501.01 Travel Authorization
Each employee required to travel in the performance of official duties and entitled to reimbursement for expenses incurred shall have prior authorization from the department chair or other designated official for the travel. Approval may be in the form of a standing authorization in the case of individuals required to travel on a regular or continuous basis, a specific authorization in the case of those individuals who are required to make occasional trips, or specific authorizations for all out-of-state trips. Specific authorization shall be in such form as to indicate the itinerary, estimate of the cost of travel, mode of transportation, and the general purpose of travel. A copy shall be attached to the travel expense report. Travel to points just beyond the state border necessary for the accomplishment of in-state business shall not be construed as out-of-state travel for the purpose of these regulations. The design and provision of the form to properly document prior approval shall be the responsibility of each unit of the University System. It is believed that these travel practices will protect the best interests of the employee and the University System.
Reimbursement claims for subsistence (meals and lodging) are to be reported on travel expense statements by date, location, and amount for each meal and lodging claimed. An individual taking annual leave while away from headquarters on official business is not entitled to subsistence for the period of leave. With certain exceptions, reimbursement for subsistence within a 30-mile radius (or the county) of a person's home office or residence is not allowable. Out-of-state travel expenses to high cost areas for meals and lodging may exceed the following limits for travel within the state, but they should be reasonable and any unusual amounts should be justified. The federal per diem rates should be used for meal expensxes incurred in out-of state high cost areas.
Employees traveling overnight may be reimbursed for the actual cost of
meals within certain limits. Limits are based on the length of day which
an employee is officially on travel status.
|# of Meals Reimbursed||Meals||
Out of State
* In-State high cost areas are limited to: Metropolitan Atlanta (Cobb, Dekalb, Fulton and Gwinnett Counties), Augusta (Richmond County), Burnswick (Glynn County) and Savannah (Chatham County).
Taxes and tips are allowed; however, they should be included in the total expense for the meal. Generally, employees who travel overnight should not be reimbursed for three full meals on the day of departure or return. However, employees may be reimbursed for breakfast if they depart prior to 6:30 a.m. and may be reimbursed for dinner if they return after 7:30 p.m.
To be reimbursed for meals not associated with overnight travel, the employee must be more than thirty (30) miles away from the office for at least thirteen (13) hours or more. Traveling to another campus to teach does not entitle an employee to be reimbursed for any one meal unless he or she is gone for more than thirteen (13) hours. In order to be reimbursed for the noon meal while participating in a training session, the training must continue during the meal, and the employee must not leave the meeting site.
Reimbursement may be made for actual lodging expenses based on reasonable rates as determined by the institution authorizing the travel. All lodging claims must be documented by receipts. It is expected that reservations will be made in advance whenever practical, that minimum rate accommodations available will be utilized, that "deluxe" hotels and motels will be avoided, and that commercial rates will be obtained whenever possible. Many hotels and motels grant commercial rates upon request to state employees who show identification (see list of hotels and motels provided through D.O.A.S. Purchasing and Surplus Property Division). Charges exceeding reasonable rates must be explained and be justified if an employee stays at a higher cost motel where a meeting is held in order to avoid excessive transportation costs between a lower cost motel and the location of the meeting.
It should be noted that Act No. 621, passed during the 1987 legislative session, provides that Georgia state or local government officials or employees traveling on official business within the state of Georgia should not be charged county or municipal excise tax on lodging. This option excise tax is normally 3 percent but can be as much as 6 percent in some locations. Employees are required to submit a copy of Exemption of the Local Motel/Hotel Excise Tax Form when they register at a hotel. If a hotel refuses to accept the state tax-exempt form from the employee, the employee should pay the tax and claim it as an "unusual expense" on the travel expense statement.
When a room is shared with other state employees on travel status, reimbursement will be calculated, if practical, on a pro rata share of the total cost. A state employee on travel status, if accompanied by someone who is not a state employee on travel status, would be entitled to reimbursement at a single room rate.
Use of common carrier or a private aircraft will be left to the discretion of the institutional personnel responsible for authorizing travel. A traveler will be authorized to choose between a personal vehicle, a common carrier or private aircraft only after a careful analysis of the distance, timeliness, and overall cost factors of a trip have been considered. Reimbursement for the most economical mode of transportation, consistent with the purpose of the travel, will be authorized.
Reimbursement for transportation expenses incurred by use of personally-owned vehicles will be at the rate per mile as provided by law for actual miles traveled in the performance of official duties.
The initial point of departure during an employee's workweek shall be the individual's residence or headquarters, whichever is nearer the destination point. The initial point of departure on weekends or holidays, however, should be the individual's actual point of departure. Reimbursement will not be allowed for expenses other than those incurred by the employee in travel status; payments to friends or other individuals will not be allowed. When possible, employees should attempt to travel together to the same destination in one vehicle.
Actual odometer readings will be reported; however, personal mileage will be excluded in determining the mileage for which reimbursement may be made. Claims exceeding mileage computed by the most direct route from the point of departure to destination (due to field visits, picking up passengers, etc.) must be explained on the travel expense statement.
Use of commercially-leased vehicles will be left to the discretion of institutional personnel responsible for authorizing travel. Commercially-leased vehicles should be obtained from the state contracted rental agency according to the conditions of the state contract. Employees will be reimbursed for costs associated with official use of such vehicles.
501.0302 Common Carrier
Transportation by common carrier will be by scheduled plane or rail. Reimbursement will be made upon presentation of a ticket stub, receipts, or other documentary evidence of expenditure. According to law (1978 S.B. 73, Act 1369), officials or employees traveling by commercial air carrier will not be reimbursed for that portion of first class air fare which exceeds the amount of the next lowest fare for the flight on which such official or employee is traveling unless:
Super Saver Rates - When traveling by common carrier to conduct official State business, employees traveling to their destination earlier than necessary and/or delaying their return to avail the institution of reduced transportation rates may be reimbursed subsistence for additional travel days if, in the opinion of the appropriate authority, the amount saved in transportation costs due to the early and/or delayed travel is greater than the amount expended in salary and additional subsistence. Prior written approval of the appropriate authority is required.
Limousine or taxi service will be reimbursed between the individual's departure point and the common carrier's departure point, between the common carrier's arrival point and the individual's lodging or meeting place, and between the lodging and meeting places if at different locations. It is expected that limousine service will be utilized when available and when arrival or departure is during day-light hours. Although receipts are not necessary for such items of transportation, a point-to-point explanation should be required for each such item reimbursed. Baggage handling services (porterage) may be reimbursed when actually incurred in moving luggage into or out of lodging places and common carrier.
Employees traveling in state vehicles should purchase fuel at state owned facilities when feasible. All such purchases should be made with a state approved fuel card. If purchases cannot be made at state owned facilities then the state approved fuel cared should be utilized.
Employees sharing a ride with another state employee using either a state or personal vehicle, and not claiming reimbursement for mileage, should indicate in the automobile mileage record section of the expense statement the name of the person with whom they rode and the dates of the trips. Those utilizing state-owned aircraft should also indicate such as a mode of transportation.
501.0303 Private Aircraft
Reimbursement for the usage of private aircraft will be at the rate per mile as provided by law for automobiles for the most direct route from the employee's residence or headquarters to the destination point(s), whichever is nearer.
501.04 Miscellaneous Expense
Registration fees required for participation in workshops, seminars or conferences which an employee is directed and/or authorized to attend will be allowed when supported by a paid receipt or copy of check showing payment. Any part of a registration fee applicable to meals will be reported as meal expense and not as a registration fee if the costs can be separately identified.
Expenses for official telephone and telegraph messages which must be paid for the traveler are allowable. Postage expenses incurred relative to travel will be allowed.
Expenses for stationery, supplies, and stenographic or duplicating services may be allowable if reasonable. Any such claims should be accompanied by a written explanation and invoice. Claims for laundry, valet service, theater, entertainment, and alcoholic beverage will not be reimbursed.
501.05 Reimbursement Procedures
Responsibility for appropriate audit, approval, and reimbursement of travel expense statements shall be vested in the appropriate officials of the institution. All institutions are encouraged to process travel statements in an expeditious manner. Claims should be paid at least semi-monthly and more frequently if practicable.
501.06 Additional Information.
Individual employees may make travel arrangements through any travel agency of their choice as long as they pay the cost for air travel tickets, etc. The University has arranged for West Georgia Travel (770) 836-8200 to issue air travel tickets for our employees and to charge the cost to the University. On line reservations may be utilized with the employee incurring the expense and being reimbursed upon submitting expense statement.
When the Authorization to Travel form has been approved the employee may proceed to make travel reservations through either of the three agencies listed above. This form should be on file in the Purchasing Office prior to finalizing flight arrangements. Tickets are delivered to our Purchasing Office and employees may pick them up at their convenience. This procedure is necessary to ensure that common carrier charges to the University are based on approved travel authorizations.
The following individuals are authorized to approve both in-state and out-of-state travel for official business and for charges to the University for common carrier tickets issued by the three travel agencies for those reporting to them:
Registration fees may be prepaid by the University when requested.
The mileage rate for use of personal automobiles for official travel is $.28 as of July 1, 2000 .
Complete details of the travel procedures/regulations may be found at http://www.audits.state.ga.us/internet/