How Do I Get Reimbursed for Travel, Entertainment and Other Expenses?
The Direct Entry System – is a self-entry reimbursement system for reporting and requesting reimbursement. There are three sections in the reimbursement system - Travel, Entertainment and Other Expenses. Other expenses are any expenses not related to Travel or Entertainment, i.e. Conference fees, computer supplies, general supplies, etc.
Please Note: If you are a student that is not employed by UC Berkeley, or you are a visitor, please contact the department Financial Analyst for assistance.
For all reimbursements you will need to:
- Submit original, itemized receipts.
- Submit expense reports timely (within 45 days) and respond promptly to requests for details and documentation.
- Know the funding chartstring. A chartstring is used to charge the expense to a specific fund. If you are using sponsored funds, such as contracts and grants, you can look-up your chartstrings in PI Portfolio or ask your Research Administrator. If the department is funding, please contact the department Financial Analyst for the chartstring.
How to Create a Reimbursement for Purchases of Goods and Services
How to Create an Entertainment Reimbursement Report
How to Check the Status of Your Reimbursement Report
Step-by-Step - How to log into PI Portfolio to Find Your Chartstring
- Where Can I Get Help About Chartstrings?
- A chartstring indicates the source of funds that will be used to pay for the expense(s).
- Chartstring information is entered on the Totals tab in the online reimbursement system.
- This instructional video on how to submit an expense report explains how to enter a chartstring (fast-forward to the 5:40 mark).
- If you do not know the chartstring to be used, please contact your PI, your Department RA or Financial Analyst.
- Why Do I Need A Business Purpose?
The IRS requires sufficient records to document that the expenses for which the university is paying are related to a legitimate activity from which the university will benefit. A good statement of business purpose for the trip will answer who, what, when, where and why. Just saying ‘research,’ ‘attend conference’ or ‘donor meeting’ is usually not sufficient. Travelers may also be asked to provide a business justification for particular expenses.
- Is A Credit Card Statement An Acceptable Receipt?
A valid receipt will show specifics about the purchase – what was purchased, when, where, the amount, and proof of payment. Generally, the person making the purchase possesses the receipt, which substantiates who should be reimbursed. A receipt is also needed for conference registration fees and when any single expense is more than $75. If a detailed receipt is not available for these types of expenses, the purchaser should provide a copy of the credit card statement as proof of payment along with a written explanation in lieu of a receipt citing what was purchased, when, where, and why a receipt cannot be provided.
- How Do I Submit A Travel Reimbursement?
Use the Direct Entry System to report and request reimbursement for Travel expenses.
- Reimbursement For Travel Impacted As A Result Of The Coronavirus (COVID-19)
See how to request reimbursement for travel expenses impacted by coronavirus:
- How Do I Book Travel?
The University has contracts with several major airlines, hotels, and car rental companies to provide discounts and other benefits to travelers. Use the UC Travel web portal (Connexxus) to take advantage of these programs.
- Do I Need Travel Insurance?
If you booked a flight using the UC Travel web portal, Connexxus, your flight is automatically covered. However, If you purchased the airfare directly from an airline, you may want to consider getting travel insurance.
- I’m adding a personal destination to the beginning and/or end of my business trip. How do I calculate the appropriate reimbursement amount for airfare?
- The university cannot pay for personal expenses. Therefore, this type of airline reservation must not be purchased with Direct Bill.
- To document the expenses related to business travel, obtain a comparison quote for round-trip airfare to/from the business location at the time of booking. The quote must reflect travel dates that coincide with the meeting/conference dates.
- If a quote was not obtained at the time of booking, contact the Travel office (firstname.lastname@example.org to obtain a comparable amount that will be used for the allowable airfare expense related to the business portion of the trip.
- When Do I Need a Receipt?
Receipts are required for registration fees, airfare, lodging, and car rental expenses regardless of the amount. Approvers will review the receipts to ensure that it was actually the traveler who paid for the expense and that non-business related charges (i.e., hotel spa services, child car seat rental, etc.) are not included. Receipts are also required for any expense of $75 or more. Auditors expect to see receipts to support the payment of a business expense; if a payment is not proven to be business related, it may be disallowed and, as a result, taxable. It is always in the traveler’s best interest to keep records of expenses incurred and reimbursed.
- When Are Travel expense reports / reimbursements Requests Due?
Per UC policy, expense reports must be submitted within 45 days after the end of the trip. When a trip lasts more than 90 days, a quarterly report is required. Payments of reimbursement requests submitted after 45 days may be reported as taxable income or may not be paid at all, considering the circumstances and funding sources. A trip expense report must be submitted even if no reimbursement is due the traveler (i.e., when the only expense is direct billed airfare).
- How do I submit my Entertainment Reimbursement request?
Use the Direct Entry System to report and request reimbursement for Entertainment expenses.
This online reimbursement system is a web-based application used for both Travel and Entertainment expense reporting and reimbursement requests.
- What Should I know If I Am The Host?
If you entertain guests as a matter of official UC Berkeley business, it is your responsibility to read and understand the policies and guidelines before the event. If you exceed the per-person maximum allowable expense for meals, or the expense is unallowable, you may not be reimbursed. Therefore it is important to understand all of the policies. If you have any questions about your responsibilities as the host, or about university policy, please contact the department Financial Analyst.
- What Are The Current Per-Person Maximum Allowable Expense For Each Meal?
If you entertain guests as a matter of official UC Berkeley business, read the guidelines below for details about the per-person maximum allowable expense for meals.
The maximum amount per person that can be reimbursed for allowable entertainment occasions varies depending on the type of meal served.
Meal Type/ Per person Max
Lunch --- $47
Dinner --- $81
Light Refreshment --- $19
- When Are Entertainment Expenses Allowable?
When an employee entertains on behalf of UC Berkeley, the entertainment activity must be directly related to UC Berkeley business and should not personally benefit the host or other employees.
The University may provide meals or light refreshment in support of the University's educational program, such as:
- Meals or light refreshments provided in connection with a class, study hall or other academic-based activity.
- Meals or light refreshments in connection with student orientation programs, commencement.
- Meals or light refreshments provided in connection with a student government meeting, association meeting or other student meeting.
- Meals or light refreshments may be reimbursed for meeting between students and faculty or administrators.
- What Expenses Are Not Allowable?
Some entertainment expenditures cannot be reimbursed because of the nature of the event or expenditure. These unallowable expenditures are detailed below.
- Entertainment expenses that are lavish or extravagant under the circumstances.
- Expenses that represent additional taxable income to an employee or student under IRS regulation.
- Monetary contributions to a political campaign or candidate.
- Entertainment expenses for:
- Employee birthdays
- Farewell Gatherings (excluding retirements for an employee with at least 5 years of service).
- The purchase of property or services for personal use or for a non-business reason.
- Expenditures using restricted funds that are not permitted under the terms governing those funds.
- When two or more employees choose to go to lunch together to continue their business as an incidental part of the meal, when the meal is reciprocal in nature or when the meeting could have been scheduled during regular business hours.
- Business meals that are frequent or occur on a routine basis, such as light refreshments provided at weekly departmental staff meetings. This type of expenditure is treated as taxable income by the IRS.