Travel Policies and Procedures
PURCHASE COLLEGE – SUNY
(Revised August 2018)
Prior to travel, the employee must complete the Travel Authorization Form for the trip and submit the form to their department supervisor for approval.
The Office of the New York State Comptroller sets the rules and regulations for reimbursement of travel expenses. These rules and regulations are stated in their Travel Manual, accessible at http://www.osc.state.ny.us/agencies/travel/travel.htm
Only actual, necessary and reasonable expenses are eligible for reimbursement.
The official station is the employee’s usual work location, i.e., Purchase College.
Employees are in travel status when they are more than 35 miles from both their official station and their home. Employees must be in travel status to be eligible for lodging and/or meal reimbursement.
When an employee is assigned to work at an alternate work location which is less than 35 miles from either his or her home or his or her official station, the employee is not considered to be in travel status, but rather is considered to be traveling in the proximity of his or her official station. When traveling in the proximity of home or official station, an employee using a personal vehicle is, as outlined below, entitled to reimbursement of transportation expenses associated with travel:
- from home to an alternate work location.
- between the official station and an alternate work location.
- between alternate work locations.
- from an alternate work location to the employee’s home.
When travel is from an employee’s home to an alternate work location, or from an alternate work location to home, at a minimum, transportation expenses must be reimbursed using the lesser of 1) mileage between the employee’s home and the alternate work location or 2) mileage between the employee’s official station and the alternate work location, multiplied by the IRS mileage reimbursement rate.
Method of Travel
The method of travel used by the employee should be the most economical method that is in the best interests of the State of New York:
- Car – NYS campus vehicle
- Car – personal
- Car – rental: See section C-12, Rental Vehicles
The factors to keep in mind in determining method of travel:
- Travel time
- Number of travelers
- Number of locations to be visited
Timely Submittal of Travel Vouchers for Reimbursement (Employee Report of Travel Expenses)
Travel vouchers for reimbursement of after the fact employee travel expenses (See Section C-13, Employee Report of Travel Expenses and Claim for Payment) should be submitted in a timely manner. Travel vouchers should be submitted no later than 60 days after return from a trip.
The following website offers a listing of hotels worldwide at the NY state per diem rate: www.fedrooms.com . (The employee should be sure to check the ‘state employee’ box after key entering the city and state)
On occasion, the employee may be unable to find a hotel at a rate that does not exceed the maximum federal lodging per diem rate for the location of travel. If that occurs, the employee must travelers must obtain prior approval by completing the “Over the Max Travel Request PDF form” and submitting it to their supervisor for approval to exceed the federal lodging per diem rate.
Un-receipted or Receipted There are two options for employee reimbursement of overnight travel expenses. The choice is up to each employee:
The current rates are: Location
Method 1- Un-receipted Per Diem Rate
New York City and Nassau, Suffolk, Rockland and Westchester Counties
Cities of Albany, Binghamton, Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse and their respective surrounding metropolitan areas
All other locations in New York State
Out of State (this includes any out of state tax on lodging)
1) Method 1 – Un-receipted
With this method, no receipts are required. One flat rate covers ALL expenses – meals, lodging and incidental expenses. This could be an option if the employee lodges at the home of a relative or friend. The amount of reimbursement is dependent upon the travel location.
Travelers using this un-receipted method are also eligible for an additional $5.00 for breakfast on the day of departure if they have to leave at least one hour before their normal work start time. They are also eligible for an additional $12.00 for dinner on the day of return if they return at least two hours later than their normal work ending time.
2) Method 2 – Receipted
Lodging (overnight travel, receipted)
With Method 2, actual lodging costs are reimbursed up to a maximum predetermined limit, .ie., the federal per diem rates. These per diem limits are dependent upon the travel location, and are set forth in a detailed chart. (See below #8. Per Diem Rates)
Hotel Tax Exemption. For travel lodging in New York State, the hotel tax exempt form must be used: https://www.tax.ny.gov/pdf/current_forms/st/st129_fill_in.pdf. New York State sales tax paid will not be reimbursed to the employee.
Meals (during overnight travel)
The employee is permitted a meal allowance, also based upon the travel location. When the employee submits a lodging receipt, a meal receipt is not required.
Meal allowances for NYS reimbursement cover only breakfast and dinner.
Per Diem Rates - for Method 2 (overnight, receipted travel):
- For current rates, see: http://www.gsa.gov/Portal/gsa/ep/contentView.do?contentType=GSA_BASIC&contentId=17943. Next click on Excel link “Per Diem Rates All in One File” tab on the lower right of the screen. The spreadsheet shows the current rates for lodging (hotel) and meals and incidentals.
- The per diem rates are updated annually every October.
- The per diem rates are dependent upon the travel location and are listed by state and city/county.
Day Trip Travel
Travelers may be reimbursed for breakfast and/or dinner for day trips based on departure and return times. Travelers are entitled to reimbursement for breakfast if they have to leave at least one hour before their normal work start time, and/or for dinner if they return at least two hours later than their normal work ending time.
Day trip meals are reimbursable if the traveler:
- Breakfast - leaves at least one hour before normal starting time.
- Dinner - ends at least two hours after normal ending time.
Day trip meals with No Receipts:
Breakfast $5.00, Dinner $12.00
Day trip meals with Receipts:
The federal per diem meal rates for an area apply. (See above #8 Per Diem Rates)
Day Trip meals are reported as income to the IRS. The employee will see this reflected on his/her pay stub.
- Mileage is reimbursable only when the employee uses his/her personal vehicle for official business travel.
- The mileage rate reimbursable for employee use of his/her personal vehicle is the same as the IRS rate. As of January 1, 2018 the rate is $.545 per mile for cars/vans/pickups.
Please see the website http://www.osc.state.ny.us/agencies/guide/MyWebHelp/Content/XIII/4/C.htm for previous year mileage reimbursement rates.
Employees should first inquire about the availability of a state vehicle before considering use of a personal vehicle or rental.
(When considering using a personal vehicle, employees must first complete the “Personal Car at Rental Rate Calculator” located at https://www.ogs.ny.gov/BU/SS/Trav/Calculators.asp. to ensure that the most economic method is used.)
To calculate the amount reimbursable to employee: Mileage reimbursement rate multiplied by the number of miles traveled.
Tolls (if applicable) are also reimbursable to the employee.
Gasoline is NOT reimbursable when an employee uses his/her own vehicle and is reimbursed for mileage.
- See the NYS/OGS contract for rental vehicles at https://www.ogs.ny.gov/purchase/snt/awardnotes/7200122273ContractorInfo.pdf or call the Purchasing and Accounts Payable Office for assistance.
- Ultimate potential cost to the College: rental rate cost per day multiplied by the number of days traveled + gasoline.
- Gasoline is reimbursable with a valid receipt. Mileage is not reimbursable with rental vehicles.
Personal Vehicle versus Rental Vehicle
To use the most cost effective method of travel when a State/Campus vehicle is unavailable, the employee must compare the cost of using his/her personal vehicle versus the cost of renting a vehicle:
- Personal Vehicle cost = mileage reimbursement rate X number of miles to travel.
- Rental Vehicle cost = rental rate cost per day X number of days traveling + gasoline
- Estimated gasoline = miles to travel / vehicle fuel economy miles per gallon X cost per gallon of gasoline
To calculate which method is less expensive, use the “Personal Car or Rental Rate Calculator” located at https://www.ogs.ny.gov/BU/SS/Trav/Calculators.asp. Once there click on either the Enterprise or Hertz calculator. For assistance, call the Purchasing & Accounts Payable Office at x6070.
Travelers must provide receipts with expense reports in accordance with the chart below. Agencies have the discretion to, on occasion, allow reimbursement of a business related travel expense if a receipt is misplaced or illegible, and there is no reason to question the legitimacy of the expense. Also, Agencies may reimburse expenses for which receipts are not customarily provided (e.g., coin parking meters).
Charge on the State Travel Card
Transportation by Common Carrier (e.g. train, bus, airplane, subway)
Ticket stub if purchase price is printed on the stub; receipt and ticket stub if purchase price is not printed on the stub
Receipt showing return time
Tolls - EZ Pass
EZ pass statement with applicable charges indicated
Tolls - Cash
Day Trip Meals - Receipted
Hotels - Receipted
Miscellaneous and Incidental Expenses
Travelers are allowed lodging and meals for weekends when their agency deems it necessary for them to be in travel status. An additional reimbursement over and above the per diems may be allowed in accordance with the traveler’s bargaining agreement if the traveler is 300 miles or more away from home and official station. This could occur when the agency has a business need for an employee to remain in travel status over a weekend, or when it is more economical for the State to have the employee remain in the location (e.g., where the round trip airfare exceeds the cost of meals and lodging over the weekend).
TRAVEL ARRANGEMENTS USING NYS TRAVEL CARD
Employees traveling on official College business may will have all expenses paid using the College’s NYS Visa Travel Card, which is billed directly to the College. All other incidentals such as: phone, movies, food & beverage, room damages, gas, etc. may NOT be charged to the NYS Visa Travel Card.
Prior to travel, the employee must complete the Travel Authorization Form the trip and submit the form to their department supervisor for approval.
1. Travel Arrangements
When employee travel will be paid using the College’s NYS Visa Travel Card, the employee must make all the travel arrangements. The employee should take care to receive reservation numbers, confirmation numbers, itineraries and backup information for their travel plans.
2. Hotel Exemption from New York State Tax
An Exemption Certificate form ST-129 will need to be completed for all hotel stays in the State of New York https://www.tax.ny.gov/pdf/current_forms/st/st129_fill_in.pdf.
The Travel Card Program is intended to reduce the amount of employee out-of-pocket expenses when traveling on behalf of SUNY Purchase College. It is only to be used for the employee’s travel expenses whose name is on the Travel Card. The Travel Card program is a privilege and will be monitored by the Purchasing & Accounts Payable Office to ensure all purchases meet approved guidelines. Travel Card privileges will be revoked for cardholders who utilize the card for unapproved expenditures. Continued misuse of the Travel Card will jeopardize the future of the Travel Card program for the entire campus.
Allowable use of the travel card includes costs for
- Commercial transportation
- Rental vehicle
- Meals (as detailed below)
- Registration/Conference fees related to the travel
- Fuel (rental /state vehicles not personal vehicle)
- Miscellaneous expenses while in travel status
- Telephone Charges (related to official State business)
- Unanticipated work supplies
The Travel Card should not be used for:
- Fuel for personal vehicles (only for rental or campus vehicles)
- Food expenses for staff meetings and retreats
- Personal use of any kind
- Alcoholic beverages
- Incidentals on hotel bill (gym/spa charges, and movie rentals)
- Cash advances
- EZ Pass accounts
- Other Employee’s Travel expenses
3. Purchasing Meals with Travel Card:
If cardholders choose to use the Travel Card to pay for meals, the allowance for meals, including gratuities shall be limited to actual cost up to the maximum http://www.osc.state.ny.us/agencies/guide/MyWebHelp/Content/XIII/4/D.htm. An itemized receipt for meal purchases is required. Alcoholic beverages cannot be paid with the Travel Card.
4. Claiming Meal Per Diem on Travel Voucher:
Meals may be reimbursed on the Travel Voucher on a Per Diem basis based on location of lodging. (http://www.gsa.gov/Portal/gsa/ep/contentView.do?contentType=GSA_BASIC&contentId=17943.
Click on Excel link “Per Diem Rates All in One File” tab on the lower right of the screen).
If meals are provided or paid by another source related to the scheduled event, the traveler will not be reimbursed.
If the traveler is opting to claim reimbursement at the full meal Per Diem meal allowance, then the travel card may not be used to purchase food and beverages.
For the individual meal allowance breakdown, see link in #3 (immediately above).
5. Reconciling and Reporting:
All charges on the Travel Card must be supported by a NYS Employee Report of Travel Expenses and Claim For Payment (at http://www.osc.state.ny.us/agencies/forms/ac132s_fe.pdf.) , & Purchase College expense Travel Card Recap plus Travel Itemization Schedule . Even if no reimbursement is due, the NYS Employee Report of Travel Expenses and Claim for Payment form must be completed and the Total Amount Claimed would be $0.
Additional items breakdown use form AC 3256-S Statement of State Corp. Travel Card (at http://www.osc.state.ny.us/agencies/forms/ac3256s_fe.pdf ).
The travel card billing period ends on the 22nd of each month
Card holders upon receipt of their card should go online and register for online access. Go to the following link and select “Self-Registration for Cardholders” https://home.cards.citidirect.com/CommercialCard/Cards.html
The travelers will receive an email notification from the Purchasing & Accounts Payable Office to go online and review their credit card statements.
The original receipts for all items charges on the State travel card need to be submitted, with a corresponding Employee Report of Travel Expenses and Claim for Payment, Travel Card Recap form, Citibank statement, Purchase College Travel Itemization Schedule, Agenda/Itinerary, Travel Authorization Form, and, Over-The-Max Travel Request Form (if applicable) to the Purchasing & Accounts Payable Office before the end of the next billing cycle.
Timely submission of all documentation will make this reconciliation process successful. This process helps to ensure there is no duplicate payment of expenses and that all expenses related to one trip are accounted for.
As part of the monthly reconciliation and travel voucher submission, any charges that are unable to be offset against allowable costs/expenses per SUNY guidelines must be paid back to Purchase College via check. The check will be made payable to Purchase College and sent to the Purchasing & Accounts Payable office with the travel voucher reconciling that trip.
Failure to submit monthly documentation and reimbursement will result in an immediate credit card suspended until such time the violation is corrected.
Transportation by Rental Vehicles:
(When considering using a rental vehicle, employees must first complete the “Personal Car at Rental Rate Calculator” located at https://www.ogs.ny.gov/BU/SS/Trav/Calculators.asp. to ensure that the most economic method is used.)
Please contact the Purchasing and Accounts Payable Office to verify NYS contract rental car vendor. Currently, Enterprise Rent-A-Car and Hertz hold the NYS contracts for rental vehicles and their rates are substantially lower than others in the area.
When renting a passenger vehicle for official business using the Citibank Travel Card, the following guidelines are:
- Travelers should contact the vendor directly indicating they are a Purchase College employee (Corporate ID # JN0650 for Enterprise or # 65909 for Hertz) and reserve the vehicle.
- If the Citibank Travel Card is used, damage waiver protection or additional insurance should not be purchased. You are covered by the Visa Business Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver Program.
- If the travel card is not used, OGS recommends that travelers purchase the damage waiver protection (sometimes referred to as CDW or LDW insurance) from Enterprise.
Pickup or Delivery
- Vehicles may be picked up at any one of the Enterprise locations or delivered to the campus. Pickup location should be confirmed when making the reservation.
- The person who will be the primary user of the vehicle should inspect the vehicle for any prior defects (dents, scratches, cracks etc.).
- All rentals are exempt from New York State taxes.
- Upon returning from the trip, the car should left at the Enterprise Office, unless another arrangement has been made. A copy of the rental agreement will be given to the traveler. This copy should be submitted to the Accounts Payable Office with the travelers travel voucher.
EMPLOYEE REPORT OF TRAVEL EXPENSES AND CLAIM FOR PAYMENT (TRAVEL VOUCHER)
When an employee has completed a business trip and has incurred expenses that are to be reimbursed, the State of New York Travel Voucher, form AC 132-S, (at http://www.osc.state.ny.us/agencies/forms/ac132s_fe.pdf ) shall be completed as follows:
- Agency Name – Purchase College
- Business Unit/Department Code – SNY01
- NYS Employee ID#
- Official Station Address and Zip Code
- Name, Home address, city, state, zip code
- Business purpose
- Travel Description
- Start Location Street and Zip Code
- Destination Location Street and Destination Location Zip Code
- Travel Start Date and Time and Travel End Date and Time
- Lodging, Transportation, meals, mileage, incidental expenses (1st column)
- Summary Total Travel Expenses
- Subtract any amount paid by Citibank Travel Corporate card.
- Total amount to be reimbursed to traveler (2nd column)
- Payee’s Certification signature
- Supervisor’s Certification signature
- Account # to be charged (Expense Report Number)
Attach all original receipts (small receipts should be scotch-taped to an 8 ½ x 11 sheet of paper), Agendas/Itineraries and Purchase College Travel Itemization Schedule, copy of the Travel Authorization Form, and, Over-The-Max Travel Request Form (if applicable). When completing Travel Vouchers, the city and county traveled to must be indicated on the form.
A Statement of Automobile Travel, form AC-160, (at http://www.osc.state.ny.us/agencies/forms/ac160s_fe.pdf ) must be completed when a personal car is used for transportation for the trip.
The traveler forwards the completed Travel Voucher with all supporting documents to the Purchasing & Accounts Payable Office for processing.
Once the Travel Voucher is processed, and posted by the Office of the State Comptroller, a payment will be issued to the traveler.