Handbook of Business Procedures
Reimbursements for transportation expenses include personal car mileage, commercial air, rented vehicle, mass transit, and private aircraft.
With the exception of tolls and parking expenses, reimbursement of mileage is inclusive of all expenses associated with the operation of a personally owned or leased vehicle. Employees can be reimbursed for travel at the rate listed on the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts' Travel Reimbursement Rates Web page.
1. Mileage Between Cities
For official point-to-point mileage you may use odometer readings or mileage computed by an online mapping tool. For travel paid with local funds, any online mapping tool may be used while travel paid with state funds can only be calculated using Mapquest.
- The voucher must state that travel occurred using a personally owned or leased motor vehicle.
- Travel locations must be identified on the voucher, and mileage must be itemized on a point-to-point basis. In other words, mileage is calculated from a starting point to an ending point using beginning and ending odometer readings or online mapping tool calculations.
2. Mileage Within a City
An employee can be reimbursed actual mileage for business travel within a city, including for travel between their home and the nearest airport or from the employee's place of employment to the airport.The number of miles reimbursed can be documented with either (a) actual odometer readings, (b) mileage computed by an online mapping tool (MapQuest is required for state funds), or, (c) by using the pre-determined mileage shown below (if applicable).
Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (ABIA)
Pickle Research Campus (PRC) (including WPR)
Lake Austin Centre (LAC)
Dell Pediatric Research Institute (DPRI)
An employee may be reimbursed for the mileage incurred by another person transporting the employee to the airport. The reimbursement may not exceed the reimbursement that would have been paid if the employee had driven himself or herself to the airport.
3. Multiple Travelers
Coordination of travel must occur when two to four employees employed by the same department travel from the same headquarters to the same duty point at the same time. When coordination of travel is required, only one of the employees may be reimbursed for mileage. However, mileage incurred to travel to a pick-up point by other employees may be reimbursed. Coordination of travel is not required if it is determined infeasible for business reasons.
- When coordination of travel is determined to be infeasible, a copy of that determination must be submitted with each traveler's voucher transmittal form. The determination must specifically say that coordination of travel is infeasible and list the business reasons.
Reimbursement is limited to the lower of average coach airfare and related expenses or mileage plus allowable meals and lodging. When additional employees are transported, the average coach airfare of each employee should be used in the comparison.
All travel agency assisted business-related air travel for university employees and students must be arranged through Anthony Travel or Corporate Travel Planners, the two university-contracted travel agencies. For more information, including the exception request process, refer to the airfare purchase policy on the Travel Management Services website.
Travelers may use an online reservation tool (e.g., Expedia, Southwest.com) in addition to the university’s online tool, Concur. If an online tool other than Concur is used, the purchase invoice submitted to Payment Services for reimbursement after the completion of the trip should include the traveler’s statement: Online selection is best value as consistent with institutional priorities.
The reimbursement for commercial air transportation may not exceed the cost of the lowest available airfare. First class, business class, or other premium class airfare will only be reimbursed at the coach class rate, unless Travel Management Services has issued an approved exception request, which are these six:
- Traveler has a health issue documented by a doctor
- Exception must be requested for each trip. Letter from your doctor must be sent to Travel Management Services office. Letters documenting chronic conditions can be held on file for one year but must be renewed yearly. (State and institutional fund accounts only)
- It is the only seat available on the flight, and the traveler must be on that flight
- Written documentation of business reason traveler must be on specific flight and written confirmation of last seat availability from a UT contracted travel agency is required. (state and institutional fund accounts only))
- It is the lowest available airfare
- Written documentation from a UT contracted travel agency is required to be sent to Travel Management Services. (state and institutional fund accounts only)
- The traveler has a fully executed contract or written agreement with the university that requires it.
- A copy of the written agreement must be sent to Travel Management Services with each request. (institutional fund accounts only)
- Another entity will reimburse the department for the airfare.
- Written confirmation from the other party is required to be sent to Travel Management Services. The department is responsible for ensuring the funds are reimbursed and deposited into the departmental account. (institutional funds only)
- Research grant allows it
- A copy of the applicable section of the grant must be sent to Travel Management Services with each request. (grant accounts only)
- In order for first class or business class airfare to be claimed, the voucher notes must state the date Travel Management Services approved the exception.
- The Travel Management Services exception approval request must be attached to the voucher.
When an employee combines business and personal air travel, reimbursement may not exceed the amount airfare would have been had no personal travel been included. So long as that limit is not exceeded, all airfare may be reimbursed. Federal taxes on airfare are reimbursable.
Reimbursement for Southwest Airline's EarlyBird Check-in fee is only allowed on local funds, but the cost of the airfare and EarlyBird fee combined must be less than alternative airfares. State funds may not be used to reimburse this ancillary fee. No other ancillary fee, including Southwest Airline’s Business Select fee, is reimbursable on local or state funds.
When an employee uses a rented vehicle for both personal business and state business, only the portion attributable to state business may be reimbursed. Rental expenses may not be reimbursed if the rental was necessary only because the employee combined personal and state business.
If two or more employees share a rented vehicle, only the employee who paid the cost of renting the vehicle may be reimbursed. The other employees may not be reimbursed for any costs associated with renting the vehicle.
Charges for liability insurance supplements, personal accident insurance, safe trip insurance, and personal effects insurance are not reimbursable. The charge for an additional driver is reimbursable only if it is for another state employee. A collision damage waiver or a loss damage waiver is reimbursable unless the waiver is included in the contracted rental rate.
Subject to changes in state law, rewards such as frequent flier miles or hotel rewards earned as a result of individual business travel may be retained by the employee. However, employees that arrange group travel for their department may not use rewards for personal travel. Arranging conferences and events with hotels is also considered group travel. Rewards generated through university group travel bookings must be used for future university group travel. It is the responsibility of the department to monitor that rewards generated through university group travel bookings are used for future university group travel. Rewards programs incentives must not influence individual business travel decisions.
An employee may be reimbursed for the cost of a buy one, get one free promotion. However, the amount of reimbursement is limited to the charges shown on the ticket with the employee's name.
Receipts are not required when traveling within a city by public transportation, such as bus, subway, other mode of mass transit, limousine, or network transportation driver. However, if public transportation is used for travel between cities, receipts are required.
The actual cost of transportation provided by a network transportation driver, such as Uber or Lyft, may be reimbursed if it was the lowest transportation available considering all relevant circumstances, such as economy rides called Lyft, Shared, Shared Saver, Lyft XL, Pool, UberX, and Uber XL but not premium rides called Lux, Lux Black, Lux Black XL, Uber Plus, and Uber Black.
The cost of limousine transportation or premium rides with network transportation drivers may be reimbursed only if it is the lowest transportation available considering all relevant circumstances.
Tips may not be reimbursed using state accounts. Tips may be reimbursed using local accounts, up to 20 percent. If submitting receipts for public transportation, the tip or gratuity is separated from the daily transportation amount and should be itemized in the “Other Travel” section of the voucher.
Employees holding a private or commercial aircraft license may not operate leased or privately owned aircraft in conjunction with official university business unless authorized by the Chancellor or his or her designee. More information is available at the UT System Board of Regents Rule 20601.
Some transportation expense reimbursements for faculty members may be paid using the Faculty Travel Grant account. For information, see the Faculty Travel Grants website.