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Third Party Lodging Policy Update


Policy Changes

Full Description

TO:                 WM Colleagues

FROM:           Ruth Erb, Managing Director Accounting Operations


DATE:           February 3, 2020

Dear Colleagues,

There are policy changes that I need to share with you.

NEW POLICY - Third Party Lodging (i.e. Airbnb, VRBO, Homeaway)

Hotels and other commercial properties carry insurance that covers their guests in case of injury or property loss. The type of properties offered via Third Party Lodging and similar services vary widely in the type of coverage available for guests (if they offer any at all).  Because of this, the University does not recommend its use for business travel.

Despite this, we recognize that in limited instances this option might best suit the needs of faculty and staff traveling internationally.  For international travel, there may be occasions where Third Party Lodging provides a better alternative given limitations on hotel or other commercial options.

If you choose to utilize these services, please be aware:

  1. The University prohibits the use of State Funds to pay for these services with the exception of Sponsored Programs projects subject to sponsors’ restrictions.
  2. The University cannot offer funds including private funds in advance (pre-payment) for these services.
  3. The University prohibits the use of the Small Purchase Credit Card (SPCC) to either pre-pay or process the final bill for these services.
  4. These expenses must be paid personally by the traveler and be reimbursed by the University.  All reimbursements must comply with University reimbursement procedures and limitations.
  5. The user of these services accepts personal responsibility and all liability associated with any incident that may occur during their stay.
  6. If the employee traveling on university business encounters losses due to issues with his or her reservation, the university will not pay for those losses if additional lodging is required.
  7. Please note employees will not be reimbursed for these accommodations if traveling domestically unless no commercial options are available; documentation to support is required.
  8. This policy exception does not extend to student travel. Students are prohibited from using Third Party Lodging while on official university business.

Here are a few examples of how the rule applies: 

International Travel – Employee or Employee traveling with Students (Employee is the one receiving reimbursements)

Domestic Travel – Employee or Employee traveling with Students (Employee is the one receiving reimbursements)

International or Domestic Students Traveling Alone or in Students Groups

Employee may at his/her discretion use the services of the third party lodging.  Employee will fully pay for services and seek reimbursement after the fact.  Allowable funding is Federal Grants or Local Funds

Employee may only use the services of the third party lodging when “there are no conventional lodging facilities in the area (e.g., in remote areas) or when conventional facilities are in short supply because of an influx of attendees at a special event (e.g., international sporting event). Proof of non-availability is mandatory.  Lack of proof will result in non-payment; no exceptions.  Allowable funding is Federal Grants or Local Funds

This policy exception does not extend to student travel. 

IRS CHANGES: Congress Repeals Nonprofit Parking Tax

Under Internal Revenue Code section 512(a)(7), which was enacted as part of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, required all transportation fringe benefits such as parking be taxed to the employer.  In response, W&M discontinued pre-tax parking benefits to employees.  The 2019 Taxpayer Certainty and Disaster Act has repealed this code section.  In response, the university will again provide the pre-tax parking benefit which will be effective Pay 3 of 2020 which is February 14, 2020.