The University of Chicago

Financial Services

  

Quick Reference Guide to Reimbursable Expenses

Reimbursements to Individuals (RTI’s) are defined as a University business expense paid for with an individual’s personal funds. The University may only reimburse reasonable and prudent business expenses. Click on the category below to learn more about reimbursement requirements:


Adoption of Child, Gift

Citation Reference
1211.2

Notes
Reimbursement is governed by dollar threshold.
Use unallowable sub account 9907.

See Financial Policy 1013 for additional information on the treatment of Unallowable Costs.

Refer to Gifts Based on University Employee Relationships.

Airfare

Citation Reference
1202, VI- Transportation

Notes
Airfare Item is reimbursable. Refer to Travel Policy 1202 , “Matrices of Allowable Travel Expenses by Expense Category

Airline Frequent Flyer Memberships Airline Upgrade Certificates

Citation Reference
1202, VI-Transportation, Airline Ticket
Domestic, InternationalAdditional approval required.

Notes:
If First or Business class air travel is approved, the cost of the upgrade coupons should be recorded in unallowable cost sub 9912 on grant account.

Air-Charter

Citation Reference
1202, VI- Transportation, Air-Charter

Item is reimbursable.

Notes:
Prior approval from Risk Management required.

Air -Personally Owned Plane

Citation Reference
1202, VI- Transportation, Air-Personally Owned Plane

Item is not reimbursable

Alcoholic Beverages

Citation Reference
1202, VI- Meals, Alcoholic Beverages

Item is reimbursable

Athletic or Sporting Events

Item is not reimbursable

Attorney’s Fees

Citation Reference
2705

Additional approval required.

Notes:
Prior approval from the Office of Legal Counsel is required.

Automobile, Personal Mileage

Citation Reference
1202, VI – Transportation, Car-Personal

Item is reimbursable.

Notes:
Reimbursable up to coach fare

Baby sitter fees

Item is not reimbursableIRS reportable income.

Notes:
Refer to Independent Personal Services

Bartenders

Item is not reimbursableIRS reportable income.

Notes:
Refer to Independent Personal Services

Benefits

Item is not reimbursable.

Per IRS regulations, any special benefit arrangement that exceeds the normal benefits extended to all employees constitutes taxable income and must be processed through the Payroll System.

All special benefits arrangements require the prior approval of:

  • The Provost’s Office for academic employees
  • Human Resources for non-academic employees

Notes:
It is extremely important to advise an employee or prospective employee of the tax consequences of the special arrangement, at the same time the special arrangements are being discussed with the individual.

Birth of Child, Gift to Employee

Citation Reference
1211.2 Reimbursement is governed by dollar threshold.

Notes:
Use unallowable sub account 9907. Refer to Financial Policy 1013 for additional information on the treatment of Unallowable Costs.
Refer to Gifts Based on University Employee Relationships.

Business Meals (Local and Out-of-Town)

Business meals are defined as meals taken with students, donors, colleagues, or individuals from companies during which specific University business discussions take place.

1202, VI – Meal, Business Purpose Item is reimbursable.

Use unallowable sub account 30xx. Refer to Financial Policy 1013 for additional information on the treatment of Unallowable Costs.

Per IRS regulations, in order for the reimbursement to be considered a non-taxable payment, the employee must provide the following information about the meeting or activity along with receipts:

  • Receipt(s) are required in all cases regardless of dollar amount.
  • Please refer to the University’s Supporting Documentation Standardsfor receipt requirements.
  • Receipt(s) must include date, name and location of restaurant and amount of expense (IRS Publication 463). Detailed receipts are preferred.

The submitted expense report must include:

  • Specific business purpose of the meal.
  • Names and business relationship of the individuals attending:
  • If an individual is not a University employee, the name of the company or institution that the individual represents must be provided.
  • If more than 10 people attend, they may be identified as a single body.
  • Business Meals are not to be charged to a grant or contract unless the terms specifically allow it: Sponsored Awards must approve and activate the sub account before you may charge a grant or contract. Detailed receipts are required for all Business Meals charged to a Federal grant or contract.
Car-Personal Mileage

Citation Reference
1202, VI- Transportation Automobile-Personal Mileage

Item is reimbursable.

Notes:
Reimbursable up to coach fare plus.

Car Rental

Citation Reference
Car Rental 1202, VI – Transportation, Car Rental

Item is reimbursable.

Refer to Insurance Coverage on Rented Automobiles

Car Rental Frequent Flyer Service Charge

Citation Reference
1202, IV – Transportation, Car Rental

Item not reimbursable

Clubs, Memberships

Citation Reference
1209

Item not reimbursable

Notes:
Refer to Memberships Fees and Dues for Quadrangle Club, Airline Clubs, Hotel Clubs

Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) Insurance

Citation Reference
1202, VI — Transportation, Car Rental, Insurance

Notes:
Domestic — item is not reimbursable.
Foreign — item is reimbursable

Computing Equipment

Citation Reference
1201, 5 Reimbursement is governed by dollar threshold.

Notes:
Refer to Equipment

Conference Registration Fees

Item is reimbursable

Charge sub account 39xx, Professional Development. Do not charge a tuition sub account.

Notes:
A copy of the paid receipt must be provided.

Refer to Travel Reimbursement — Conference Registations

Contributions to Other Not-for-Profit Organizations

Citation Reference
1206

Additional approval required.

Notes:
Requires the approval of both the VP for University News and Community Affairs and the Executive Vice President for Administration and Chief Financial Officer.
Use unallowable sub account 9905. Refer to Financial Policy 1013 for additional information on the treatment of Unallowable Costs.
Refer to Gifts to Other Not-for-Profit Organizations.

Currency Conversion Fees

Citation Reference
1202, VI- Other Expenses, Incidentals

Item is reimbursable.

Refer to Travel Reimbursement — Foreign Currency

Damage to Personal Property while on UC business

Item is not reimbursable.
Refer to Stolen, Lost or Damaged Property, Personal or University

Death of Employee or Family Member, Gift for

Citation Reference
Death of Employee or Family Member, Gift for 1211.2

Reimbursement is governed by dollar threshold.
Use unallowable sub account 9907. Refer to Financial Policy 1013 for additional information on the treatment of Unallowable Costs.

Refer to Gifts Based on University Employee Relationships.

Dependent Travel Expenses

Citation Reference
Dependent Travel Expenses 1202, VI- Other, Spouse or Dependent Travel

Requires additional approval.
Not reimbursable unless there is a bona-fide business purpose for their travel.

Exception: Spouse or dependent travel during the employee recruitment/hiring process is allowed under TRAVEL POLICY 1202 and does not require additional approval.

Disk Jockeys

IRS Item is not reimbursable — IRS reportable income.

Refer to Independent Personal Services

Entertainers

IRS Item is not reimbursable — IRS reportable income.

Refer to Independent Personal Services

Equipment and Furniture

Citation Reference
Equipment and Furniture 1201, 5

Item is not reimbursable.

All equipment must be purchased using a University purchase order and is therefore not reimbursable.

For University accounting purposes, equipment is defined as a piece of property which has:
an expected life of one year or more,
AND
a cost of $5000 or more.

Foreign Travel

Citation Reference
Foreign Travel 1202, VI — Transportation, Airline Ticket-International

Item is reimbursable.
Includes travel to Alaska, Hawaii and destinations outside of North America.

Grants and contracts may use different definitions. Refer to the agency's guidelines. Federal regulations require the use of American flag carriers (American owned). Contact Restricted Funds for exceptions and all other questions pertaining to foreign travel charged to grants or contracts.

Refer to Travel Reimbursement — Air Carriers

Furniture

Citation Reference
Furniture 1201, 5

Reimbursement is governed by dollar threshold.
Refer to Equipment and Furniture

Gifts based on University/Employee Relationships – Cash

Citation Reference
Gifts based on University/Employee Relationships — Cash 1211

IRS Item is not reimbursable.

Cash gifts or cash equivalents such as checks, gift certificates, and US savings bonds, are prohibited.

Gifts based on University/Employee Relationships – Non-Cash $500 or less

Citation Reference
Gifts based on University/Employee Relationships — Non-Cash $500 or less 1211

Item is reimbursable.

Use unallowable sub account 9907. Refer to Financial Policy 1013 for additional information on the treatment of Unallowable Costs.

Modest ($500 or less) non-cash gifts are allowed if the following conditions are met:

  • Birth or adoption of a child,
  • Death or illness of employee or employee's immediate family member,
  • Employee is leaving or retiring from the University.
Gifts based on University/Employee Relationships Non-Cash Over $500

Citation Reference
Gifts based on University/Employee Relationships Non-Cash Over $500 1211, 3

Additional approval required.
Prior approval from the Associate Vice President for Finance.

Use unallowable sub account 9907. Refer to Financial Policy 1013 for additional information on the treatment of Unallowable Costs.

Gifts based on University/Employee Relationships to Other Not-for-Profit $500 (Deceased)

Citation Reference
Gifts based on University/Employee Relationships to Other Not-for-Profit Organizations — $500 or less in name of deceased employee or their immediate family 1211, 2

Item is reimbursable
Use unallowable sub account 9907. Refer to Financial Policy 1013 for additional information on the treatment of Unallowable Costs.

Modest ($500 or less) cash donations to other not-for-profit and charitable organizations in the name of a deceased employee or a member of an employee's immediate family are allowed as an exception to Financial Policy 1206.

Gifts to Other Not-for-Profit Organizations -All other

Citation Reference
Gifts to Other Not-for-Profit Organizations -All other 1206

Item is not reimbursable.

All payments must be made directly to the organization by the University.

Gifts to Other Non-for-Profit Organizations require prior approval from the Associate Vice President for Finance or appropriate delegate authority.

Refer to Financial Policy 1206 for additional information on Gifts to Other Not-for Profit and Charitable Organizations.

Health Club Fees

Item is not reimbursable.

Hotel

Citation Reference
Hotel 1202, VI — Lodging

Item is reimbursable.
Original paid statement from the hotel is required. Credit card receipt alone is not sufficient. Educational discounts may be available. Will only reimburse employee for single occupancy.

Refer to Lodging, What Documentation Do I Need To Be Reimbursed.

Hotel – Free night stays

Item is not reimbursable.

The University will only reimburse an individual for actual expenses. Therefore, the University will not reimburse a traveler for a free hotel voucher.

Illness of Employee or Family Member,Gift

Citation Reference
Illness of Employee or Family Member, Gift for 1211, 2

Item is reimbursable.
Use unallowable sub account 9907. Refer to Financial Policy 1013 for additional information on the treatment of Unallowable Costs.

Refer to Gifts Based on University/Employee Relationships

Independent Personal Services

IRS Item is not reimbursable.

Per IRS regulations, payments for personal services constitute reportable and taxable income. Therefore, these payments must be made directly to the individual or business entity. Process these payments through the Payroll System or as Independent Contractor payments. Examples of independent personal services include, but are not limited to:

  • Consultants
  • Entertainers
  • Individuals providing secretarial and food services (e.g., bartenders, waitresses/waiter)
Insurance, Accident related to business travel

Item is not reimbursable.

Covered free of charge by University of Chicago Travel Accident Insurance Program. Refer to the Staff Benefits Summary Plan Description. Prior to the trip, call Risk Management regarding coverage for students and non-employees on University Business.

Insurance Coverage on Rented Automobiles -Domestic

Citation Reference
Insurance Coverage on Rented Automobiles -Domestic 1202, VI — Transportation, Car Rental, Insurance-Domestic

Item is not reimbursable.
The University will not reimburse for extra cost of coverage for:

  • Personal accident insurance
  • Liability insurance
  • Personal Effects Insurance
  • U of C insurance card is available from Risk Management. Notify Risk Management immediately if an accident occurs.
  • Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) is not reimbursable for car rented in the U. S.
Insurance Coverage on Rented Automobiles – Foreign

Citation Reference
Insurance Coverage on Rented Automobiles — Foreign 1202, VI — Transportation, Car Rental, Insurance-International

Item is reimbursable.

Legal Fees

Citation Reference
Legal Fees 2705

Additional approval required.
Prior approval from the Office of Legal Counsel is required.

Limousine Service
 
Lodging

Citation Reference
Lodging 1202, VI — Lodging

Item is reimbursable.

Loss of personal property

Item is not reimbursable.
Refer to Stolen, Lost, or Damaged Property, Personal or University

Meals – Business (Local and Out-of-Town)

Citation Reference
Business meals are defined as meals taken with students, donors, colleagues, or individuals from companies during which specific University business discussions take place. 1202, VI — Meals, Business Purpose
IRS — Memo revised 08/24/07

Item is reimbursable.
Use unallowable sub account 30xx. Refer to Financial Policy 1013 for additional information on the treatment of Unallowable Costs.

Per IRS regulations, in order for the reimbursement to be considered a non-taxable payment, the employee must provide the following information about the meeting or activity along with receipts:

  • The specific purpose.
  • Date and place.
  • Names of the individuals attending.
  • If an individual is not a University employee, the name of the company or institution that the individual represents must be provided.
  • If more than 10 people attend, they may be identified as a single body.
  • Do not charge a grant or contract unless the terms specifically allow it.
  • Restricted Funds must approve and activate the sub account before you may charge a grant or contract.
Meals – Out of Town, in Travel Status

Citation Reference
Meals — Out of Town, in Travel Status 1202, VI — Meals

Item is reimbursable.

Original charge card receipt (no check stubs) required if meal exceeds $75.
Traveler must provide written justification whenever the cost of a meal is $75 or more per person.
Use unallowable sub account 30xx. Refer to Financial Policy 1013 for additional information on the treatment of Unallowable Costs

Meals – Per Diem

Citation Reference
Meals — Per Diem 1202, VI — Meals

Item is reimbursable.
Refer to Travel Reimbursement — Per Diem Reimbursements

Membership Fees and Dues for the Quadrangle Club, Airline Clubs, Hotel Clubs

Citation Reference
Membership Fees and Dues for the Quadrangle Club, Airline Clubs, Hotel Clubs 1209, 2

Item is not reimbursable.

Membership Fees -All Other

Citation Reference
Membership Fees -All Other 1209

Additional approval required.
Reimbursement of individual membership fees and dues must be authorized in writing, as appropriate, by the Dean, Vice President, Provost or President. Must benefit University's mission and support job-related responsibilities.

Per IRS regulations, these reimbursements may constitute reportable income. Process through the Payroll Department on an Extra Service Payment Form (UPP Form #172). May not be charged to Federal grant and contracts. Use unallowable sub account 9907. Refer to Financial Policy 1013 for additional information on the treatment

Membership Fees and Dues, Institutional

Citation Reference
Membership Fees and Dues, Institutional 1207

Item is not reimbursable.
Payments of institutional membership fees and dues should be made directly to the association or organization, and therefore are not reimbursable. Benefits derived must be in accordance with the University's mission of instruction, research, and public service. Written authorization of Dean or Vice President is required.

Membership Fees and Dues in Business and Professional Organizations

Citation Reference
Membership Fees and Dues in Business and Professional Organizations 1208

Item is reimbursable.
Individual memberships must support the individual's job-related responsibilities. Membership fees and dues in professional organizations such as, the American Medical Association or the Modern Language Association, are reimbursable and should be charged to Professional Development, sub account 39xx.

Mileage Allowance

Citation Reference
Mileage Allowance 1202, VI — Transportation, Car-Personal Mileage

Item is reimbursable.
Reimbursable up to coach fare

Motel

Citation Reference
Motel 1202, VI — Lodging

Item is reimbursable

Moving Expenses

Reimbursement may be considered taxable income

Musicians

IRS Item is not reimbursable — IRS reportable income.
Refer to Independent Personal Services

Parking Fees at Primary work location

Citation Reference
Parking Fees at Primary work location 1210

Payments for the daily, monthly or annual parking fees of employees at their primary work location must be authorized, in writing, by the appropriate Dean, Vice President, Department Chairman, or Director. These payments are taxable as wages according to IRS regulations. If departments want to include the cost of parking as part of an employee's annual compensation package, then the department should do so by adding an appropriate amount in the calculation of the employee's regular salary. The employee can then choose to spend the salary on parking, transit or vanpools using pre-tax dollars, or keep the salary which would, of course, be subject to taxation.

Departments may not pay for an employee's parking space by submitting an Interdepartmental Order (Form 62) to The Office of Transportation and Parking Services.

Parking Tickets or Fines

Item is not reimbursable.
The University should never reimburse an individual for violating a law.

Phone Calls, Business Related

Citation Reference
Phone Calls, Business Related 1202, VI — Other Expenses, Incidentals

Item is reimbursable.
Detailed hotel bill, telephone bill, or calling card statement must be attached to the reimbursement request. When traveling, one call home per day is allowed.

Private Airplane

Citation Reference
Private Airplane 1202, VI — Transportation, Air-Personally Owned Plane

Item is not reimbursable

Quadrangle Club

Citation Reference
Quadrangle Club 1209.2

Item is not reimbursable.
Refer to Membership Fees and Dues for Social, Dining, Airline and Hotel Clubs

Rail Transportation

Citation Reference
Rail Transportation 1202, VI — Transportation, Train

Item is reimbursable.
Fare plus lowest-priced available private Pullman facilities. Not to exceed cost of regular airline coach fare

Registration Fees

Item is reimbursable.
Refer to Conference Registration Fees

Citation Reference
Rental, Car 1202, VI — Transportation, Car Rental

Item is reimbursable.

Retirement, Gifts for

Citation Reference
Retirement, Gifts for 1211.3

Reimbursement is governed by dollar threshold.
Use unallowable sub account 9907. Refer to Financial Policy 1013 for additional information on the treatment of Unallowable Costs.

Refer to Gifts Based on University/Employee Relationships

Secretaries, Independent Personal Services

IRS Item is not reimbursable — IRS reportable income.
Refer to Independent Personal Services

Servers or Wait Staff

IRS Item is not reimbursable — IRS reportable income.
Refer to Independent Personal Services

Sporting Events

Item is not reimbursable.

Spousal Travel

Citation Reference
Spousal Travel 1202, VI — Other, Spouse or Dependent Travel

Requires additional approval.
Not reimbursable unless there is a bona-fide business purpose for their travel.

Exception: Spouse or dependent travel during the employee recruitment/hiring process is allowed under TRAVEL POLICY 1202 and does not require additional approval.

Stolen, Lost, or Damaged Personal Property

Item is not reimbursable.
The University does not insure personal property.

Individual should:

  • contact their personal insurance agent
  • attempt to recover directly from the party responsible, such as an airline if luggage is lost
Stolen, Lost, or Damaged University Property


Contact Risk Management to discuss insurance requirements.

  • Large dollar items may be covered under insurance
Subject Fees

IRS Item is not reimbursable.
Any single payment of $100 or more must be paid directly to the research subject. The transaction must be processed on a Direct Payment Voucher. Per IRS regulations, all research subject payments that exceed $600 in a calendar year must be reported.

Refer to :

  • Cash Advance Guidelines & Procedures for Research Subject Testing Fees
  • Guidelines & Procedures for Revolving Cash Fund for Research Subject Testing Fees
  • Petty Cash Guidelines and Procedures
Subscriptions

Item is reimbursable.
Business-related subscriptions are reimbursable.

Supplies Under $500

Citation Reference
Supplies Under $500 1201, 5

Item is reimbursable.
Purchases under $500 may be reimbursed. To take advantage of UC discounts and avoid paying taxes make purchase through the University whenever possible.

Supplies $500 and Over

Citation Reference
Supplies $500 and Over 1201, 5

Item is not reimbursable.
Items $500 and over must be purchased using a University purchase order and are therefore not reimbursable.

Sympathy Gifts

Citation Reference
Sympathy Gifts 1211

Reimbursement is governed by dollar threshold.
Refer to Gifts Based on University/Employee Relationships

Temporary Living Expenses

Additional approval required.
Prior written approval of the Provost's Office for academic employees and University Human Resources Management for non-academic employees is required. Approval must be on file in Payroll before any reimbursement can be processed. Complete a Moving Expense Reimbursement Form and process it through the Payroll Department.

Visitors who will be at the University for less than one year are governed by the rules and regulations of the Travel Policy.

Refer also to Relocation/Moving Expenses.

Tolls

Citation Reference
Tolls 1202, VI — Other Expenses, Incidentals

Item is reimbursable

Traffic Fines

Item is not reimbursable.
The University should never reimburse an individual for violating a law.

Train

Citation Reference
Train 1202, VI — Transportation, Train

Item is reimbursable.

Travel, Local

Citation Reference
1202, V — Payment of Travel Expenses

Only personal car mileage is reimbursable.
Local travel is defined as travel within a 50- mile radius of the University of Chicago completed in one day or less.

Refer to Travel Reimbursement — Local Travel

Travelers Checks, fees

Citation Reference
Travelers Checks, fees for 1202, VI; Other Expenses, Incidentals

Item is reimbursable.
Fees for travelers' checks are reimbursable.

Tuxedo, Rental

Item is not reimbursable.
Personal expenses are not reimbursable

Waiters or Serving Staff

IRS Item is not reimbursable — IRS reportable income.
Refer to Independent Personal Services


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