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Rutgers University DCS Reimbursement and Policy Briefing

Table of Contents
Purpose for this briefing:
  • To clarify travel and reimbursement policies
-         in accordance with IRS/Rutgers regulations and guidelines
-         in expectation of audit
  • To improve reimbursement processing
-         minimize returns to local business office for rework
-         provide information and resources
Helpful hints for travelers:
-         Review the University Travel Policy Guidelines so that you are informed about whether an expense is allowable for reimbursement.
-         Obtain currency conversions for expenses incurred in foreign countries through the official currency converter used by the University.
-         Obtain the list of meal per diem options. 
  • Establish a personal system for saving original receipts, boarding passes and car rental contracts.
  • Block time on your calendar soon after your expected return date (so that you meet the 60 day deadline) to review receipts and meet with your Business Specialist to prepare expense report.
International air travel arrangements:
  • Federal Policy
-         The Fly America Act requires the use of a U.S. flag carrier, when available, for international travel on all federally sponsored awards.
-         If an air carrier that violates the Fly America Act must be used then a Fly America Act waiver (located in the Business Office) must be submitted along with your request for reimbursement.
-         Preferred air carriers in agreement with the Fly America Act are:
-American                    -US Airways                -Continental
-Delta                            -Northwest                  -United
-         For more information involving the Fly America Act, please visit:
Car rental arrangements:
  • The minimum liability insurance must be purchased for all domestic car rentals.
  • All insurance coverage must be taken with international car rentals.
Ground transportation arrangements:
  • Taxis are the most recommended mode of transportation and may be requested from the traveler’s home, or from their work site to the airport, bus, or train station. Receipts showing the amount and the date of service should be attached to the TABER for reimbursement.
Related Expenses (i.e. meals & phone calls):
General examples of comments that can should be  added to the Business Purpose section of the TABER to describe some expenses
  • Meals
-         with fellow employees: “dinner with (employee’s name) for employee morale or recognition”
-         with business associates: “lunch with (name of associate) to discuss possible business venture”
-         business meals: “meal expenses incurred while on trip”
  • Alcoholic Beverages are NOT allowed and must be subtracted from the receipt. For receipts from restaurants where alcohol is consume please write “Alcohol was not included with the meal” or “Alcohol expense was deducted from the total” 


  • Phone Calls and Internet service
-         personal: “to sustain reasonable contact with family”
-         business: “necessary for conducting research and business”
Travel and Business Expense Reimbursement:
All reimbursements must be:
Why are expense reports (TABERs) returned?
Most expense reports are returned to the local business office by the University Accounting office for basic policy violations.
·        Expenses were not properly documented
-         Business purpose was missing or not detailed
-         Receipts were missing and no Lost Receipt Form was submitted
-         Reimbursee’s signature was missing.
·              Expenses were unallowable under University policy
·        Expenses were submitted beyond 60 days and did not have Business Manager’s approval 
Reimbursement requests must be accompanied by receipts substantiating expenses,     including:
·        Original receipts for all expenses
·        All hotel receipts
-         Any personal charges on the hotel bill must be:
·        Crossed out
·        Subtracted from the total bill
·        Paid with personal funds by the individual
Federal documentation requirement
     All travelers using Federal funds are expected to document the purchase of the lowest cost airfares available for non-stop trips, using US Flag carriers when possible, and booking through any of Rutgers’ preferred travel agencies.
·        Use of Rutgers’ preferred travel agencies
-         satisfies Federal documentation requirements
·        Use of website or travel vendor outside of the Rutgers preferred travel program
-         documentation must be included demonstrating airfare was equal to or lower than the cost of the same trip booked through Rutgers’ preferred agents
What if receipts are lost?
·        If the original receipt is not available, the reimbursee must fill out a Lost Receipt Form must be completed.
-         If you have a meal receipt, it must be itemized. Otherwise a Lost Receipt   Form must be filled out and the reimburse must list what was included in the meal on the Lost Receipt Form or an attached paper.
·        The Lost Receipt Form is available on the DCS Business Office Website and on the RU Travel Website (
·        Both the reimburse and the approver must sign the Lost Receipt Form.
Use of the Lost Receipt Form should be the exception, not the norm when processing reimbursements.
Business Purpose
As required by the IRS, a reimbursement request MUST be accompanied by a valid business purpose that contains the following information:
  • Who incurred the expense
  • What the expense entailed
  • Why this is a Rutgers business expense
  • When the expense was incurred
  • Where the expense was incurred (for travel-related expenses)
  • Who else was involved (for entertainment related expenses such as dinners or socials)
Examples of Business Purpose
Unacceptable examples:
  • “Books”
  • “Photocopying”
  • ‘BH Purchase Supplies”
  • “Dinner”
Acceptable examples:
  • “Lab research books, Dr. Duffy, 5/20/07, for reference use”
  • “Photocopying for Dr. Hoyt’s Comp. Sci. 111 course, 6/10/07, DCS”
  • “Bill Hoyt, purchased office supplies for students enrolled in Literature course, 6/7/07”
Reimbursements must be submitted within 60 days from the date of the expenditure.
After 60 days:
  • Reimbursement requests require the written approval of the Business Manager and/or Department Chair.
Per Diems
-    a daily rate assigned by the government to a location for reimbursement of lodging, meals and incidental expenses
  • Per diems provided in advance of a trip are not allowed
  • Reimbursement for travel may be requested based on either:
-         actual expenses incurred, or
-         per diem rate
·        per diems are paid as a reimbursement in lieu of actual expenses
·        receipts are not required
·        Travelers may not request reimbursement of actual expenses for one portion of their trip and per diem for the remainder
·        IRS per diem regulations
-         Employees: must follow Federal daily allowance
-         Independent Contractors, Alumni, and Trustees: Not applicable
-         Non-Employee Researchers and Scholars: Not applicable