TRAVEL SERVICES - Texas A&M Sponsored Research Services

Office of Sponsored Research Services
Learn what information is needed
to complete travel documents;
including supporting
documentation and receipt
Learn where to find information
regarding travel rules and
Which Travel Policy You Follow Depends On Your
Project / Account
Three guidelines:
OSRS Travel Policy
State Travel Policy (TexTravel)
Special Sponsor Guidelines
Travelers need to know prior to making travel arrangements
which of the three guidelines they are to follow for a trip.
Effective Dates
The new Travel Policy will be effective April 1, 2013 for
travel that commenced on, or after, April 1, 2013.
Also, effective June 1, 2013, all travel claims submitted for
reimbursement will be processed following the new Travel
Policy regardless of when the travel commenced.
Who does this policy apply to?
This policy applies to all travel which will be paid for employees,
students and others.
Any funds used for travel reimbursement must be
 Appropriately used,
 Properly authorized,
 For a documented business purpose,
 Substantiated by applicable receipts,
 Compliant with all applicable regulations and agreements
Responsibilities of State Employees
 State employees must ensure compliance with applicable state
laws, TexTravel, System policies, and the OSRS Travel Policy.
 Employees should not seek payment or reimbursement of a travel
expense that the employee knows, or should reasonably know, is
not reimbursable.
 Immediately reimburse the state for an overpayment.
Tex. Gov’t Code Ann § 660.029
Travel Requirements
 Prior to leaving on state business, a Pre-Trip Authorization
request is submitted, if required by department.
 The traveler must specify the purpose and benefit of the
official state business conducted at each duty point.
 The travel voucher must clearly define any
abbreviations/acronyms used to describe the official state
business conducted.
Travel Vouchers
Travel vouchers are prepared and submitted to OSRS on
a travel expense report form, unless your project requires
you to use CONCUR or EPIK.
Travelers will submit one voucher per trip for the same
business purpose, except when mileage is submitted on
a monthly basis.
The travel period cannot exceed a 30 day period.
Required Signatures – Non Concur
Travel vouchers must be signed by the traveler and
Principal Investigator or approved delegate.
On all accounts, changes to the amount of the
voucher must be approved by the Principal
Investigator or approved delegate on the account.
Required Signatures – Concur
Travel vouchers are automatically routed – no written
signatures are required.
On all accounts, changes to the amount of the
voucher must be routed back to the traveler for
Accurate Dates of Travel
Travel dates on vouchers need to be accurate and reflect
the entire time period the employee was away from
If personal days are taken while in travel status, they must
be noted on the voucher.
Lodging and Meal Rates
The traveler may use one of two methods for lodging and meal
expenses incurred in connection with official travel of more than one
day. The method selected must be used for the entire trip.
Method 1 – Actual Expenses with Receipts.
Method 2 – Actual Lodging Expenses and Actual Meals (Up to
Applicable GSA Rates). Receipts are required for lodging only.
Lodging and Meal Rates Con’t
Both methods use the applicable U.S. General Services
Administration (GSA) rate for the duty point.
If duty point city/county is not listed on GSA site, use the
“standard rate” for that state.
Use the GSA lodging location if lodging is not at the duty point.
GSA rates can be found at:
(Both Methods)
Itemized receipts for lodging are still required. The
receipt needs to include name and address of the
commercial lodging establishment, name of the traveler,
single room rate, daily itemization of charges, and proof
of payment.
The maximum amount that may be reimbursed is limited
to 150% of the applicable GSA lodging rate for the
What if my Lodging is More Than 150%
of my Applicable GSA Rate?
Requests to exceed 150% of the maximum lodging rates listed
must be supported by a written statement explaining the
circumstances that caused the existing rate to be inadequate and
will be subject to Fiscal Office or OSRS approval. Based on
Federal Travel Regulations, requests for hotel reimbursements of
more than 150% and up to 300% over the standard allowable rate
are unallowable except for the following:
 Lodging is at a prearranged place such as a hotel where a
meeting, conference or training session is held or;
 Costs have escalated because of special events; lodging within
prescribed allowances cannot be obtained nearby; cost to
commute to/from the nearby location exceed the cost savings
from occupying less expensive lodging.
Hotel Taxes – All Funds
In-State Lodging:
 Exempt from paying the State Hotel Occupancy Tax,
traveler must provide a tax exemption form to the
 Reimbursement of the State Hotel Occupancy Tax is
only allowed when traveler attempted to provide form,
but was denied by the hotel–in this case we must
report the activity to the Comptroller’s Office.
Out-of-State Lodging:
 Not exempt from paying any taxes.
How Many Days of Lodging
are Reimbursable?
Lodging expenses incurred the night before state business
begins and the night after state business ends are
Lodging expenses incurred more than one night before or
after state business begins or ends are generally not
Direct Bill for Hotel
 No personal charges allowed, including:
– Alcohol
– Additional night for personal reasons
 No Texas State Hotel Occupancy Tax-submit
exemption certificate form to hotel
 If meals charged, need detailed receipt and must be
within allowable rate for source of funds
Sharing Lodging Receipt Requirements
Each employee must claim their share of the lodging
expense. If the name on the lodging receipt is different,
the employee must provide proof that the expense was
incurred. The proof may be in the form of:
a credit card slip,
a credit card billing,
a canceled check, or
a receipt from the individual
Meal Reimbursements
Meal reimbursement includes the actual cost of reasonable and
necessary food, beverages, gratuities, taxes, and other incidental
Charges for alcoholic beverages must be deducted before submitting a
Meals are limited to ¾ of the GSA applicable rate on the first and last
day of travel.
There will be no reimbursement for meals without an overnight stay.
Method 1 - Actual Expenses:
With meal receipts, travelers may be reimbursed for actual meals and gratuities
up to 150% of the applicable GSA rate for the location. Gratuities must not
exceed 20% of the cost of the meal. Meal receipts must be attached to the
voucher for all days.
Method 2 - Actual Expenses up to the Applicable GSA rate:
Receipts do not have to be submitted. Reimbursements will be based on the
actual cost of meals capped at the applicable GSA rate for the location. This is
NOT a flat per diem. Claim must be for actual expenses and rate cap includes
incidentals such as gratuities to hotel workers.
Note: first and last day of travel have a lower GSA applicable rate for both
Meals on First and Last
Day of Travel
M&IE Total
Continental Breakfast/
First & Last Day of
Reimbursements for Mileage
Travelers who drive their own vehicles for in-state travel may be entitled to
mileage reimbursement. The reimbursement rate includes the gas price
estimate and wear-and-tear on the vehicle. The number of miles traveled
by an employee for state business may be determined by either:
Actual odometer readings with specific
point to point itemization.
Print out from Google Maps showing
mileage between the starting location and
ending location.
Mileage for traveling between the place of lodging and
the place of entertainment, visiting friends/family,
sightseeing, or shopping is not reimbursable.
On a scheduled work day, mileage will be calculated to
and from the traveler’s headquarters to the business
On a scheduled day off, mileage will be calculated to
and from the traveler’s residence or actual location,
whichever is less.
Mileage Rate
Mileage will be reimbursed at the rate set by the IRS for
business travel. Current rates can be found at
Rental of Motor Vehicles
Reimbursable costs include:
• Applicable taxes and similar mandatory charges.
• A charge for a collision damage waiver or a loss damage
waiver (the waiver is usually included in the contracted rate for
the rental).
• OSRS will reimburse car rental expenses up to a 4-door, full
size car. Traveler must provide justification for use of larger
size vehicle.
Charges for liability insurance supplements, personal accident insurance, safe trip
insurance, and personal effects insurance are not reimbursable.
Rental Vehicle Receipt Requirements
The final original itemized receipt issued by the rental
company must include the following:
 the name of the rental company,
 the name of the employee renting the vehicle,
 the starting and ending dates of the rental,
 an itemization of the expenses incurred, and
 proof of payment
Direct Bill for Rental Cars
If the rental car is direct billed, the following needs to be
 No personal travel
 No frequent flyer mile charges
 No personal insurance charges
 Detailed receipt required
Rental Car or Mileage Reimbursement
Requests for Out-of-State Travel
If a personal vehicle or a rental car is driven out of state (as
opposed to flying), a business reason is needed to explain
why a flight was not taken.
Attach advance airfare quote if reason is lower total cost.
Remember, OSRS must minimize the amount of travel
expenses reimbursed by ensuring that each travel
arrangement is the most cost-effective considering all
relevant circumstances.
The supporting documentation must list each day
the expense was incurred and the amount of the
expense incurred each day, as well as the
location(s) where the expense was incurred.
Receipts are required if over $75.
Airfare Ticket Receipt Requirements
Original and complete airline ticket receipt/passenger
receipt required - it needs to include the following level of
 the name of the employee and airline,
 the ticket number,
 the class of transportation,
 the travel dates,
 the amount of the airfare,
 the origin and destination of each flight, and
 proof of payment (passenger itinerary alone is
unacceptable; the receipt with proof of payment is
Air Travel
First/business class airfare may not be purchased
without additional documentation and must be charged
to a proper account.
Frequent flyer miles or discounts obtained during
official business may be used by the traveler for
private purposes, as long as no additional expense
was incurred to obtain them.
Checked Baggage Fees
A traveler can be reimbursed for the checked
baggage fee for one piece of luggage.
A second bag fee will only be reimbursed if a
specific business reason is stated on the voucher.
Overweight and oversize baggage fees will also
require a business reason to be reimbursable.
Receipts are required if the expense exceeds $75.
Allowable Miscellaneous Expenses (Receipts
required for single expense over $75)
 Fees for traveler’s checks/currency exchange
 Porterage, special transportation and tips for handling business
equipment and materials
 Postage for official mail
 Gasoline for rental cars
 Fees for money orders and/or certified checks
 Passport and/or visa fees
 Cost of photographs for passports and visa
 Foreign country exit fees
 Transaction fees for use of automated teller machines (ATMs)
Non-Allowable Miscellaneous Expenses
 Entertainment expenses and non-project related social activities
 Frequent flyer mileage fees
 Costs incurred by unreasonable failure to cancel transportation and
hotel reservations
 Fines for automobile violations including parking tickets
 Gasoline purchases for personal vehicles when claiming mileage
 Personal items purchased due to lost/delayed baggage
 Lost or stolen tickets, cash, or property
 Hotel movie rentals and airline headsets
 Health club fees
 Magazine, newspapers, and books unrelated to business
 Personal credit card delinquency fees or finance charges
 Office Supplies not related to the travel purpose of the trip
 Memberships
Incidental Expenses
Expenses such as tolls, taxis, subways, rental car gas, first
checked bag fee will not require a receipt unless a single
expense exceeds $75. Like before, itemization of the
expenses is still required.
Expenses incurred for laundry, cleaning and pressing of
clothing are reimbursable within the United States (including
Alaska, Hawaii, U.S. Territories, and Possessions).
However, the employee must incur a minimum of four (4)
consecutive nights at the place of lodging (on business
travel) to qualify. A receipt is required when the expense
exceeds $75.
Change Fee / Cancellation Charges
A state agency may pay or reimburse a state employee for a
cancellation charge if:
the charge is incurred for a reason related to state business; or
the charge incurred for a reason related to state business that
could not be conducted because of a natural disaster or
occurrence; or
the employee was unable to use the transportation, hotel, etc.
because of an illness or a personal emergency (sick leave
Combining State and Personal Business
If a traveler combines personal travel with official
state business travel, the reimbursement or payment of
transportation expenses may not exceed the sum of the
lowest available cost of transporting the employee from
Headquarters to the duty point and back.
Printed comparisons are required.
Any meal, lodging, car rental, etc. expenses that were
incurred on personal days cannot be reimbursed.
Conference Registration Fees
Payment of registration fees require the
 Full name of conference (no abbreviations allowed)
 Name of attendee
 Dates of conference
 If non-optional meals are included, voucher must state they
are non-optional.
Packaged Travel Arrangements
Voucher must separately state the cost of each
type of travel.
Each travel type is reimbursable only to the
extent it would have been reimbursable had it
not been included in a package.
Don’t forget to remove State of Texas Hotel
Occupancy Tax.
Foreign Travel
Foreign Travel
Foreign travel must be for the benefit of the State of Texas and
any personal benefit thereby accrued must be solely incidental
to the official purpose of the travel.
In general, foreign travel is defined as travel outside the United
States, U.S. territories and possessions, Canada and Mexico.
Sponsors differ in defining the term “foreign” so when traveling
on OSRS managed accounts, travelers should contact the
OSRS Project Administrator to be sure the contemplated travel
is correctly classified.
Foreign Travel - Applicable Lodging
and Meal Rates
For foreign travel location applicable rates, obtain
current rates from the State Department at
Either of the two methods allowed for domestic
lodging and meal reimbursement guidelines can be
used, using applicable rates as a maximum.
Foreign Travel - Receipts
Receipts submitted in a foreign currency must
be converted ( and the conversion
attached to the voucher. Or preferably, submit
the credit card statement showing the charges
instead of using Oanda.
Foreign Travel – Other Differences
Laundry and dry cleaning expenses are included in the
incidental calculations as part of the meal maximum for
travel outside the United States. Separate claims for these
expenses are not allowed.
When leasing vehicles in foreign countries, it is advisable
to purchase all available and reasonable levels of
insurance including Personal Accident Liability Insurance
(PAI). All other rental requirements are the same.
Fly America Act
Generally, if a traveler is traveling on funds provided by the
federal government, he/she must use a U.S. flag carrier (an
airline owned by an American company), regardless of cost
or convenience.
If you are scheduling international travel that is federally
funded (check with OSRS if you are not sure if your sponsor
is Federal), you must ensure that all flights, where possible,
are scheduled on U.S. flag carriers or on foreign air carriers
that code share with a U.S. flag carrier.
See OSRS Travel Policy for more details.
Travel to Washington, DC
If the trip to Washington, D.C., involves
activities to obtain or spend federal funds
or impacts federal policies:
 Office of State-Federal Relations (OSFR) and the
TAMU System must be notified at least 7 days prior to
departure date
 Complete OSFR form
Travel Advances
Advances are issued to employees in support of official
business for a very limited number of business activities.
 Employee/Student is not eligible for agency liability card
 Employee will be paying for all or some business related
expenses for a group of non-employees consisting of
two or more individuals (e.g. hotel expense)
 Destination is such that service providers (food, lodging,
auto rental, etc) do not honor agency liability cards
Travel Advances Process
If traveler meets one of the criteria, funds may be requested
for the reasonably estimated, ordinary and necessary
business costs that will be incurred.
Complete and sign the OSRS Travel Advance form unless
required to use CONCUR or EPIK.
Travel voucher must be prepared and submitted within 30
days of return from travel or cancellation of travel.
See OSRS Travel Policy for complete process.
Enforcement of IRS Rules
Past due travel advances must be treated as
additional compensation once they are 120 days
past the return of the trip.
This action will likely result in additional payroll
taxes and benefits being charged to both the
traveler and the department.
OSRS Contact Information
Diane McDonald (979) 845-8703
Akanksha Goyal (979) 847-8839
Amy McMann (979)845-8731
Kelley McDermott (979) 458-2189
Rhonda Nolan (979) 845-8719
Jeannette Salazar (979) 847-5842
Questions and Comments
Visit the OSRS website for
more information: