Travel Receipts – What and why?
For the busy traveler it is sometimes cumbersome to have to keep track of, not only airline schedules and hotel addresses, but also to remember to get receipts for the required business expenses. One has to ask, what receipts do I really need and why do I need to turn them in to the Travel Office for my reimbursement? Good questions!
As any good business, or DOE Laboratory, LBNL travelers are required to have valid receipts to be reimbursed for business travel expenses*. This is quite simply, to justify that the travel was for business purposes and the charges incurred are costs to the employer and not the employee’s personal expenses.
A receipt is documented evidence to support a business expense. Acceptable receipts typically include the following:
- Name of the company (airline, hotel, rental car, etc.)
- Name of the traveler
- Transaction dates
- Charges showing amount paid in full
Common expenses that require a receipt are:
- Hotel (must be itemized per IRS and GSA rules)
- Rental car
- Employee purchased tickets for any commercial transportation (air, ship or rail)
- Any single miscellaneous expense greater than $75
- Registration fees (showing as paid)
If a traveler misplaces a receipt during the course of busy travels, or a receipt is not readily available, the traveler can submit a “Lost Receipt Waiver Form” to the Travel Office in lieu of a receipt. So, save those receipts, and happy travels!
*The need for receipts is to avoid incurring potentially unallowable costs under Contract 31 and to stay in compliance with IRS regulations (Publication 463). In order for travel reimbursements and travel advances to remain non-taxable to the employee, expenses must have a business purpose, be accounted for within a reasonable time period (30 days per LBNL policy), and adequately accounted for to the employer. Any excess reimbursement or allowance must be returned within a reasonable amount of time (90days).