Travel Policy Update


Please take time to review the following notes and associated travel polices.  Travel related forms and instructions have also been updated.

The links to the Travel Policies and Forms is here: http://controller.appstate.edu/travel

Please do not hesitate to contact the Controller's Office at 828.262.2110 for guidence in advance of making travel arrangements or submitting requests for advances or reimbursements.

ADDITIONAL GUIDENCE FOR UPDATED TRAVEL POLICIES


510.1 Travel and Expense Reimbursement Policy

This policy formally adopts the State of North Carolina Travel Policies as written in OSBM’s Budget Manual.  The document referenced is an excerpt from the State Budget Manual.  It is in a PDF format with a Table of Contents and index.  It is also word searchable.  The link to these policies can be found in the policy itself or on the Controller’s Office web pages. (http://controller.appstate.edu/travel) Changes to the Budget Manual are made periodically directly or by memo from OSBM.  New versions of the Policies and any corresponding memo’s will be uploaded to the Controller’s web pages.  Avoid downloading policies to your hard drive so that you will not miss updates.

The Controller’s Office will review travel related transactions against the State Budget Manual in addition to ASU polices for situations that are not addressed in the budget manual, where the University has delegated authority, or where the University is providing interpretations (e.g. Blanket Authorizations – Budget Manual does not address, or 3rd Party Lodging – ASU has delegated authority).

 

510.2 Accountable Plan Defined

This policy outlines how the university treats travel reimbursements for the purposes of income tax reporting.  In general, the State of North Carolina requires that all advances and reimbursement requests be cleared and submitted within 30 days after the end of a travel period [or June 30th whichever is earlier (Applicable General Funds 1XXXXX)]. For General Funds 1XXXXX, the Controller’s Office and Budget Office may request that advances be cleared earlier than June 30 so that the University can close the fiscal year.   Under these rules clearing of travel advances or requests for reimbursement that fall outside of the time requirement may need to be treated differently for income tax purposes and may be disbursed through payroll after applicable taxes have been withheld.  As such it is extremely important to file requests and clear advances within the time limit. 

There is an exception for the time limit upon approval from a Vice Chancellor, and based on the facts and circumstances presented the advance or reimbursement may or may not be be subject to applicable tax withholdings. These situations will need to be evaluated for two main factors: (1) Would it be reasonable to reimburse the travel to meet the spirit of the law (2) If approved what will the tax consequences be for the employee?  The Controller’s Office would need to rely on IRS regulations and safe harbor requirements for determination.

The State Budget Manual states advances must be cleared within 30 days or June 30, whichever is earlier.  Our interpretation has been that this only applies to the General Fund since 1XXXXX funds are required to be closed at year end and are booked on a cash basis (advances create an accrual transaction).  Policy 510.2 states that “advances must be cleared within 30 days” and goes further to state “or June 30, whichever is earlier for General Funds).  This means that we can exclude the trust funds from the “or June 30” clause. The Controller discussed this with the Internal Audit Officer and determined this covered our trust funds to allow advances to be outstanding at the end of the fiscal year as long as they are settled within 30 days after the travel period ends.


510.3 Blanket Travel Authorizations

This policy has been updated and is reserved for employees who travel frequently (weekly or monthly for example) as a part of their primary job duties.  A new Blanket Authorization form for use starting with the 2016 – 2017 fiscal year has been released on the Controller’s Office web pages.  (http://controller.appstate.edu/travel)  Blanket Authorizations will need to be approved by an employee’s supervisor, Dean or Director, and the appropriate Vice Chancellor or their designee.  Once approved blanket authorizations will be reviewed by the Controller’s Office staff in the Business Affairs Annex on State Farm Road.

The review by the Controller’s Office will primarily be to see that the appropriate approvals have been obtained.  


510.4 3rd Party Lodging

These requests must be approved in advance for travel that requires lodging in an establishment that is not a traditional motel or hotel.  Examples include AirBnb arrangements, homes, condominiums, apartments, dormitories, hostels, Bed & Breakfast, and other similar establishments.  The Budget Office is no longer required to approve these requests.  Requests may be sent to the Business Affairs Annex on State Farm Road for review

The most significant change with policy is that the Budget Director and Controller will no longer be required to review these requests.  Only the General Accounting group will be required to review against the policy.  The Controller has delegated this review to General Accounting staff in the Travel and Complex Payments group.  More complicated requests may be elevated for review by the Controller and Budget Director.  After the fact requests should be approved by the appropriate Vice Chancellor or their designee.


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P.O. Box 32125
Boone, NC, 28608 USA
(828) 262-2110

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