AC NEWS


Travel Policies and Procedures

Revised July 29, 2019

Responsibility

Employees submitting Travel Authorizations and Travel Expense Statements and the employee(s) approving the Authorizations and/or Expense Statements will be expected to demonstrate good judgment regarding travel and meal expenses.   

They will be expected to assure that such travel and meal expenses are a reasonable cost to the College. The approver of the Authorization and the Expense Statement will ensure that he or she is the budget officer for the account or is a supervisor of the budget officer.

Travel Authorization(s)

Completion of a Travel Authorization form approved by the appropriate supervisor/division head/Cabinet member must be on file with the Business Office before travel starts. It is the budget officer's responsibility to do a budget check to make sure funds are available in the accounts listed to pay before expenses for the trip are incurred or Authorization is requested.   All travel requests must be listed in the Agenda for the Board of Regents meetings held on the fourth Tuesday of the month. This form must be in the Business Office by the first day of the month in order to appear on the agenda for the Board meeting. Acronyms should not be used as the meeting names on the Travel Authorization form or the Travel Expense statement.

Travel expenses incurred with grant or contract funds will be governed by the institutional policy of Amarillo College except where expressly forbidden or modified by the granting or contracting agency or governing rules and regulations.  Such travel will require completion of a travel authorization approved by the principal investigator of the grant and by the Grants Office of the Business Office.  The travel expense statement must be approved in the same manner.

Travel Advances

Travel advances may be requested when the estimated travel expenses, excluding personal automobile mileage, exceeds $100.  Travel advances are only available for Amarillo College employees. 

 A Travel Expense Statement must be completed for each travel advance within five working days of the completion of the trip.  If an Expense Statement is not received in the Business Office in 30 days, the advance amount will be deducted from the employee's paycheck.

Expense Report Approval Process

The budget officer responsible for the account from which the funds are budgeted/expended should approve all Travel Expense Statements. The Business Office will not require additional approvals.  If the budget officer is not available for approval one of her or his supervisors should approve the Expense Statement.  Each department or area may determine if additional approvals should be obtained. 

The approver will forward the Expense Statement to the Business Office.  The Business Office will check that the Expense Statement is approved but will not be monitoring the propriety of the approval signatures. 

If the traveler is the budget officer for the account, approval should be received by one of the traveler's supervisors. 

An Expense Statement must be completed within five working days upon completion of the trip. Forms are due whether there is reimbursement or not.

Prepayment of Travel Expense

If requested by the traveler, the College may prepay hotel and/or airline expenses.  The College may either send the payment directly to the hotel/airline, or issue a check(s) for the prepayment and deliver that check to the traveler.  The traveler should only prepay expenses for travel occurring within the same fiscal year.  Reasonable care should be made to not prepay travel occurring next fiscal year unless necessary.

Local or online travel agencies such as Priceline, Orbitz, etc. shall not be utilized for Amarillo College Travel.

In the event a traveler makes reservations online and/or pays for the expenses from personal funds, the College will reimburse the traveler for documented prepaid expenses if the traveler pays the expenses at least two weeks prior to the trip.  This can be done by completing a "Partial" Travel Expense Statement.  Additional expenses will be reimbursed after the trip is completed.  Remaining expenses will be reimbursed when the "Final" Travel Expense Statement is processed. 

Student Meal Allowances 

On official College student trips, the sponsor of the trip may request that the meal expenses for students involved be made in the form of a meal allowance per student, per day, or per meal in advance of the trip.  This per diem should not exceed the rates as described in the Employee Meal Expenses Section.  Such an advance should be made in the same manner as other travel advances. 

These meal allowances will be issued to the faculty member or sponsoring employee accompanying the students.  The faculty member/sponsor will then issue the allowances directly to the students. Students will not be required to supply supporting receipts to the College. 

If the faculty member/sponsor would rather pay for the meals of all the students at one time, a receipt(s) must be obtained and forwarded with the expense report. 

Non-employees accompanying students on such trips may also receive a meal allowance if approved by the budget officer. 

Employees on student trips will account for their own meal expenses in the same manner as all other College travel.

Employee Meal Expenses

Itemized receipts are required for all meals and must accompany the Expense Statement. Additionally, a gratuity should not exceed 20%.   Meal expenses paid from grant funds are subject to the rules, regulations and restrictions of the grant or the granting entity.  If specific grant guidelines do not exist, employees shall follow AC Guidelines. 

Unless pre-approved by the appropriate Cabinet member, a meal is not an allowed travel expense for travel between Amarillo College campuses, which includes Dumas, Hereford, and Community Link.

Amarillo College no longer allows per diem reimbursement, starting September 1, 2019.

expenses paid from grant funds are subject to the rules, regulations, and restrictions of the grant or the granting entity.  If specific grant guidelines do not exist, then follow AC Guidelines. 

 In the event meal receipts include the cost of meals for someone other than the Amarillo College employee submitting the Expense Statement, the name of the person and their relationship to Amarillo College must be documented either on the meal receipt or the Expense Statement.  This documentation requirement also applies to charges made on all Amarillo College Credit Cards. 

The appropriate Cabinet member may approve exceptions to the above cases. 

Personal Vehicle Mileage

A College employee may use his/her personal automobile for College business.  The employee may be reimbursed at the current GSA approved rate (https://www.gsa.gov/travel/plan-book/transportation-airfare-rates-pov-rates/privately-owned-vehicle-pov-mileage-reimbursement-rates).

A Travel Expense Statement requires the Budget Officer's approval in order to be reimbursed.  Employees must provide a Mileage Log with the Expense Statement for multiple trips to be reimbursed. 

Miles reimbursed, including any local in-town miles, should be reimbursed as either the actual mileage incurred or the official State of Texas mileage. The official State mileage is available from the AC Business Office. Employees may now also use the following internet mapping site: MapQuest (use Google Maps as an alternate). Enter city to city in your calculations to keep things simple, do not use actual addresses. Provide a printout of the mileage screen used so the Business Office can verify the process used to obtain reimbursable miles. 

Budget officers and travelers should have a clear understanding of when and for how much mileage an employee will be reimbursed. 

The official mileage between AC Campuses can be found on the AC Travel Policy webpage.

Normally, local in-town mileage claimed to/from/between Amarillo College's campuses and/or sites where classes are taught do not require a travel authorization.  If an employee is reporting to the airport instead of the normal work location, mileage reimbursement may not be claimed unless the employee is traveling from MCC or Hereford campuses.

Use of College Vehicles

Amarillo College has vehicles available for transporting small groups on official AC business.  The beginning and ending mileage and purpose of the trip should be documented on the form made available by the Physical Plant (Facilities Management Center).  AC gasoline credit cards are available for such trips.  Arrangements for the use of these vehicles should be made in advance as soon as possible to assure availability of the desired vehicle.   The Facilities Management Center can describe exact requirements (https://www.actx.edu/phy_plant/use-of-college-vehicles).  

AC requires using a state contract vendor for car rentals, which currently is Enterprise Rent-A-Car, National, and Avis.  

College Credit Cards

The College has provided College Credit Cards to each member of the Cabinet and to other additional employees.   College Cards can be requested by Amarillo College employees with approval from their appropriate Cabinet member.  The use of these cards is the responsibility of the employee whose name appears on the card.  The College Cards are to be used with discretion and good judgment. 

The cardholder must account for each charge that is made to his/her college credit card.  All college credit card transactions are to be reported on a Travel Expense Statement in conjunction with the Credit Card Transaction Report. 

On occasion it may be advisable for a college credit card to be used by an employee other than the employee to whom the card was provided.  In these situations the employee whose name appears on the card will be responsible for accounting for expenses incurred using her/his card along with the employee who made the credit card charge. 

Sales Tax Exemption

Amarillo College is exempt from the payment of the Texas State Sales Tax. This exemption applies to hotels and rental cars, etc. The traveler is responsible for ensuring that the tax exemption is honored. If the tax exemption is not claimed, the traveler is responsible for any taxes incurred. If the traveler cannot obtain a refund for taxes paid, he or she will be responsible for reimbursing the college.

 Texas Hotel sales tax exemption forms are available in the Business Office or on the AC Website.  Each traveler should obtain these forms and use them when traveling.

It is the responsibility of the employee to provide the appropriate Tax Exemption Certificate form upon hotel check-in.   Normally it is not practical to ask restaurants to honor this sales tax exemption on individual or small group meal purchases.

Texas rental car sales tax exemption forms are available on the AC Website. Each traveler and the appropriate supervisor/division head/Cabinet member must obtain these forms and use them when traveling. If an employee uses one of the direct bill rental car companies, the companies already have this tax exempt information on hand and do not need these forms. 

Lost Receipts 

In the event receipts or other supporting documentation has been misplaced or destroyed, the traveler may sign a statement to that effect as a part of the Travel Expense Statement. This statement must specify the amount, business name, and date of transaction and be signed by the traveler. 

Purchase of Alcohol

The use of Amarillo College funds or College Credit Cards for the purchase of alcoholic beverages or products is prohibited.

Compliance

Travelers who repeatedly violate this policy are subject to loss of travel privileges and/or other disciplinary actions.

Helpful Tips

  • All travel authorizations and travel expense statements must be signed by a cabinet member
  • Mileage expenses cannot be included in cash advances
  • Each travel authorization form should cover the needs of one individual only
  • All travel authorization and travel expense forms require the GL code that will be charged
  • Follow proper signature routing procedure
  • Travel expense forms are due within five days whether there are expenses or not
  • Honorariums need SS# and mailing address
  • AC is State Tax Exempt in Texas
  • Mileage Documentation
    • Actual miles driven
      • Provide the beginning and ending odometer readings
      • Use mileage log on AC Forms webpage
  • Standard miles between campuses
  • Link on AC Travel Policy webpage
  • Web-based mapping site
    • MapQuest, Google Maps, etc.
    • Must provide a printout
  • Small receipts need to be taped to a 8.5 inch by 11 inch paper to avoid getting misplaced
  • Travelers will need to email Julie Norman if their trips are cancelled

 

Questions regarding travel procedures and policies should go to Julie Norman at j0172108@actx.edu


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