Human Resources Home at The University of West Georgia

Log On

Relocation Expense Policy

Relocation Expense Policy

Date Issued: 01/25/2008
Relocation expenses for new tenure track faculty and salaried staff may be provided if funds are available in the department or college budget.  The employing unit and the following guidelines (subject to IRS regulations) will determine the total amount approved for relocation, limited to $1,000 or 2% of the salary which ever is greater. 

POLICY GUIDELINES

Eligibility:
The employees being reimbursed must be a tenure track faculty member or hold the title of at least Assistant Director at the University of West Georgia in a regular, full-time position. The appropriate vice president, dean or department head must approve the Employment Relocation Agreement. 

To be eligible for reimbursement, the employee's relocation must meet all of the following conditions:

  1. Availability of Qualified Applicants. The University must ascertain that the new employee is the best qualified applicant or State employee available to fill the position.
  2. At Employer's Request. The relocation must be at the request of the University and for the good of the State service as determined by the College Dean or Vice President. Expenses will not be reimbursed when the move is at the request of, or for the convenience of, the employee.
  3. Distance. The distance between the employee's new work location and the former residence must be 50 miles greater than the distance between the employee's old work location and the former residence. The employee's commuting distance must have increased by at least 50 miles one way.
  4. Permanent. The employee must be reasonably expected to work on a regular full-time basis for at least 1 year, commencing on the date that the employee starts work on a regular basis at the new location.

Note: If the employee's spouse is a State employee and otherwise eligible for moving and relocation expenses, reimbursements of any such expenses will be paid to one employee only and to move the primary household only to the new location.

Employment Relocation Agreement:

Any employee to be reimbursed for moving and relocation expenses must execute an Employment Relocation Agreement with the University before any such expenses are incurred. The agreement will specify that:

  1. The employee must remain employed on a regular full-time basis for a period not less than one calendar/academic year following the effective date of the move.
  2. If the employee discontinues State employment before the obligated one year of service, the employee will refund to the University the gross amount of moving and relocation reimbursements, i.e., actual payments received by employee and any payments to third parties on the employee's behalf, plus all taxes deducted that relate to those payments.
  3. Repayment may be waived if State employment is terminated for reasons beyond the employee's control and acceptable to the University.    
Reimbursement Rules and Guidelines:

Payment for reimbursable moving and relocation expenses and related taxes, if any, must be funded from the budget of the hiring department or college. When the University provides moving and relocation reimbursement from state or local funds, the maximum dollar amount will be two percent of the employee’s salary or $1,000 which ever is greater.

I.  Taxing Reimbursement

Reimbursement of expenses, defined as "qualified" and "non-qualified" in accordance with current IRS regulations, may be made. Reimbursement of non-qualified expenses is subject to withholding of applicable income and employment taxes. Reimbursements are reported on the annual Form W-2. Guidelines in this policy are current as of the revision date of this policy, and outline IRS rules for taxing reimbursement.

II. Guidelines for Reimbursement

IRS guidelines for reimbursement require that the distance between the old home and the new place of work be at least 50 miles greater than the distance between the old home and the old place of work. If the distance test is not met, then moving reimbursements will be reported as taxable income subject to applicable income and employment taxes.

III. Reimbursable Expenses
A. Qualified reimbursable expenses (not subject to tax withholding)  

1. Commercial moving company
2. Charges for packing, crating, mailing and/or shipping household goods; and other miscellaneous packing supplies
3. Optional insurance on items such as furniture, clothing, and utensils
4. Rental truck
5. In-transit storage for up to 30 consecutive days
6. Shipment of car(s), if not used in the move
7. Travel and lodging costs for one trip (employee and family) from the old residence to the new residence, which may include:

  1. Actual gas cost, based upon receipts or IRS current rate for personal or rental vehicles as indicated on the Relocation Request Form
  2. Lodging in transit, not to exceed $75 per night plus tax
  3. Airfare (coach only)
  4. Rental car (economy only)
  5. Tolls, taxi, limousine, or parking
  6. Pet shipping charges

B. Non-qualified reimbursable expenses (subject to tax withholding)
 
1. Travel and lodging costs incurred during additional trips from the old residence to the new residence.
2. Cost of meals at any point in the relocation process. Maximum allowance is $35 per day per adult, and $17.50 for children under the age of 12. Meal receipts are not required.
3. House hunting expenses (one trip, not to exceed five days) may include:

  1. Actual gas cost, based upon receipts or IRS current rate for personal or rental vehicles
  2. Lodging, not to exceed $75 per night plus tax
  3. Airfare (coach only)
  4. Rental car (compact only)
  5. Tolls, taxi, limousine, or parking

4. Temporary housing.

IV. Non-Reimbursable Expenses

A. Expenses not paid by the university include:
 
1. Storage (excluding 30 days in transit)
2. Meals and travel costs incurred by laborers
3. Expenses incurred by persons not considered to be dependents for tax purposes
4. Costs related to immigration
5. Utility and telephone installation charges
6. Loss of security deposits
7. Real estate expenses
8. Postage costs for realty and mortgage documents
9. Personal telephone calls, tips, movies, or other entertainment.
10. Extraordinary items requiring special handling (e.g., boats)
11. Bank fee for cashier’s checks

V. Payment of Moving Expenses
 
A. Payment for shipping of household goods, as provided in these guidelines, may be processed as individual reimbursements, or direct payment to the carrier(s) via purchase orders.
B. Reimbursement of qualified moving expenses may be excluded from taxable income if distance conditions are met.

VI. Payment of Expenses for Business Trips and/or House Hunting Trips
 
A. House hunting expenses, such as airline costs, hotels, or auto rental agencies are paid only through the reimbursement process. This is taxable income.
B. Reimbursement of expenses incurred during business trips, which may also include house hunting, is not taxable income. These expenses are processed in accordance with University guidelines.

Relocation expenses and payment options should be negotiated with the new faculty or staff member during the hiring process. The letter of offer must specify the payment option (direct payment or reimbursement) selected and define the maximum amount. It is important to inform the new employee that applicable taxes are withheld for "non-qualified" expenses as defined in the policy. A copy of this policy should also be provided with the letter of offer.

I. Reimbursement Option
 
A. Employee responsibilities

 1. Complete the Relocation Expense Form.
 2. Submit original itemized receipts (receipts not required for mileage and/or meal reimbursement) to the employing unit. The Office of Human Resources will return all original receipts to the employee for tax filing purposes; however, it is strongly recommended that the employing unit or the employee retain copies for tax filing purposes.

B. Employing unit responsibilities:
 
1. Submit appointment documentation to Human Resources (Letter of Offer).
2. Review relocation documentation for appropriate signature and compliance with University policy and IRS requirements.
3. Submit the Letter of Offer, the completed Relocation Agreement and Relocation Expense Reimbursement Form along with   original itemized receipts to the Office of Human Resources, as soon as possible. If reimbursement is submitted after the initial 12 months of employment, then written explanation of the delay must accompany the request.
 
C. Office of Human Resources responsibilities:
 
1. Calculate tax-reporting requirements on non-qualified expenses, and withhold applicable income and employment taxes from the payment.
2. Issue reimbursement with next appropriate payroll cycle.
3. Return original receipts directly to employee.
4. Report taxable reimbursements on the annual Form W-2.
5. Retain documentation for audit purposes.

II. Direct Payment
 
Employing unit issues a purchase order for direct payment of commercial carriers for moving expenses.