The State of New York Office of the State Comptroller (OSC) and SUNY policies govern official travel and travel reimbursement. Actual and necessary expenses while in travel status supported by receipts and established per-diem rates for lodging and food may be reimbursed, as well as personal car mileage (PCM) at prevailing reimbursement rates when a campus fleet vehicle is not available.
All travel reimbursement is subject to supervisory approval and availability of funds.
At times, travel may be funded through Research Foundation grants. As a legally independent corporate entity, the Research Foundation is not required to comply with New York State policies but rather adheres to sponsor mandates. Wherever practical, Research Foundation travel guidelines parallel those of SUNY and are described separately in the Project Director Guide issued by the R.F. Fiscal Department of the Business Office.
The cost of airline tickets can no longer be centrally billed to the College’s Business Travel Account (BTA). A traveler may continue to secure an airline ticket through one of the State’s Travel Agents but will need to charge the cost of the airline ticket to their personal credit card. A BTA number will no longer be necessary.
A travel advance may be requested up to 4 weeks prior to the anticipated date of the airline ticket purchase to reimburse the traveler for the airfare costs charged to their personal credit card. The traveler should send a completed and approved Travel Authorization form to Accounts Payable to secure the advance.
Travelers are encouraged to purchase airline tickets through the one of State Contract Air Travel Services Travel Agents. For our region, the travel agents are Advantage Travel and Direct Travel.
When contacting one of the state contract travel agents, Advantage Travel at 888-444-4240 or Direct Travel at 800-774-0655, please identify yourself as a SUNY Cortland employee, and proceed with the flight information. The agency will offer schedule and fare options. The fares offered will include the least expensive flight, the most direct routing, etc., and the traveler should select the least expensive option that is consistent with traveler's time schedule.
If a traveler is able to secure better pricing for airfare on their own than the contract agent can provide a reimbursement can take place provided a justification is furnished showing that there is a cost savings over using the State Contract Agent. This justification must include a written price quote from the contract vendor on the flight showing the price they would charge for a similar ticket as well as the dollar amount of savings.
To ensure that they are getting the best price for their airfare, travelers should research different methods of securing airline tickets to have an idea of what is a reasonable price before contacting one of the contract travel agents. Travelers should also ensure that the pricing they are getting is for a similar ticket including same departure and return times, same travel routes, refund capability, etc.
Note: The state will not pay for any extra services, such as seat upgrades, priority boarding, more than one piece of checked luggage on domestic flights, and 2 on international flights. Flights should be booked from the most cost effective airport, not based on personal preference.
The above procedures apply to: State operations, DIFR (Dormitory Income Fund Reimbursable), IFR (Income Fund Reimbursable) accounts, and joint committee awards (JDA, IDA, DRESCHER, etc.). Excludes: Research Foundation, ASC, and College Foundation.
For any questions please contact the Purchasing and Accounts Payable Office at ext. 2407.
Commercial Transportation (airfare, rail fare, etc):
For faculty-related searches and all other searches financed by the Provost’s Office, candidates will cover their air travel costs and be fully reimbursed. Please contact the provost’s staff assistant at Ext. 5421 regarding payment of bills. For more detailed instructions and procedures, view Procedures for Direct Billing and Reimbursement (PDF).
As part of the discussion regarding air travel arrangements, campus contacts will advise candidates about making their arrangements through our local travel agency, AAA Travel (607-257-3557). In case a candidate has other options, or plans to use another form of commercial transportation, s/he should consider reasonable deals and notify department contact about the price before finalizing the ticket purchase.
Travel reimbursement to candidates is processed using a Standard Voucher found on the Accounts Payable website.
If you have any questions regarding the above procedures please call Accounts Payable at ext. 2407.
Campus authorization to travel is required for official State business, whether or not cost reimbursement will occur. This provides proper documentation to show that the trip was authorized, and it protects the employee in the event of accident or death.
The traveler must complete a Travel Authorization Request Form stating destination, travel dates, purpose of travel, account code to be charged and other necessary information. The form must be completed by the traveler, signed by the appropriate supervisor and forwarded to Accounts Payable prior to travel unless an item for special consideration, noted below.
In cases of non-overnight, local (under 35 miles) travel incidental to on-campus activities, often of an unscheduled nature, it may be impractical to process a formal Travel Authorization Request. In this circumstance, it is suggested that notification to one's immediate supervisor occur to document the official nature of the travel in protection of the individual. The following are examples of the above:
Travel occurring while on leave (sabbatical, etc.) or during non-obligation periods (e.g., during intersessions/spring breaks/summers) would normally be considered personal and therefore exempt from this procedure unless a direct College responsibility. Similarly, jury duty or other compensated activities normally are considered personal and exempt from this procedure.
Please allow at least two weeks processing time for the travel authorization before your scheduled departure date.
If a fleet vehicle is not available the employee should rent a compact vehicle as it is generally less costly than using a personal vehicle. Any other vehicle type requires approved justification. New York State law imposes a ten-day limitation on the use of rented automobiles used within New York State. There is no duration limitation for out-of-state travel. Car rentals should only be made for SUNY Cortland employees.
Note the following excerpt from published OGS Bureau of Insurance Guidelines regarding Rental Vehicles.
What you need to know as a State Employee (as this is for state employees only)
New York State currently has an exclusive agreement with Enterprise/Hertz Car Rental, which offers discounted rates to all State employees on official business.
The NYS Vehicle Rental Contractor for Cortland County is Enterprise Rent-a-Car (607-758-9000), 991 State Route 13, Cortland, NY 13045.
Please call the Purchasing and Accounts Payable Office to get the account number for direct billing prior to making reservations.
Registration fees for conferences may be paid directly by the traveler with reimbursement via Travel Voucher after the trip when supported by a proper registration receipt, or may be paid via travel advance or purchase order prior to the conference.
To Secure Registration via Purchase Order:
* Note: Actual payment for a registration fee via a purchase order cannot be processed until after the conference is held. Conference attendees should check at the point of making arrangements to attend if a purchase order will secure registration.
To Secure Registration via Travel Advance:
Note: Travel Advance checks must be made payable to the individual, not to the organization holding the conference, thus requiring personal registration payment. All advances made for registration fees must adhere to the travel advance limits of $400 maximum, $19 minimum.
Employees on business trips lasting one day or less, but more than 35 miles from their official station and place of residence, may be eligible for meal reimbursement.
Based on departure and return times, travelers are entitled to reimbursement for breakfast if they have to leave before 7 AM, and/or for dinner if they return after 7:00 PM.
The current day trip meal reimbursement rates are as follows (no meal receipts required):
Breakfast - $5
Dinner - $12
(Lunch is never reimbursed)
Note: Day trip meal reimbursements are reportable as income to the IRS and are subject to withholding taxes.
Individuals traveling abroad on official business must adhere to all of the previously mentioned guidelines with regard to travel authorization, advances, and receipt requirements. Per diem rates for foreign travel follow the rates established by the Federal government in the Maximum Travel Per Diem Allowances for Foreign Areas published monthly.
The foreign travel rates provide for lodging costs up to a maximum amount and an allowance for meals. If a traveler is not entitled to the full per-diem, the meal allowance is divided into 80 percent (80%) for dinner and 20 percent (20%) for breakfast.
Travelers to foreign countries should document the exchange rate for the applicable foreign currency during the dates of travel because conversion to American dollars is required for reimbursement. These exchange rates are later verified by Accounts Payable when the travel voucher is processed.
Hotel reservations are normally made by the traveler. Hotel/motels within New York State should be advised that the business travel is sales tax exempt and that a Tax Exemption Certificate (PDF) will be provided. "State rates" should be requested.
The traveler must obtain an itemized receipt in order to gain reimbursement.
These guidelines are supplemental to SUNY Procedures and are to be filed with the New York State Office of the State Comptroller.
The following procedures are fully approved by the State University of new York College at Cortland Intercollegiate Athletics Board (CIAB):
The following procedure is to be used to secure local lodging for interview candidates, expedite payments to lodging vendors, designate the name of the candidate, and certify tax exempt status.
Please Note: For faculty-related and all other searches that are financed by the Provost’s Office please contact the Provost’s Staff Assistant at ext. 5421 regarding payment of bills. For more detailed instructions and procedures view Procedures for Direct Billing and Reimbursement (PDF)
Note: Candidates are expected to pay for all telephone calls, cable-movie rentals and all other incidental charges at the time of checkout.
Please Note: The Alumni House is the preferred location for individuals coming to the campus for interviews.
In addition, the following hotels have agreed to accept Purchase Orders and bill the College for candidate lodging charges:
188 Clinton Ave
Cortland, NY 13045
Fairfield by Marriott Inn & Suites
3707 Route 281
Cortland, NY 13045
Ramada Cortland Hotel & Conference Center
2 River Street
Cortland, NY 13045
Meal Allowances per the President's Cabinet, the allowable rates for candidate-related meal expenses are as follows:
Exceptions to this policy apply to searches for members of the President's Council or at the discretion of the appropriate vice president.
To protect the traveler and the institution, it is important to establish the official business nature of the travel prior to departure, whether or not costs are reimbursed. Unless formally stated elsewhere (specific reference in performance program, etc.) a fully approved Travel Authorization Request is necessary to satisfy this requirement.
Active New York State employee status normally demonstrates official business activity. However, official business may occur while in leave status, student status, Research Foundation employment status, or volunteer status. In these circumstances it is especially important to formally establish the official business purpose and authorization for travel.
The Purchasing and Accounts Payable Office administers travel and may be contacted regarding any of these guidelines at ext. 2407.
In accordance with New York State Accounting System Procedures, Volume XI, Section 3.0600, Page 2, SUNY Cortland is to designate the official station for all employees for the purposes of official travel and reimbursement, in the best interest of the State.
Except when otherwise designated, all SUNY Cortland employees will have as their designated official station SUNY Cortland Main Campus, Cortland, New York 13045.
Some College employees whose primary and ongoing official work site is other than the main campus may have an official station designation as that work site. In some cases, a person's legal residence may be designated as official station so long as that residence is at least 35 miles from the main campus or branch campus site of SUNY Cortland, and no regular attendance at a main or branch campus is required as a condition of employment.
To have an assigned official station other than the main campus, the supervisor of the employee should designate in writing, gain the respective Vice Presidential approval, file with the Purchasing and Accounts Payable Office, and advise the employee.
When in travel status, the designated official station shall be used in all time and reimbursement calculations, except that when travel commences from an employee's residence, the departure point shall be the residence or official station, whichever is closer to the destination. In this way, only actual costs will be reimbursed consistent with policy and tax law intent.
No transportation costs will be allowed between any employee's home and his or her official station.
NOTE: To be eligible for reimbursement of meal and lodging expenses, the traveler must be in continuous travel at least three hours with a destination greater than 35 miles from the employee's residence and official station.
When an employee is in overnight travel status, reimbursement for lodging and meal expenses can be made using one of two methods:
Method I (Un-Receipted Method)
This method provides for a flat rate allowance for meals, lodging and incidental expenses regardless of where lodging is obtained, including lodging with relatives or friends. No receipts are required. To be entitled to the full per diem, you must be in overnight travel status and eligible for both breakfast and dinner.
|New York City and Nassau, Suffolk, Rockland and Westchester Counties||$50.00|
|Cities of Albany, Binghamton, Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse and their respective surrounding metropolitan areas||$40.00|
|All other locations in New York State||$35.00|
|Out of State (includes any out of state tax on lodging)||$50.00|
Travelers using this un-receipted method are also eligible for an additional $5.00 for breakfast on the day of departure if they leave before 7:00 am. They are also eligible for an additional $12.00 for dinner on the day of return if they return after 7:00 pm.
This allows for reimbursement of actual lodging costs up to a specific amount, plus an allowance for meals. The federal domestic per diem amounts are based on the area of your work assignment and are revised annually (every October 1st). The breakdown of the meal per diem rates listed on the GSA website can be found here.
For each day the traveler is in overnight travel status, the traveler is eligible for reimbursement for lodging, up to a maximum lodging per diem, and a per diem allowance for meals. The meal per diem is for dinner the first night and breakfast the following day.
Travelers using this method are also eligible for an additional per diem for breakfast if they leave before 7:00 AM on the initial day, and/or an additional dinner per diem if they return after 7:00 PM on the last day of travel. In these cases, breakfast and/or dinner will be reimbursed up to the maximum amount of the meal per diem allowance specified for the particular area of lodging.
The reimbursement amounts are based on rates established by the Federal government. These rates are established by county, so the county must be indicated on the Travel Voucher, as well as the city.
No taxes should be paid within New York State. For travel within New York State, a Tax Exemption Certificate (ST-129) (PDF) should be used. For out-of-state travel, local and state taxes will be reimbursed in addition to the per diem amount.
On occasion, travelers may be unable to find a hotel at a rate that does not exceed the maximum federal lodging per diem rate for the location of travel. If that occurs, travelers must obtain prior approval (see Request for Over-the-Maximum Travel Rates). Whenever possible, agency sponsored conferences should be arranged at facilities honoring the federal per diem rates for meals and lodging. When meals and lodging are provided as a part of an agency sponsored conference or event, additional reimbursement is not permitted.
If opting to use a personally owned vehicle, when a fleet or rental vehicle is available, reimbursement will be the lesser of the rental car cost or the personal car mileage as determined by using the following NYS OGS Trip Calculator.
A copy of the OGS trip calculator must be attached to the employee’s Travel Authorization when the estimated mileage of the trip is over 100 miles. Please view New York State employee travel policies and procedures.for details.
Reimbursement for personal car mileage is made in accordance with the rates established by the employee's respective bargaining agreement, with some units basing reimbursement on the standard allowance established by the Internal Revenue Service. These rates change periodically and will be verified by the Purchasing and Accounts Payable Office when vouchered.
Personal car mileage reimbursement rates can be accessed at the Standard Mileage Rates Website
To document personal car mileage for reimbursement, travelers must complete a Statement of Automobile Travel (Form AC 160) detailing the mileage claimed, sign, and attach to the Travel Reimbursement Voucher.
Note the following excerpt from the published OGS Bureau of Insurance Guidelines regarding Conditions of Use of Personal Vehicles:
Conditions of use of personal vehicles for personnel authorized to use their personal vehicle on official State business, the following conditions and/or State coverage policies apply.
If you use your personal vehicle on a regular basis for state business you should contact your insurance agent or company to ensure that you are properly covered.
To be reimbursed for certain travel-related expenses, original receipts must be provided as follows:
Original receipt showing:
a) Name(s) of the traveler(s)
b) Name, address, and telephone number of lodging establishment
c) Number of people in the room
d) Rate paid
e) Dates of occupancy
NOTE: If lodging is shared, the name(s) of the other employee(s) must be included on the voucher and each employee must claim only their share of the actual lodging cost. If lodging is shared with a non-employee (i.e., spouse), the employee must document that the rate claimed is the rate for single room occupancy.
(Bus, Train, Airplane)
Original ticket passenger receipt detailing passenger name, travel dates, and amount of ticket
Parking, Taxi or Shuttle Fares
Original receipt showing rental times
Tolls - EZ Pass
EZ Pass statement with charges highlighted
Tolls - Cash
Original receipt which lists the date, number of gallons purchased, name of the vendor, and amount
Day Trip Meals (receipted)
Original detailed receipt showing what was ordered
Personal Mileage Reimbursement
The Office of the State Comptroller's Bulletin G-180 extends to Agency Chief Fiscal officers the authority to approve exceptions to standard travel rates when deemed necessary. On this campus, review for pre-approval of over-the-maximum requests are performed by the Assistant Director of Purchasing and Accounts Payable after approval by the travelers appropriate Vice President. All such requests (including justifications) must be made in writing BEFORE the trip and a signature-approved copy of the request must be forwarded with the travel voucher for reimbursement after travel completion (Over-the-Max Form).
The Research Foundation for SUNY extends to R.F. Operations Managers the authority to approve exceptions to standard travel rates when deemed appropriate and necessary. On this campus, review for pre-approval of over-the-maximum requests are performed by the Vice President for Finance and Management. All such requests (including justification) must be made in writing BEFORE the trip and a signature-approved copy of the request must be forwarded with the travel voucher for reimbursement after travel completion.
Please reference the Research Foundation Travel site.
When traveling within the State of New York on official business, lodging charges may be exempted from State and Local Sales Taxes by presenting a Tax Exemption Certificate (Form ST 129 PDF) to the lodging vendor at the time of check-in. These certificates are available from the Accounts Payable Office and should be acquired prior to travel since reimbursement for Sales Tax is not allowed by OSC when lodging is secured within the State.
Federal lodging per diem rates are now for room rates only and do not include taxes. When traveling outside of New York State on official business, reimbursement of actual costs paid for lodging taxes may be reimbursed to the traveler as a miscellaneous expense, subject to funding availability.
Travel Advances are available but must be requested prior to travel to cover per diem costs of meals and lodging as well as registration fees in cases where a purchase order is not accepted (see Conference Registration Fees).
If a travel advance is requested, an Application and Account for Travel Advance form must be completed with appropriate signatures and forwarded to the Accounts Payable Office. A Travel Authorization Request form must be on file with the Accounts Payable Office for issuance of the advance.
A travel advance should be limited to what can be reasonably estimated to be the traveler’s expected business travel expenses.
Please note: Advance requests should not be less than $75 or exceed funding limitations imposed by the traveler’s department. Travel advances exceeding $400 are acceptable but Accounts Payable does require a 10-day notice to allow for processing through the NYS Treasury.
Advances will be issued by Accounts Payable approximately three days before the date of travel unless otherwise noted on Advance Form. Advance repayment is accomplished through the voucher reimbursement process, however, the Advance recipient (i.e., the traveler) is fully liable for repayment of any and all advance amounts which are not reimbursable via travel voucher.
Per diem rates are established by the Federal government. Rates are identified by county and the traveler must indicate the county as well as the city on the Travel Voucher (Form AC 132 PDF). A full per diem is considered to be dinner the first day, and lodging and breakfast the following day.
|$55 Meal Allowances||$11||$44|
|$56 Meal Allowances||$11||$45|
|$61 Meal Allowances||$12||$49|
|$66 Meal Allowances||$13||$53|
|$71 Meal Allowances||$14||$57|
|$76 Meal Allowances||$15||$61|
Note: Incidental expenses such as tips to bellmen, porters, hotel maids, etc., continue to be included in the above allowances.
Per New York State, within 30 days of returning from his/her trip, the traveler must submit a travel voucher packet, containing the voucher, and any supporting documentation.
Accounts Payable Audit Steps:
Travel reimbursements to non-employees are processed via a New York State Standard Voucher (PDF). The Standard Voucher should contain the complete name, home address, and Social Security number of the person being reimbursed and the description block should specify the exact purpose for the payment including dates of the activity.
The payee's signature must be entered in the Payee Certification block on the voucher. Effective February 1, 1994, all travel reimbursements to non-employees must be via Method II guidelines which require receipts for lodging (not for meals). All original receipts should be stapled to the Standard Voucher and forwarded for appropriate approval signatures and processing by Accounts Payable.
Reimbursement of student travel expenses may also be made via a Standard Voucher utilizing the same guidelines listed above if the student is attending an officially authorized event or other official University business. Original receipts and appropriate signatures and a justification describing the travel as official and necessary must accompany the voucher for reimbursement.
When a vehicle is required for an employee to travel on college business they are strongly encouraged to first request the use of a campus fleet vehicle. However, a fleet vehicle may not always be available, or in some cases, is not reasonable for the trip being taken. State University of New York and SUNY Cortland set forth the following requirements for use of State-owned vehicles: