivers involved in accidents will be made on a case-by-case basis.  Refer to full College policy for Accident Procedures.
    9. Drivers are required to use a “lookout” person to help watch while the driver is backing up a vehicle. Whenever possible, the driver should ask a passenger to assist by getting out of the vehicle and watching until the vehicle has cleared any obstacles and is safe to proceed forward.
    10. Any parking or moving violation citations are the driver’s responsibility. The College will not pay any fines.
    11. Negligent or other damage costs not covered by insurance are the driver's responsibility.

    Insurance information is located in the glove compartment of all fleet vehicles.  If a fleet vehicle is damaged and cannot be driven, have the vehicle towed to the nearest dealership or repair facility and make alternative arrangements to return to campus or continue to your destination (taxi or rental vehicle).

    PERSONAL VEHICLES
    Employees are encouraged to use a College owned vehicle for business travel by auto.  It is important for employees to be aware that when using a personal car for Carleton business use, the employee’s personal car insurance carrier provides liability coverage. It is the obligation of the owner of a personal vehicle being used for College business to carry adequate insurance for his or her protection and for the protection of any passengers. In the event of an accident, the employee is responsible for his/her own auto insurance deductible.

    Travelers will be reimbursed for business usage of personal cars based on mileage.  The current reimbursement rate is listed on the Payment Request Form.  Attach a mileage log or Mapquest type mileage sheet to document the mileage.  The College mileage rate is updated annually each July, based on the then applicable IRS mileage reimbursement rate.

    Employees will not be reimbursed for the following, even if these costs are incurred during business travel:

    • Car repairs
    • Rental car costs during repair of personal car
    • Tickets, fines, or traffic violations

    Vehicle Accident Reporting Procedures
    For All Accidents:

    1. Pull out of the driving lane on to the shoulder and turn off the ignition.
    2. Activate the four-way flashers on the vehicle.
    3. Immediately contact the local police (911) to advise them of the accident and to get medical assistance if there are any injuries.  Fleet vehicles contain emergency items including a first-aid kit.
    4. Do not admit fault or give written statements.
    5. Exchange driver’s information listed on your certificate of insurance. At a minimum, write down:
    • Driver's name
    • Driver's license number and state
    • Phone number
    • Address
    • Insurance Company and policy number
    • License plate number
      • Be prepared to provide the following additional information when you return to campus:
        • Make, model and year of vehicle
        • Damage to vehicle
        • Injury to driver, if any
        • Date, time, road and weather conditions
        • Names and phone numbers of any passengers
        • Injuries to any passengers
        • Names and phone numbers of any witnesses
        • Copy of any photographs
      • When local police respond to the accident, request the investigating officer’s name, badge number, phone number, and report number.  Ask for an accident report form.  If the local police will not file a report (because damage is minimal and there are no injuries), ask them to make a note in their records that you called in the accident.

    Phone Numbers

    • 911 - Contact local police immediately.
    • 507-222-444 - Contact Security within 24 hours for fleet vechicles.
    • 507-222-4178 - Contact the Risk Manager/Business Office within 24 hours for rental vehicles.

    Forms

  3. OTHER

    Injuries
    Employees who suffer injury or illness by an accident arising out of and in the course of their employment, whether on or off campus, are provided medical care and other benefits under Worker’s Compensation.  If injured while on College business, travelers should contact Human Resources at (507) 222-4174 for guidance.

    Lost Items
    Lost baggage, clothing, or other personal items are the responsibility of the traveler. Recovery for such personal losses may be available through the employee’s homeowner’s insurance.

    Unused Tickets 
    Any ticket or portion of a ticket that is not used must be returned to the travel agency to appropriately credit the College.  If the traveler has already received payment for the ticket in advance of the trip, the traveler must provide reimbursement directly to the College.

    Travel Insurance
    Faculty and staff traveling on business, either domestically or abroad are covered by the College’s Insurance Policy.  This coverage applies only to trips on College business, not for a traveler’s personal travel.   The cost of any additional travel insurance is not reimbursable.

    Currency Exchange and ATM Fees
    The College will reimburse employees for currency exchange fees.  Employees are encouraged to pay for meals, hotels and other expenses on their Carleton Purchasing VISA Card as the cards often offer the safest and most economical exchange conversion. 

    The College discourages employees from carrying large amounts of cash while traveling.  In most cases, using an ATM machine will provide an appropriate rate and will reduce the amount of cash the employee has on his/her person.  ATM fees for cash withdrawals will be reimbursed.  Traveler’s checks are a good safe method of bringing money on a trip, although the fees involved with obtaining traveler’s checks can be high.

    Registration Fees
    Advance registration fees for seminars and conventions should be paid using your Carleton Purchasing VISA Card or paid directly by yourself and request reimbursement directly to you.  Original receipts or proof of payment are required for reimbursement.

    Telephone and Other Communication Charges
    Business
    – The College will pay charges for metropolitan and long-distance calls made outside a College office provided a hotel or telephone bill substantiates the calls.  The Internal Revenue Service requires documentation of the business purpose for all reimbursed phone calls.

    Cell Phones – A limited number of cell phones are available to take on a College business trip.  Please contact the Telecommunications Department for more details. Any use of a cell phone or other personal electronic devices is prohibited while driving or using other equipment or machinery such as forklifts, gators, golf carts, etc. Please have another person in the vehicle use the cell phone/device or pull over prior to using a cell phone.

    Employees operating any motor vehicle while working or in a company vehicle must always follow governing state, federal and local laws regarding the use of cell phones and other personal electronic equipment.

    Internet Charges – Internet phone charges while in travel status will be reimbursed if appropriate business purpose is documented.

    Citations / Arrests
    Drivers are responsible for payment of fines for all citations, including moving violations or parking tickets. All citations for moving violations must be reported to the Risk Manager at (507) 222-4178.

    If you are arrested at the scene of an accident (e.g., for drunk driving, reckless endangerment, etc.) you are responsible for any legal costs you may incur including attorney fees, bail, court costs, towing, impound fees, etc.  The College is not responsible for any unlawful acts of its employees or students, and will not defend or indemnify them for alleged wrongful acts involving the use of its vehicles or vehicles rented on college business.

  4. LODGING

    Lodging Expenses

    Travelers should use standard accommodations at reasonably priced mid-market hotels or motels. The College does not approve accommodations at up market or luxury hotels (Ritz, Four Seasons, etc.) However, an exception is made for a conference or workshop.

    Request the minimum rate available, educational discount or corporate rate, whichever is lower.  When the reservation is made, the only available room may be in a higher category.  Therefore, at check-in, you should always double check to insure you are getting the lowest rate. Original itemized hotel receipts are required for reimbursement.  The College has discounted pricing through the Wyndham Hotel Group which includes 15 hotel brands.

    Cancellations
    Hotel reservations are typically guaranteed for late arrivals, travelers are required to cancel these reservations in a timely manner to prevent no show charges.  If you need to cancel, be sure to note the hotel time, and get a cancellation number or the name of the person with whom you talked.  Except under extenuating circumstances, the College will not reimburse expenses due to a traveler’s failure to cancel guaranteed room reservations.

    Gratuities For Hosts
    When staying with a friend rather than in a hotel, a “meal or gift in lieu of” hotel costs is reimbursable.  The gift or meal should be reasonable and not exceed the cost of acceptable accommodations.  You must provide receipts for the expenses incurred.  Cash payments to a host are not allowed.  The gift/meal must be purchased and presented to the host during the trip.  Explanation of such items should be submitted with the Employee Reimbursement Form.

    Miscellaneous Hotel Expenses
    Miscellaneous expenses must be itemized and documented. Examples include:

    • Limited laundry and dry cleaning charges for trips of more than five days.
    • Tips to bellhops, maids, etc. should be totaled and listed separately on the Employee Reimbursement Form (no receipt required).
    • Business telephone calls

    Room Service
    The College discourages use of room service or the hotel mini-bar for meals due to the high mark up on these services.

  5. MEALS

    Meals for employees while away on College business or entertaining on College business will be reimbursed.  Entertainment Expenses are those expenses incurred while entertaining guests of the College and include events such as social and recreational activities, when a business discussion takes place immediately before, during or after the event.  Meal costs for business related participants will also be reimbursed.  The IRS requires that all requests for meal reimbursement must document the following information, most of the information is already printed on the receipt:

    • Who attended (self, if alone)
    • Business purpose of the meal
    • Cost
    • Where the meal was taken
    • The date

    Original itemized receipts must be submitted for any meal or entertainment expense regardless of cost

    Note:  In situations where a receipt is not readily available (i.e. international travel where meals are purchased at a market), you are asked to provide the information listed above.

    IRS regulations state that expenditure for meals cannot be lavish or extravagant.  The College does not reimburse on a “per diem basis”. However, the Meals and Incidental Expense rates for federal government employees provide a reasonable guide. 

    The Meals & Incidental Expense rates differ by travel location.  To view the rate for your primary destination to determine which M&IE rates apply go to  www.gsa.gov/mie.  For international travel destinations go to http://aoprals.state.gov/web920/per_diem.asp.  For example, the total Meals and Incidental Expense rate for the Northfield and Minneapolis-St. Paul area ranges from $46 to $71 per day.

    Meals provided in conjunction with seminars may not be claimed as part of the meal allowance. 

    If an employee is dining out with a travel companion, only the cost of the employee’s meal may be charged.  Shared items must be prorated.

    Gratuities
    Tips at the standard 15%-20% on meals are reimbursable.  Tips on the meal should be included as part of the cost of the meal on the Employee Reimbursement Form. 

    Alcohol
    The College will reimburse for one alcoholic beverage chosen as your beverage with a meal.  Alcoholic beverages consumed by travelers between or after mealtimes are not considered meals and are not reimbursable, except when they qualify as reasonable entertainment for college or professional business.

    The federal government has mandated that no alcohol may be charged as either a direct or indirect expense of federally sponsored projects.  This mandate means that under no circumstances should alcohol be charged directly to a federal grant or contract.

  6. NON-REIMBURSABLE EXPENSES

    • Dues for personal memberships
    • Travel insurance – the College provides an insurance policy that covers employees while traveling.  Employees should decline additional travel insurance.
    • Insurance on domestic rental cars – the College’s insurance provides coverage on employees for accidents involving rental vehicles.  Employees should decline additional travel insurance.
    • Lost baggage or purchase of baggage.
    • Extra baggage charges for personal items (i.e. golf clubs)
    • TV rental movies.
    • Alcoholic beverages, except for a single drink as the beverage with a meal.
    • Gasoline, if mileage reimbursement is used.  Mileage reimbursement must be used when using your personal vehicle.
    • Oil, insurance premiums, maintenance, towing charges and repair costs to personal vehicles.
    • Fines for vehicle violations (speeding or parking tickets, etc.) or for personal misconduct.
    • Spa or health club fees.
    • Dry cleaning or laundry service if you are staying for less than one week.
    • Costs for meals, travel or lodging for spouse or personal guests.
    • Costs of commuting between an individual's home and place of work.
    • Personal entertainment or excursions.
    • Personal phone calls.
    • Toiletries, medicine, magazines, etc. purchased while traveling.
    • Costs for child care, pet care or lawn/home maintenance.
    • Charitable or political contributions.

    Expenses that are of a personal nature, or expenses that would be incurred whether or not the employee was on College business, are not eligible for reimbursement. The College requires employees to document and request reimbursement for such expenses in accordance with the following guidelines and the regulations of the United States Internal Revenue Service. In addition, if federal grant funding is used, employees must adhere to all regulations as outlined in the grant.

Last revised August 26, 2013
Keywords: travel, transportation, lodging, rail, air, meals,non-reimbursable,car,hotel,vehicle,accident
Maintained by Business Office