faculty and staff at graduation

Faculty and Staff: Finances and Purchasing

Finances and Purchasing

Travel and Business Expense Reimbursements 

Whenever possible, supplies, equipment, travel, and other needs related to your position at Rutgers should be ordered through our purchasing system by asking staff to create a purchase order. This will prevent you from having to pay out-of-pocket and needing reimbursement.  If you do need to make a purchase yourself, see the information below for the rules for reimbursements and processing.

All requests for reimbursement or out-of-pocket travel and business expenses must comply with the Rutgers University Travel & Business Expense policy. Please review the full policy and the travel information website.

Key information about reimbursements

Purchases/out-of-pocket expenses

The limit for incidental purchases is $500, with travel as an exception.  Anything over $500 should be ordered through the University’s purchasing system. The only exception is for a bona fide emergency.

Be aware that if you purchase and submit a TABER, you will not get reimbursed for the tax you pay, since a purchase made through Rutgers would not be charged tax.

Purchases of technology

When purchasing technology:  

  1. Consult with SC&I IT staff to assure that equipment you purchase for work purposes can be supported by SC&I.  This consultation should take place regardless of whether you ultimately purchase the equipment yourself and get reimbursed.
  2. Making the purchase through SC&I may benefit you because we can sometimes obtain a better price through our vendor relationships, and there is no tax involved.

Timeliness

It is important to submit your request for reimbursement within 60 days of your travel or expense. If for some reason you submit a TABER for expenses older than 60 days, there are extra approvals required in order for you to get reimbursed, and you risk not being approved.

Receipts and other documentation required

  • Original receipts are required.  With the online expense management system, you may scan the receipts, but you must keep originals for auditing purposes.
  • For air travel, please save and submit your boarding pass in addition to your purchase receipt.
  • For expenses of $50 or less (other than meals), you do not need to submit a receipt, but you must list them on the reimbursement request. Examples: taxis, road tolls. While not strictly required, it is always better to have a receipt to accurately document the expense.
  • For hotels, “The original receipted hotel, motel, or other bill must substantiate lodging expenses.  The bill must specify rate, date(s) of stay, and evidence of payment and must be attached to the TABER.”
  • When you are sharing expenses with another person, indicate the name of the individual and organization sharing the expenses. If it is a hotel room that is being shared, we are still required to ask for the name and organization of the individual.  We are not trying to violate your privacy - this is required by Rutgers.  In the case of shared expenses, a duplicate of the receipt is acceptable if the other person is submitting the original.  
  • If you have lost a receipt, you must try to obtain a duplicate. If this is not possible, you must fill out a Lost Receipt Certification Form and submit that with your TABER. 
  • For receipts in foreign languages, please provide a basic translation.
  • For receipts in foreign currencies, reimbursement can be made in U.S. dollars by either of two methods:
  • Amounts charged in dollars to your credit card statement:  you must provide the credit card statement in order to use this method, in addition to the original receipt.
  • Use the currency exchange rates. This site can provide currency exchange rates for a specified day or range of dates.  This information will need to be attached to your reimbursement request.
  • Conference registration fees: In addition to the receipt for conference fees, you must include a copy of the fee sheet detailing the conference itinerary (or brochure) in order to substantiate (a) the business purpose, (b) the time period of the trip, and (c) the amenities provided by the conference or meeting (for example, if the conference registration fee includes any meals).  You must also attach your name badge from the conference to document your attendance.

Meals

There are two acceptable methods of reimbursement for meals during travel: receipted meal reimbursements and per diem reimbursements. Note that you must select one method for your entire trip - you cannot mix per diem with receipted meal reimbursements for the same trip.

  • Itemized receipts for each meal: If you opt to submit itemized receipts, the cost cannot exceed $60 per day per person. 
  • Per diem – there are two options available:
  • $30 per day except for cities listed on the RU Travel website as $50 per day. 
  • IRS per diem rates. See the above link for the rate for specific locations. There are rates are for both domestic and foreign destinations.
  • PLEASE NOTE: These rates can be quite different. For example, Los Angeles and Washington D.C. are both listed in the $50 per day list, but the IRS rate for Los Angeles and Washington D.C. is $66 per day.
  • Prorating Per Diem Rates:
  • When you are traveling, depending on the time of day you depart and you return on your trip, you may have to prorate the amounts for meals on those days.  Your itinerary or receipt from travel tickets will show those times.   In general, of the daily meal rate, 20% is for breakfast, 20% is for lunch, and 60% is for dinner.  See page 7 of the travel policy (cited in the second paragraph on the first page) for specifics.
  • If you are attending a conference and one or more meals are provided as part of the conference registration, you will have to prorate your per diem for those days. For example, if breakfast OR lunch is provided, you would request only 80% of the per diem rate; if dinner is provided, you would request only 40% of the per diem rate. See page 6 of the travel policy for more details.

Travel via automobile

  • Mileage rate for use of your own automobile: As of January 1, 2016, the mileage rate is 54 cents per mile.  Attach a copy of a MapQuest page or other map to substantiate the amount of mileage being requested.
  • If you want to drive to a destination in which public transportation is available, you need to show that mileage reimbursement is cheaper than the cost of the flight would have been, or else you need other clear business justification for driving.
  • Car Rental: The university will reimburse for a rental car when there is a business justification, when there is no other means of comparable transportation, or when the overall cost of the rental is less than the cost of other means of transportation (e.g., car service or airfare).
  • Reimbursement for car rental is limited up to intermediate size classifications for individual travelers.
  • Attach the original receipt and the rental contract to your TABER.

Travel that includes both work and personal expenses

  • If a part of an expense is for work and a part is personal, please indicate on the receipt which expenses you are asking Rutgers to reimburse.
  • If you are traveling for work but will be adding time or a flight that is personal onto the trip, the university asks that you produce information about comparable expenses.  For example, if you are attending a conference from August 1 to August 3, but you book a flight that does not return until August 13 so you can travel personally after the conference ends, please print out comparable air fare to show that the two flights you are taking cost the same or less than the flight you would have taken if you just traveled for work.  

Ethics

In accordance with university policies, please do not ask for reimbursement on items such as: 

  • personal travel added onto a business trip 
  • travel for your family when they accompany you on business trips
  • travel or purchases whose business purpose cannot be substantiated with documentation

The university policy states that “Employees who improperly submit and approvers who improperly authorize the use of university funds are subject to disciplinary action.”

A Note About International Travel

Whenever you travel outside of the U.S., you should register with the University so you will be able to access emergency medical care if you need it.  Please complete the Faculty and Staff International Travel Registration Form. 

Processing your Reimbursement

As of 2016, Rutgers has a new expense management system which can be accessed online.  Reimbursements are made directly to an employee’s bank account, or are provided by check to non-employees.

Details about the system are on the Rutgers Cornerstone site.

You can download a mobile app to use while you are traveling to note your expenses and upload pictures of receipts, and then complete your reimbursement request with details when you are at a computer.