AR 7400: Employee Travel

Before traveling or making purchases on behalf of Mt. Hood Community College, college employees must know which expenses are reimbursable, which are not, and how to properly report and document those expenses. Therefore, the college asks that all employees take the time to carefully read all travel regulations and procedure.

These regulations apply to reimbursements from all college funding sources. More restrictive travel policies and procedures mandated by specific grants or programs will take precedence over college procedure.

The college reserves the right to amend or revise the travel procedures at any time. Changes in the travel procedure will be readily distributed throughout the college and are to be considered effective on the date of issuance. If possible, sufficient notice will be given prior to the change in procedure.

The college separates travel expenses into two main categories: travel between destinations other than college locations and travel between college locations. Please read carefully as procedures differ between these categories.

Oregon State Statute 244.040 prohibits public employees from obtaining financial gain from their employment other than their salary. This includes any travel or meal expenses paid by entities other than the college are subject to the requirements of Oregon Ethics Law (ORS 244) and must be consistent with the limitation on gifts and exceptions.

Any financial benefit that a public employee accepts from a credit card company and personally uses as a result of the public employee using a personal credit card to make a purchase on behalf of the official’s public employer would violate ORS 244.040 unless such benefits were formally adopted by the governing body of the public body as part of the employee’s official compensation package. Such benefits include frequent flyer miles, rebates, discounts on future purchases, and all other such financial incentives.

The college does NOT consider the above-mentioned benefits as part of employee’s compensation packages. Therefore, employees should not accept personal benefits for college-related purchases when using a personal credit card.

An area administrator, vice president and/or president must approve a verbal or written travel request before reservation/travel arrangements are made. Please follow the traveler’s department process for approval. Approval certifies:

  • Availability of funding.
  • Least expensive means of travel requested.
  • Compliance with funding agency regulations.
  • Compliance with college reimbursement policy.
  • Propriety of travel expenses.
  • Completeness of documentation and accuracy of accounting.

In order for travel and transportation advances and reimbursements of travel expenses to be excluded from the traveler’s taxable income, the college’s travel policies must meet the IRS definition of an “accountable plan” with the following three requirements:

  • Advances and reimbursements must be made for business expenses only and must be reasonable and necessary.
  • Travelers must submit Travel Authorization and Approval Request (TAAR) substantiating the amount, time and business purpose of expenses within ten working days after the expenses are incurred. Receipts must be forwarded to the business office.
  • Employees must return any advance amount in excess of substantiated expenses within ten (10) working days after the completion of the trip.

IRS requirements are met by proper completion of the travel request. Clearly state the overall, specific business purpose of the trip in the request. Send receipts and supporting documentation to the Business Office. Appropriate receipts/documentation include:

  • Business Purpose: Written explanation and/or conference schedule of events
  • Air:  The e-ticket receipt with the date purchased, the dates and points of departure and arrival, the travel “class”, and the total amount paid.
  • Rail: The e-ticket receipt with the date purchased, the dates and points of departure and arrival, the travel “class”, and the total amount paid.
  • Rental Car: The rental agreement receipt showing proof of payment.
  • Ground: The bus, shuttle, or taxi receipt showing proof of payment.
  • Hotel: The itemized receipt showing proof of payment.
  • Conference Fees: Conference registration form and payment.
  • Other: Receipt or invoice showing service or items purchased along with proof of payment.

In order to optimize cost savings, travel arrangements should be made fourteen (14) or more days in advance of domestic travel and thirty (30) or more days in advance for international travel. All international travel must be pre-approved by the college president. Travel services are to be procured at terms most favorable to the college. Changes to travel not directly and primarily to the benefit of the college shall have a zero-sum impact to college accounts.

Travel to the event is expected on the day of the event, if it is reasonable. Return travel is expected on the final day of the event, if it is reasonable to return that day, and not less expensive to return the following day (consider travel costs, meals and hotel costs in calculation). Reasonable means the traveler is able to return home without taking an overnight flight.

The limits to reimbursement align with many, but not all, General Services Administration (GSA) policies. Specific procedures and examples are provided throughout the travel procedures, or through links to updates. Updates are intended to clarify procedures, and institute minor revisions when necessary. Travelers are encouraged to review these documents prior to arranging travel.

Approved: 3/28/2023
  • 2 Code of Federal Regulations Part 200.474
  • ORS 244.040