1214 Non-Salary Cash Advances

Non-Salary Cash Advances
University of Chicago Financial Policy
Subject Area: Sponsored Programs
Responsible Office: Procurement and Payment Services
Sponsor: Executive Vice President for Administration and Chief Financial Officer
Originally Issued: November 1998
Revised: March 31, 2003, February 2010
Refer Questions To: Ronald Welin, 773-702-4230

Purpose: To outline the policy on advancing funds for University related business.


If required, advances will be issued for University related business activities. Advances will not be issued to cover expenses which will be reimbursed by another source. The amount advanced may not exceed the estimated cash required for the trip or activity.

Request for advances should be processed on a Request for Travel or Non-Salary Advance, Comptroller Form 95. All advances are initially charged to a University receivable account. Advances are encumbered on the monthly FAS ledgers, however, no charges are made against the FAS account(s) until a Travel Expense Voucher, Comptroller Form 97 is processed. The individual receiving the advance is personally liable for any loss of a cash advance. Unused advances must be returned to The University within 30 days after the trip completion date or University sponsored activity.

Travel Advances

GEMS credit cards are available to University employees eliminating the need for most travel advances.

Travel advances will only be granted for the following business related reasons:

  • Students, post-doctoral fellows and visitors traveling on official University business,
  • Extended travel for trips lasting longer than three weeks,
  • Foreign travel, and
  • Faculty and staff who do not qualify for a corporate travel card.

Advances will not be issued more than 30 days prior to the planned departure date.

Permanent or revolving cash advances will not be issued by The University because IRS regulations interpret them as income to recipients.

Advances for Extended Business Travel

Extended operating advances may be required by those employees who have special travel needs such as archaeological expeditions, field site assignments, etc. The initial travel advance should not exceed round trip travel to/from the site and the cost of up to three months of operations while on the site.

All extended operating advances, over $25,000 must be signed by the travelers appropriate Dean, Vice-President, or Director.

If operations will continue for more than three months, a project checking account at the location may be opened with the approval of the Board of Trustees and Financial Services. For additional information please refer to Financial Policy 1506. Additional advances can be wired to the account in monthly intervals.

Travel expense voucher reports must be submitted monthly for all extended operating advances. If no report is made for three months, further advances will not be processed.

Advances for All Other Expenses

Advances may be requested to cover anticipated cash expenditures to be incurred on behalf of the University for a sponsored event, prior to the event taking place. Request for totally refundable deposits should be processed on a Request for Travel or Non-Salary Advance, Comptroller Form 95.

If a vendor’s invoice states on the face of the invoice that the advance payment is a “non-refundable deposit”, submit the payment on a Direct Payment Voucher form 88R instead of a Non-Salary Advance form.

Advances Reported As Personal Income

The Internal Revenue Service requires that all advances be accounted for within a “reasonable period of time”. As a result, failure to account for a cash advance within 120 days of the trip/activity completion date will result in the advance being reported as taxable income to the recipient on a W-2 form. Once the “unsettled” advance has been added to an individual’s W-2, it cannot be reversed. In addition, the advance will be expensed to the department’s guarantee account.

Non-salary advances will not be issued to any individual who failed to completely account for his/her previous cash advance within 120 days of the trip completion date; i.e, any individual who had all or part of the funds that were advanced added to their annual IRS W-2 Form as reportable income.