Frequently Asked Questions

MILEAGE AND TRANSPORT        
INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL             

MILEAGE AND TRANSPORT        

When am I allowed to use my personally-owned vehicle (POV) and get reimbursed the current IRS mileage rate?

The current IRS mileage rate will be paid if: (1) mileage per day is 100 or less, (2) mileage per day exceeds 100 but use of the POV was cost beneficial to the College (proof of this must be attached to the TERV – see next FAQ), or (3) mileage per day exceeds 100 but the round-trip mileage averaged over the number of travel days is 100 or less per day (mileage must be broken down by day on the TERV).  If none of the 3 options above can be satisfied, the Fleet (reduced) rate will be paid for mileage reimbursement.  Note:  Including a MapQuest or Google Maps print-out will help the Travel Office validate all mileage claims and should include the departure and destination addresses and the total mileage.  If a mileage print-out is not provided with the TERV, the Departure and Destination addresses complete with zip code must be provided.

Can a non-employee receive mileage reimbursement?

Yes.  With department approval, anyone traveling on behalf of the College may receive reimbursement for mileage when using their personally owned vehicle (POV).

Do College Policy mileage rate requirements apply to guests and other non-employees?

No.  With department approval, Guests and non-employee Students may claim the current IRS rate regardless of miles traveled.

How do I prove that using my POV is cost beneficial to the College?

The Enterprise "Trip Cost Calculator" was developed to determine if using your POV is cost beneficial.  The Calculator will (1) tell you how much the Enterprise State Contract rate will be on an Economy/Compact Car Rental for a specified number of days and (2) calculate POV mileage at the current IRS and Fleet mileage rates.  The Calculator can be found under "RENTAL CAR MILEAGE CALCULATOR" on Procurement's website at:

                http://www.wm.edu/offices/procurement/procurement_processes/required_preferred_purchases/enterpriserentalcars/index.php

When we use the Enterprise Trip Cost Calculator to show that using the POV is cost-beneficial, how do we account for having to pick up a rental early or drop off a rental late because of the Enterprise location's hours of operation?

The Enterprise Trip Cost Calculator should include the actual number of days that the rental will be required.  Example:  You need to depart very early Monday morning for a meeting in DC at 9am and will return by 5pm same day.  The Enterprise location is open from 8am-8pm on weekdays, 8am-Noon on Saturday, and closed on Sunday.  The number of rental days you use would be 3 days because you would need to pick up the car Saturday and return it Monday.

Does the Enterprise Trip Cost Calculator include the cost of fuel that must be purchased to fill the rental prior to returning the vehicle?

No.  You will need to print the Enterprise Trip Cost Calculator and add the amount estimated to fill the rental prior to returning the vehicle.  The Travel Office uses the following formula to calculate the estimated fuel.  "Total roundtrip mileage / 25 miles per gallon (for an economy car) x current average cost per gallon = Estimated Fuel."

When do I need to attach the Enterprise Trip Cost Calculator to the TERV?

The Enterprise Cost Calculator should only be attached to the TERV if the traveler is requesting full mileage for POV because it was cost-beneficial to the College.

For mileage reimbursement, can the department pay the lower rate for mileage even when the full rate is allowed?

Yes, the department can always be stricter on Policy than the College regulations allow.

When renting a vehicle, do I have to use the Enterprise/National State Contract?

The State contracted with the Enterprise/National Car Rental Agency in an effort to save costs by getting a lower rate for compact/economy vehicles.  College employees must use Enterprise for the lowest rate when renting the car from VA.  In addition, the State contract must also be used when renting a vehicle outside of VA, regardless of cost.  Should an employee not use the State Contract, they will NOT be covered under the State’s Insurance Policy.  Employees making travel arrangements for incoming guests and students that will require a rental car must consider reserving cars using the Enterprise contract to save the College money.

When I rent a car, am I covered under the College's Insurance Policy?

All employees are covered for rental cars within the contiguous 48 states under the College's insurance policy as long as they use the Enterprise/National State Contract.  Rental insurance options are disallowed for employees when renting stateside.   Individuals traveling outside of the territorial US (including Alaska, Hawaii, Canada, and Puerto Rico) are required to purchase minimum Liability and Collision.  Insurance reimbursement for should only include Liability Damage Waiver (LDW) and Collision Damage Waiver (CDW).

When renting a car for a non-employee, is optional insurance allowed?

Yes, if the rental is used for College business and the department approves the rental reimbursement.  For Guests and non-employee Students, options for LDW (minimum Liability) and CDW (minimum Collision) are allowed.

Can a traveler rent a larger vehicle when needed?

The College Policy allows only an economy/compact car rental.  However, the College realizes that there may be times when a larger vehicle is needed.  If the traveler can justify (provide a reasonable explanation) why the larger vehicle was warranted, the Travel Office will reimburse the expense.

If someone chooses to purchase a rental car upgrade, GPS or other disallowed options on a car rental, is the entire rental charge disallowed or just the additional costs?

If the traveler chooses an upgraded vehicle without proper justification, the travel office will reimburse the traveler based on the State's Enterprise Rental cost for an economy car.  In addition, all optional items purchased and the appropriate sales tax will be disallowed.

What documentation is required if the traveler is requesting gas and what code do I use for gas?

Gas can only be reimbursed for Rental or State vehicles.  Only mileage reimbursement is allowed for a POV.  To be reimbursed for gas, the TERV must include (1) an original, itemized gas receipt and (2) a copy of the final Rental Receipt or a notation of which State vehicle was used (model and license #).  Gas for Rental Vehicles must be coded to 712830 (Travel, Public Carriers).  Gas for State Vehicles is coded to 712840 (Travel, State Owned or Leased Vehicles).  Note:  The traveler can go to the Enterprise website and key in their driver's license number to pull up and print or email the receipt.

If a metro taxicab uses an automated fare system that adds 20% tip or more to the bill, are we able to be reimbursed for tips over 15%?

No.  College Policy for transport tips is a maximum 15%.

What happens if an airline upgrades the seating at no charge to the traveler?

Complimentary seating upgrades are not an issue unless the airfare receipt indicates additional charges for the upgraded seating class.

When do I need to provide my flight itinerary?

An airfare Receipt/Flight Itinerary is mandatory if you are asking for airfare reimbursement.  The Receipt must include detailed costs of the flight, proof of payment, and seating class that indicates Coach or Economy fare.  If you are not requesting reimbursement for airfare, but you are claiming mileage reimbursement to the airport, a flight itinerary is required to verify mileage.

Are there circumstances where business class fares (air or rail) are acceptable?

Per College Policy, for Airfare:

  • When it does not cost more than the lowest available tourist/coach fare (comparison must be attached to travel voucher), or
  • For travel to Western Europe if the business meeting is conducted within three hours of landing, or
  • For transoceanic, intercontinental trips involving flight-time of more than eight consecutive hours, or
  • If the traveler pays the difference.

Per College Policy, for Rail:

  • When it does not cost more than the lowest available tourist/coach fare (comparison must be attached to travel voucher), or
  • When reserved coach seats are not offered on the route, or
  • If the traveler pays the difference.


Are rail tickets purchased from Amtrak Acela Express reimbursable?

Acela Express is the elite line of Amtrak and only provides business class seating.  Business class seating is not permitted by the College unless one or more of the above guidelines are satisfied.  If a ticket on Acela was purchased, justification must be provided stating why the expense is considered “reasonable and necessary.”

 
INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL             

What must I do if the TERV will include foreign receipts?           

Foreign Receipts must be translated and converted to USD.  Adequate translation will include (1) type of expense (restaurant, taxi, etc.), (2) explanation of expense and how it relates to business travel (business meal purpose, taxi fare from/to), (3) the date of the expense (lodging must include arrival/departure dates) and (4) the receipt amount.  The foreign currency for the receipt must be converted to USD using "Oanda.com" or a comparable foreign currency exchange website.  The conversion date used must be the actual transaction date (purchase or payment date) for the receipt.  Note:  A copy of the Currency Conversion for each receipt must be printed and attached behind the receipt within the TERV.  If the receipts are small, you may want to attach them to the bottom of the Conversion print-out.

When traveling to under-developed countries, there are many times we do not get proper receipts or don't get a receipt at all.  What do we need to do for documentation?

When traveling to under-developed or 3rd world countries, the Travel Office understands that there may be times when you do not get proper receipts.  The burden is put on the traveler to maintain proper documentation for any expense where a proper receipt was not obtained.  The Travel Office recommends (1) prior to travel, purchase a cash receipt book and complete a cash receipt each time a proper receipt is not provided during travel, noting the date, the amount, the currency, and the purpose for the expense and (2) maintain a daily spreadsheet of expenses without proper receipts.  If this is done routinely, by the time the traveler departs the country, the documentation necessary for reimbursement will have been obtained.

What do you do if the City is not listed In the International Lodging & Per Diem Schedule for the Country where the travel will take place?

The Per Diem schedule for each country includes an "Other" category.  If the city for your travel is not listed on the Country's schedule, you should use the rates for the “Other “category.

If you are traveling overseas and it takes more than a day to arrive to your destination and return to home base, how is the per diem calculated for the travel departure/return travel days?

For Per Diem, there should be only 1 departure day and 1 return day calculated at the 75% travel day rate as long as travel is continuous (at no point do you return to home base).  Travel days are the days you depart home base for your travel destination or leave your destination to return home (the last day eligible for per diem on the return day is the day you leave for the airport).  Per Diem for the departure travel day should be calculated based on the location where you will eventually spend the night upon arrival at your destination.  Calculate 75% of meals for the location and add in the incidentals.  Per Diem for the return day is calculated the same way only it is based on where you spent the previous night.  

Can international airfare be purchased through an international airline (Fly America Act)?

The traveler is expected to purchase the airfare that is the most economical for the College.  However, if the airfare expenses fall under Sponsored Program funds, the traveler must adhere to the “Fly America Act” which states "you must ensure that all flights, where possible, are scheduled on U.S. flag carriers or on foreign air carriers that code share with a U.S. flag carrier."   When in doubt, you should request approval from the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) prior to purchasing the airfare.  If OSP will not approve the purchase, the Travel Office cannot reimburse the expense.