Claimants have 90 days to submit their expense reports. e-Reimbursement must be used to seek reimbursement for travel-related expenses. Employees can be reimbursed for certain non-travel-related expenses provided the purchases comply with all other UW–Madison purchasing and accounting policies. e-Reimbursement must be used to reimburse non-employees for travel-related expenses. e-Reimbursement cannot be used to pay vendors directly.
- Accountable Plan. For travel reimbursements and payments to be considered non-taxable income, the university’s travel policies and operational standards must comply with the IRS Accountable Plan Rules. To be considered an “Accountable Plan,” an employer’s business expense reimbursement arrangement must meet the following conditions:
- Reimbursements and advances provided to travelers under the plan must be for business-related expenses only.
- Advance payments must be reconciled within 30 days of the end of the business trip.
- To be eligible for reimbursement:
- Travel-related expenses must be submitted with the required supporting documentation within 90 days from the end of the business trip.
- Non-travel-related expenses must be submitted with the required supporting documentation within 90 days of the date the expense was incurred.
- Tuition reimbursement must be submitted with the required supporting documentation within 90 days from the course end date.
- All reimbursement requests must be resubmitted within 90 days of being sent back for revision.
For extenuating circumstances, deans, divisional dean’s office directors, or divisional business office Leaders have the authority to grant exceptions for employees to allow for expense reimbursement, under the Accountable Plan, when the above requirements are not met. Extenuating circumstances for employees may be defined as a serious illness or another unforeseen emergency out of the control of the employee. Employee negligence is not considered an extenuating circumstance. All exceptions to the Accountable Plan granted to employees must meet the following requirements:
- Completion of an Accountable Plan Exception Request Form detailing the reason why the 90-day timeframe was not met and the dean’s, divisional dean’s office director’s, or divisional business office leader's approval.
- The completed Accountable Plan Exception Request Form must be electronically attached to the expense report at the time the report is submitted.
No exceptions will be granted for non-employees for either travel or non-travel-related expense reports submitted in excess of the 90-day requirements of the Accountable Plan. Instead, non-employee reimbursement requests submitted in excess of the 90-day requirements of the Accountable Plan must be submitted to Accounts Payable using a Payment to Individual Report (PIR) and charged to Account Code 2620 (Services-Professional).
Expense reimbursements not in compliance with the above accountable plan requirements will be reported as taxable income for the individual reimbursed.
- Documentation Requirements. All required supporting documentation must be attached electronically to the expense reimbursement. Electronic receipts must be clear and legible. Efforts should be made to scrub any sensitive information from receipts in order to comply with HIPAA and campus privacy notice.
Receipts are always required for:
- Currency processing/foreign transaction fees
- Fleet vehicle rentals
- Gasoline for vehicle rentals
- Hosted meals/events
- Internet for business use while in travel status
- Long-distance train or bus fares
- Vehicle rentals
- All non-travel expenses
Receipts are required when the expense exceeds $25 for:
- Local transportation (taxi, limo, bus, rail, etc.)
Receipts are required when the expense exceeds $30 for:
Receipts are never required for individual meals.
In addition to receipts, it may be necessary to retain other supporting documentation to support a reimbursement claim. The expense report and its attached documentation must provide enough information for an approver, auditor, or post-payment auditor to review the validity of the expenses without any follow-up. Examples of supplemental documentation that would be required include:
- A conference brochure or agenda which shows the dates of the conference, which meals were provided and which hotel(s) is/are listed as the “conference hotel(s).”
- Email correspondence or other documentation to support the circumstances surrounding an airfare cancel/change fee, if available.
- Claiming Own Expenses. Employees may not claim travel-related expenses for other travelers. Exceptions:
- Shared transportation expenses
- Undergraduate student travel where it would be inappropriate to request students to pay for their own travel expenses. Meals reimbursed under this exception are reimbursed as business meals, not individual meal per diems.
Expenses reimbursed under these exceptions must list the name(s) of other traveler(s) for which the employee is claiming expenses.
- Business Purpose. When using university funds or requesting a reimbursement from university funds, documentation of a clear business purpose is required so an approver, auditor, site manager, and/or post-payment auditor may reasonably conclude and agree the expenditure is an appropriate business expense. The business purpose, which is defined as one that supports or advances the goals, objectives, and mission of the university, adequately describes the expense as a necessary, reasonable, and appropriate business expense for the university. All expense reimbursements must include a university business purpose.
- Training. Approvers and auditors are required to take expense reimbursement training prior to reviewing expense reports. Expense Reimbursement Approver/Auditor – Beginner Level training can be found on the Office of Talent Management’s website under Business Services Topics.
- Direct-Report Expense Reports. Expense reports for individuals who report directly to the chancellor, provost, vice chancellor for finance and administration, or the vice chancellor for student affairs (e.g., deans, directors) must be routed through the appropriate office for final approval. It is the responsibility of the auditor to reassign these reports.
Failure to comply with this policy may result in disciplinary steps, up to and including dismissal.