The expenditure of travel funds from grant and contract awards is governed by The Research Foundation of State University of New York Statement of Travel Policy. These policies are designed to insure compliance with sponsor guidelines and the fulfillment of The Research Foundation's (RF) obligation under its contract with SUNY, and apply to all travel by RF employees or SUNY employees who are to be paid from any award administered by RF.
Research Foundation Travel Recommendations:
-lodging (hotel receipt with a zero balance and traveler’s name on the bill);
-original boarding passes;
-other receipts (such as shuttles, taxi, parking, gas, tolls, luggage fees, etc.)
Travelers may request an advance payment on airfare expenditures. Please submit request on a Travel Payment Request Form and attach a copy of the itinerary.
Official Travel Status
In order to be reimbursed for 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.
Nonovernight Travel – Day Trips
For non-overnight travel, an employee may claim the unreceipted meal allowance, (the rate in effect is $5.00 for breakfast and $12.00 for dinner) or actual expenses up to the federal maximum meal allowances with a receipt. Under most circumstances, the Internal Revenue Service considers this reimbursement taxable income. When claiming a meal allowance payment or reimbursement for nonovernight travel, use the Taxable Meal Payment Request and Authorization Form.
Eligibility for an allowance or reimbursement for breakfast and/or dinner is determined by the time of departure from the traveler’s official station or home and the time of return to the traveler's official station or home, according to the following table:
On the day of departure, the traveler is eligible for...
if travel begins before...
On the day of return, the traveler is eligible for...
if the trip ends after...
When adjustments need to be made to the meals and incidental expenses (M&IE) portion of the per diem, these adjustments are made using the New York State Policy of 20% for breakfast and 80% for dinner.
Allowance and reimbursement rates are determined by the city to which the traveler travels in order to accomplish the purpose of the trip. One meal allowance is a combination of one breakfast and one dinner (or vice versa). No reimbursements are made for lunch.
Since meal eligibility is defined according to the times of departure and return, a traveler leaving for an overnight trip after 7:00 a.m. but before 6:00 p.m. and returning after 8:00 a.m. the next day will receive one full meal allowance consisting of one dinner and one breakfast. In this instance, if the traveler returns after 7:00 p.m., the traveler will be allowed one full meal allowance and reimbursement for dinner.
To be eligible for a full per diem, these two criteria must be met:
A per diem is not allowed when overnight lodging is at an official residence of the traveler.
For non-receipted lodging, the traveler will receive $50/night. This is to cover meals and overnight stay.
All necessary local and long distance telephone calls and necessary faxes of documents are reimbursable when business need is appropriately documented. To minimize substantial additional charges added by hotels, it is recommended that the traveler
Telephone calls are appropriately documented by listing the name of the party called, place called, date of call and reason for call. Faxes are documented by listing the date, purpose, fax number to which the document was sent, recipient, and number of pages for each facsimile. If available, receipts should be attached.
Nontaxable or Taxable Income
Payments to reimburse an independent contractor for travel do not have to be reported to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) if the contractor provides adequate documentation of the expenses to GMO. Adequate documentation is a record describing each element of the expenditure (amount, date, place, business relation, and purpose) made at or near the time the expense was incurred; such record is to be supported by receipts; or a record that describes the date, place, and business purpose of the travel; such record is allowed when per diems are used for reimbursement.
Commercial Airplane (back to top)
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.
Airline Reservations Options: Project directors/faculty may purchase airline tickets through Expedia and Orbitz-type websites using their personal credit cards, and receive reimbursement from the grant funds. Documentation of purchase must be provided - this would include a copy of the invoice and a copy of personal bank or credit card statement reflecting the payment.
Personal Automobile (back to top)
Personally-owned automobiles may be used for The Research Foundation (RF) business. However, it is the responsibility of the Grants Management Office to ensure that additional expense is not incurred by using personally owned automobiles when other transportation methods (e.g., train, plane, rental car, etc.) are appropriate and available.
Mileage, toll charges, and parking fees must be recorded on the Travel Payment Request Form.
The IRS released new mileage rates effective January 1, 2016. The new rate for business miles driven will be $.54. (Standard Mileage Rate). The rate from January 1, 2015 - December 31, 2015 was at $.575.
RF Non-Owned/Hired Automobile Insurance
Rental Vehicles (back to top)
Rental vehicles may be used when it is in the best interests of the project or the RF. For example, renting a vehicle would be considered appropriate under the following circumstances:
Vehicles should be rented in the name of The Research Foundation (RF). This ensures that both the RF and the employee (driver) are properly covered.
New York State Tax Exemption
RF expenses related to travel within New York State are exempt from state and local sales and use tax. When renting vehicles and traveling within New York State, travelers should use the Tax Exempt Certification, Form ST-119.1.
The rental invoice and an explanatory statement of the rental car use must be attached to the Travel Payment Request form. The total cost must be recorded on the form.
Research Foundation Preferred Rental Car Company
The Research Foundation has established an agreement with Enterprise Rental Car. Rentals will be direct billed to GMO when and ONLY when the billing number is provided (please contact (585) 245-5060 for this information). Personal credit cards are needed at the time of making the reservation. The rental documents should clearly show that the vehicle is rented on behalf of the Research Foundation. This will eliminate any confusion regarding liability for coverage in the event of an insurance claim.
Cost of Renting a Vehicle
Damage Waiver Protection
Damage waiver protection coverage, also known as loss-damage waiver (LDW) or collision damage waiver (CDW), is available and should be purchased for all short-term vehicle rentals. This cost is generally an allowable charge to the sponsored program account.
Personal Accident Insurance (PAI)
Personal Effects Insurance (PEI)
It is not necessary to purchase additional liability coverage from the vehicle rental agency. Vehicles rented under short-term rental agreements are afforded primary liability coverage under the RF’s non-owned/hired automobile insurance policy (see Personal Automobile Use).
Citations/Violations Incurred while on RF Business, such as fines and related towing charges for traffic violations, illegal parking, or speeding.
What to Do When Primary Insurance Coverage is Required
Some long-term rental agreements require that the RF carry primary insurance on the rented vehicle. In such cases, the vehicles must be individually listed on the RF’s owned automobile insurance policy. This policy is subject to appropriate deductibles for comprehensive and collision coverage. The deductible must be paid by the operating location. There is a premium charge for adding vehicles to the RF’s owned automobile insurance policy.
To the Rental Agency: All accidents must be reported immediately to the rental agency. In addition, the authorized driver is required to complete the agency’s accident report form. Failure to comply with the requirements of the rental agency for reporting an accident or damage to the rental vehicle could result in the driver being held personally liable for any costs.
To the RF Central Office: All accidents must also be reported to the Office of General Counsel and Secretary by calling (518) 434-7045, or by faxing information to (518) 434-8352 or sent via email to email@example.com.
All claims must be forwarded to the Office of General Counsel and Secretary. The information can be faxed to (518) 434-8352, or sent via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The RF’s insurance carrier reserves the right to deny coverage due to late reporting of a claim.
State Vehicle Usage
Utilization of a state vehicle may be considered for RF sponsored travel. To make a vehicle reservation, contact SUNY Geneseo’s Facilities Services at (585) 245-5661, or 5662. When placing your reservation, have available the appropriate RF recharge account number. If you’re not familiar with your account number, contact GMO at (585) 245-5060.
Taxi and Public Transportation (back to top)
Travelers may want to use taxis or public transportation for travel between their residence or official station. The official station as defined by The Research Foundation (RF) states, “The official station of an employee is the address of the office to which the employee is assigned.”
Travelers should use the most economical means of transportation whenever possible.
The cost of necessary taxi, shuttle, bus or subway trips is reimbursable. Original receipts for expenditures over $25 must be submitted to GMO. If receipts were not obtained, the number of trips and the amount(s) paid must be recorded or a statement containing the information must be attached to the Travel Payment Request Form.
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.
Foreign Travel (back to top)
When sponsors allow foreign travel but do not provide a schedule of allowance, the U.S. State Department's Maximum Travel Per Diem Allowances for Foreign Areas must be used. The rates for Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico are established by the Department of Defense in Official DoD Per Diem Rates.
Current Travel Warnings:
The U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs decides, based on relevant information, to issue travel warnings to U.S. citizens, recommending that Americans avoid travel to certain counties. The countries and dates the travel warnings are listed on the Current Travel Warnings website: http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/tw/tw_1764.html
It is the traveler’s responsibility to check the Current Travel Warnings list before traveling, to obtain the necessary authorization, and to read and abide by the information contained in the travel warning. Travelers should also read the Department of State's "Tips for Traveling Abroad."
Travelers going to any country indicated by the U.S. Department of State with a travel warning must have advance written approval from SUNY Geneseo’s Operations Manager and President, with written notice to the RF's central office before traveling. Please contact the Grants Management Office at (585) 245-5060 to make these arrangements.
International Travel Assistance and Medical Coverage:
The RF's board of directors authorized the RF to provide International Travel Assistance coverage for all persons traveling overseas on official RF business. Contact the Grants Management Office directly for this information, (585) 245-5060.
Canada: Some sponsors consider Canadian travel to be domestic travel while others consider it foreign travel. Travelers should check sponsor guidelines to determine how their sponsor classifies Canadian travel and categorize it accordingly for payment purposes. Even when travel to Canada is considered domestic by the sponsor, travelers should claim foreign rates for payment unless the award instrument or sponsor regulation provides otherwise.
Office Location: Room 201, Erwin Hall
Office Hours: M-F 8:00 a.m. - 4:15 p.m.
Betsy L. Colón, Grants Management Associate, E-mail: email@example.com
Traci Phillips, Sponsored Programs Assistant, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Telephone: (585) 245-5060