While traveling, it may be necessary to use multiple modes of ground travel. These include rental cars, taxis, private car services or personal vehicles. In all cases, the traveler should exercise reasonable judgment and either use a University preferred supplier or choose the most economical ground travel option available. Travelers may use other services such as Lyft and UBER so long as the total cost of such services is comparable to other ground transportation options. Travelers need to be aware that there is no guarentee of safety when using such services.
Rent vehicles only when less expensive comparable transportation is unavailable. When available, use the University preferred car rental agency, Hertz, (http://www.campustravel.com/university/columbia/). Reimbursement for car rentals may be for compact or intermediate/mid-size classifications for individual travelers. All authorized drivers must be listed on the car rental contract at the time of rental. Reimbursement will be made for larger vehicles in exceptional cases (i.e., several travelers in one car, equipment being transported, etc.), which must be documented. Travelers may be reimbursed for gas purchases for rental cars.
When using the University preferred car rental agency in the Continental US, do not purchase Loss Damage Waiver (LDW) and/or Liability insurance from the car rental agency, as the University has negotiated a separate agreement with the agency. Travelers will not be reimbursed for this expense if renting from the designated University rental agency. If renting from the designated University rental agency in an international location only, the Loss Damage Waiver and Liability insurance can be purchased.
If the University preferred car rental agency is not available, other car rental agencies may be used. Loss Damage Waiver and Liability insurance MUST be purchased when renting from these agencies both internationally and domestically. In such cases, the University’s auto policy WILL NOT cover damages ASSOCIATED WITH RENTED VEHICLES.
Expenses for GPS (Global Positioning Mapping) devices when renting a vehicle are reimbursable with prior approval from your DAF.
The traveler must obtain and submit an original receipt from the car rental agency that includes:
• the dates and points of rental
• the class
• total amount of the rental
• proof of payment
If a car is rented above the compact or intermediate/mid-size car rate, document the business purpose that required the additional car space.
Travel by Private Vehicle
When traveling for business purposes, a personal vehicle may be used in order to save time, transport equipment, reduce costs when several people are traveling together, or travel to locations within reasonable driving distance. If a personal vehicle is used primarily for the convenience of the traveler and the approved travel is to a location more than 500 miles beyond the point of origin, reimbursement will not exceed the lesser of the following: 1) the cost of per-mile reimbursement plus tolls; or, 2) the round-trip airfare between the nearest commercial airport serving the origin and destination cities, plus transfer costs to and from the airport.
For the business-related use of a personal vehicle, the traveler will be reimbursed at a rate based on the Federal IRS approved highway mileage guides. Mileage reimbursement covers fuel, maintenance/repairs, insurance, transportation and operating costs, so these will not be reimbursed separately. The traveler will not be reimbursed for the cost of vehicle purchase or lease.
In addition to the mileage allowance, tolls and necessary parking charges may be reimbursed.
The University does not assume liability for damage to personal automobiles used on University business and does not assume liability for deductibles or any other uninsured loss to the vehicle. Expenses for vehicle repairs are not reimbursable. Under no circumstances will the University reimburse parking fines and moving violations on personal vehicles.
Personal Vehicle Mileage Rate for Travel
$.575/miles for travel on or after January 1, 2015
$.540/miles for travel on or after January 1, 2016
$.535/miles for travel on or after January 1, 2017
Travelers should keep a record (e.g., spreadsheet, notebook or ledger; AAA triptic or mapquest printout) of their use of their private vehicle for business travel. The written record should include:
• the dates and points (City, State) of departure and arrival
• business purpose of the trip
• total mileage
• calculation of reimbursement (total mileage * mileage rate)
Other Forms of Ground Transportation (Local or Away)
Travelers will be reimbursed for bus, subway, or other mass transportation, shuttle, taxi fares, or private car service plus reasonable tips when necessary for business purposes. Reimbursement will be provided for transportation between hotels, railroad stations, airports, restaurants, workplaces or meetings.
Travelers should attempt to obtain a receipt from the driver or transportation company. The original receipts for fares must include:
• the dates and points of origin and destination
• passengers names
• the total amount of the fare
• proof of payment
If it is not possible to obtain a receipt for ground transportation, the traveler should list the trip in a spreadsheet, notebook or ledger. The traveler should record the date of the trip, the points of origin and destination, the business purpose of the trip and the fare paid.
Commuting or Parking Costs
Commuting or parking costs from home to place of work/business are taxable to a University employee. The University does not reimburse for these costs. If a department chooses to do so, this must be documented and the employee must be informed that this reimbursement is taxable and will be reported to Payroll for reporting on Form W-2.