Travel Policy

Responsibilities

Research Foundation (RF) travelers are responsible for the appropriate use of, and accurate accounting for, travel funds provided to them and for compliance with sponsor and RF travel requirements.

General Regulations and Provisions

Policy Precedence

In general, the RF Travel Guide takes precedence over a sponsor's regulations.

Exceptions:

The sponsor's travel policy takes precedence over the RF travel policy if the sponsor's regulations are more restrictive than the RF's policy, or the sponsor has set forth explicit, less restrictive requirements in the RF-approved award document. Neither the sponsor's guidelines mailed separately to the project director or sponsored program office nor a budget attached to the award document is sufficient. NOTE: A sponsor's travel policy, if used, may require greater substantiation of travel expenditures than the RF requires, or it may require the use of specific rates in paying travel expenses. These rates may be higher or lower than the RF rates.

NYS Tax Exempt Status

RF expenses related to New York State (NYS), including New York City (NYC), travel are exempt from state and local sales and use tax. When traveling within NYS travelers should use the "Exempt Organization Certification."

Travelers to NYC should use this same NYS "Exempt Organization Certification" to claim exemption from the NYC Hotel Room Tax.

Transportation Expenses

Policy

Travelers are expected to travel by the method most conducive to achieving the objectives of the trip while balancing cost, time, and safety. Added costs incurred for the convenience of the traveler, such as travel by circuitous routes or travel schedules that require nonessential sleeping accommodations must be approved.

Documentation Requirements

Travel Payment Request Form

Travel expenses must be documented on the "Travel Payment Request Form" obtained from OSRP

Original Receipts

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requires receipts to document any transportation expenditure over $75. This limit is per transportation transaction (e.g., the IRS would require a receipt for a single, long-term parking charge of $80).

Rental Vehicles

Rental vehicles may be used when it is in the best interests of the project or the Research Foundation. For example, renting a vehicle would be considered appropriate when it

  • Is the least costly alternative
  • Is the only method of transportation available
  • Will eliminate substantial delays

Reimbursable Expenses

Tolls, parking fees, fuel, and the cost of renting a vehicle are reimbursable.

Nonreimbursable Costs

Insurance. The cost of Personal Accident Insurance (PAI) or Personal Effects Insurance (PEI) is not reimbursable.

PLEASE NOTE: In accordance with RF policy, fines and related towing charges for traffic violations, illegal parking, or speeding are not reimbursable.

Common Carriers

Travelers are expected to use the lowest-priced available, appropriate, coach-class airfare. First class or other premium airfare may be used when no reasonable alternative is available.

Reimbursable Expenses

The cost of airplane tickets (including taxes) is reimbursable. The cost of tolls, parking, and mileage related to airplane travel (e.g., travel to and from and parking at the airport) is reimbursable.

Nonrefundable Airline Tickets

Nonrefundable airline tickets should not be charged to a sponsored program account if a trip is cancelled.

Documentation Required

Requests for reimbursement for airplane tickets must be supported by the original passenger coupon of the ticket. Requests for reimbursement for first class or other premium accommodations must be supported by explanatory statements attached to the "Travel Payment Request" form or equivalent form. The cost of the ticket should be recorded on the form.

Taxis or Public Transportation

Travelers may want to use taxis or public transportation for travel:

  • Between their residence or official station and the local transportation terminal
  • From one transportation terminal to another transportation terminal
  • Between transportation terminal and lodging
  • Between transportation terminal and work site (at destination)
  • Between lodging and work site (at destination)

Travelers should use the most economical means of transportation whenever possible.

Taxis

The cost incurred for the use of taxicabs is reimbursable with receipts. Without receipts, the total maximum reimbursement is $75 each way (or a lower dollar limit established by the operating location). Tips are included in the maximum.

Public Transportation

The cost of necessary bus or subway trips is reimbursable. Travel by train or bus should be by coach if the one-way distance is 200 miles or less. Rail travel in excess of 200 miles one way may be first class. For first class, chair accommodations must be used during the day and roomette accommodations may be used for overnight travel. Roomettes are economy accommodations that include a bunk and a sink.

Documentation Requirements

Costs must be recorded on the "Travel Payment Request Form"

Reimbursable Expenses

The cost of the train or bus ticket is reimbursable. The cost of tolls, parking, and mileage related to train or bus travel (e.g., travel to and from and parking at the station) is reimbursable.

Private Airplanes

This policy applies only to the use of private airplanes for routine transportation. It does not apply to the use of airplanes to carry out specialized project activities, such as tracking or delivering supplies. Please contact the RF Office of General Counsel and Secretary to discuss these situations. For an employee to be properly authorized to use a privately owned plane on RF business, the employee must have a liability insurance policy of at least $1,000,000 and must include the RF as a named insured. The insurance company must be licensed by the New York State Insurance Department to conduct business in the state. A certificate of insurance must be filed with the RF Office of General Council and Secretary. Travel by privately owned airplanes will be reimbursed at the lesser of the personal car mileage rate, regardless of the number of passengers or the published coach rate for each official passenger, if commercial air transportation is available between points of travel.

Lodging and Meal Expenses

In order to be reimbursed for both meals and lodging, a traveler must be in official travel status, i.e., at a distance greater than 35 miles from both the traveler's official station and place of residence. Travelers may be reimbursed for lodging and meals on weekends and holidays while in travel status.  For more information regarding Per Diem rates for lodging and meals please visit the following web sites

Travelers should review sponsor regulations, award terms, and conditions prior to traveling out of the United States. Many sponsors have different requirements for foreign travel. Some sponsors have certain programs that award funds for international research and/or training. These programs may have special requirements in addition to those imposed by the sponsor and the general award terms and conditions.

Original Receipts

Use of receipts to document lodging expenses is dependent on the method of reimbursement used.

Contact Information

Office: Kehoe 815
Phone: (518) 564-2155
Fax: (518) 564-2157

Research Foundation at SUNY Plattsburgh
Kehoe 815
101 Broad Street
Plattsburgh, NY 12901