The purpose of this Traveler's Guide is to help State employees understand travel rules and regulations and to provide instructions on how to be reimbursed for their expenses. As an employee traveling on business for the State of New York, you are performing a valuable service. At the same time, it is your responsibility to spend this travel money as efficiently and economically as possible. The basic rule to remember is that only actual, necessary and reasonable business expenses will be reimbursed.
Prior approval of all State travel is required. The appropriate signatures for approval include your supervisor/dean, the VP for Administrative Affairs and the President.
If travel expenses are incurred without the proper approvals, you will not be reimbursed for those expenses. This includes airfare, hotel, registrations, etc.UP
When you are on assignment at a work location more than 35 miles from both home and official station you are considered to be in travel status. This determines that you are eligible for reimbursement of travel expenses such as meals and lodging.
When travel is to a work location within 35 miles of your residence or official station, you are not considered to be in travel status and not covered by travel reimbursement policy. Your agency may have a policy to reimburse you for some transportation costs. In this policy, your agency may consider some of the costs incurred to be part of the normal commuting costs and reimburse only those additional costs incurred.UP
Your Official Station is your usual work location. The official station is designated by your agency and must be in the best interest of the State. The purpose of an official station is to establish when you are in travel status and eligible for travel expenses. Travel between your home and official station is considered commuting and not reimbursed.UP
When choosing the method of transportation you should consider several factors, such as distance traveled, time to travel this distance, number of travelers, numbers of locations to be visited, and what type of transportation may be available. NYS Contracts, super savers, coach accommodations, and excursion fares should be used whenever possible. If a more expensive method is used, you should obtain approval from your finance office and justification should be submitted with your voucher.UP
A common carrier (train, bus, plane.) usually results in the most economical method of transportation. This is true especially for bus or train travel between New York City and Albany. The most economical method should be used unless there are circumstances that would make this unreasonable. If you choose to travel by a more expensive method when a common carrier was available, your agency may only reimburse you the common carrier rate.UP
The State Car is the preferred mode of transportation. LENS approval is required for all State employees who use a State vehicle. LENS applications are available through the University Police. Each State vehicle has a Mobil gas card for use on trips. Be sure to check with the Physical Plant about the use of the gas card before your departure. If you are unable to use the gas card, receipts for gas are required for reimbursement.
Personal car use for State travel requires prior approval. Reimbursement
will be at the current rate.
All reasonable and necessary parking and toll charges will be reimbursed. Tolls that you have paid by the EZ pass method will be reimbursed. Agencies may not establish EZ pass accounts for an employee's personal car.
Reasonable and necessary taxi fares will be reimbursed, along with a customary tip.UP
You have a choice of two different methods to be reimbursed for lodging and meals. Only breakfast and dinner are reimbursed, lunch is not. Tips and incidental expenses are included in the reimbursement amounts. The meal allowances are allocated by the NYS Comptroller, with different allowances based on location.UP
This allows for a fixed per diem reimbursement without receipts. This method may be used even when lodging is obtained with a relative or friend. To be entitled to the full per diem, it must be necessary for you to be in overnight travel status and eligible for both breakfast and dinner.
This allows for reimbursement of actual lodging costs up to a specific amount, plus an allowance for meals. The per diem amount is based on the area of your work assignment. Receipts are required for lodging. No receipts are required for meals. 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 your travel voucher as well as the city. No taxes should be paid within New York State. For out-of-state travel, local and state taxes will be reimbursed in addition to the per diem amount.UP
The normal per diem allowance is for dinner the first day, lodging, and breakfast on the following day. You may be eligible for breakfast on the day of departure or dinner on the day of return, if you meet the following time limits:
You would be entitled to breakfast on the day the trip starts if you have to leave before 7 A.M.
You will be allowed reimbursement for dinner on the day the trip ends if you return after 7 P.M.
Meals for Day Trips
You may be eligible for meals if your departure and return meet the time limits for meals. You can get reimbursed up to the maximum Federal amount with a receipt, or you may claim the unreceipted meal allowance.UP
You are allowed lodging and meals for weekends when it is necessary for you to be in travel status. Your agency may authorize reimbursement for expenses to return home, limited to the amount that you would have been paid if you had stayed at your work location. You may also receive an additional weekend allowance in accordance with your bargaining agreement if you are in travel status 300 miles or more away from home or official station.UP
All conferences, seminars or training programs sponsored by NYS should be within established per diem rates. Registration Fees require Receipts and are the responsibility of the traveler.
When attending a conference that is not sponsored by New York State, the lodging and meal amounts may exceed the normal per diem amounts. Prior approval must be obtained from your finance officer (Vice President for Administrative Affairs) to exceed the allowable rates. Your agency may provide approval if the rates are reasonable and it is necessary for you to stay at the conference site.
If meals are included in the conference fee, the meal allowance must be reduced on your voucher. Fees for social activities such as sightseeing tours or golf outings, are considered personal expenses and will not be reimbursed.
Many conferences supply transportation between the conference site and the transportation terminal.UP
Business related calls will be reimbursed. It should be indicated on your voucher that calls were for business purposes.
Laundry charges, valet service, theater tickets, and other entertainment expenses are considered personal expenses and are not reimbursable. Expenses for supplies and materials will be reimbursed when they are for business purposes.UP
The Internal Revenue Service requires withholding and reporting on the following types of travel reimbursements. Your agency finance office is responsible for reporting this information.
- Per diem amounts paid in excess of the per diem rate and not substantiated with receipts
- Meals for non-overnight travel - with or without receipts
- Mileage reimbursement in excess of the maximum rate allowed by the IRS
- Reimbursement for expenses at a single location in excess of one year
Offering a false instrument for filing is a Class 'E' felony. Employees, including supervisors, who knowingly misrepresent the facts concerning travel for official business or who file or sign any travel form which contains deliberate false statements given with intent to defraud the State may be subject both to administrative and/or disciplinary action, including the possibility of termination and criminal action.UP
Office of Procurement & Travel Services
34 Cornell Drive
Canton, NY 13617
Fax: (315) 386-7925