The HTI expense guidelines were designed to help you document all your expenses in accordance with Internal Revenue Service regulations. These guidelines are provided to keep costs within reasonable limits and to follow consistent reimbursement procedures.
Please familiarize yourself with the HTI expense guidelines, so that you are not unpleasantly surprised when you are not reimbursed for an expense.
HTI’s procedure for submission of expenses
- All reimbursement requests must be submitted within 15 days from the last dated expense to receive your reimbursement within two weeks after submission. Reimbursements not submitted within this timeframe can take much longer to process, and expenses submitted after two months will not be reimbursed.
- Requests for HTI related expense reimbursements must be submitted on a T-5 Reimbursement Form , and sent to the Assistant Director, Angela Schoepf, via U.S. mail. If you are unable to download or print this form, please contact the HTI office for a faxed copy.
- Original itemized receipts must be attached to your reimbursement form. No expenses will be reimbursed unless they are properly documented.
- Include in your Reimbursement Form, the purpose for your expense, names and titles of participants, business affiliation, and the date and title of event. Expenses for spouses and/or children are not covered.
- Make photocopies of the Reimbursement form (T-5) and all receipts you mailed to HTI, just in case they are lost in transit.
- Mailing address noted on the form must be your home address, not that of your school/institution.
- Expenses incurred in foreign currency must be submitted with the rate of exchange in effect at the time of the transaction, not those in effect when you complete your reimbursement form. You are responsible for converting foreign currency to United States currency. Conversion rates can be found at oanda.com/convert/classic.
HTI’s policy for lodging, meal, and transportation expenses are outlined below:
Reimbursement is limited to the rate for single occupancy accommodations at moderate rate hotels or (for convenience) at hotels hosting the conference or seminar attended. These are some suggested moderate rate hotels:
- Comfort Inn
- Courtyard by Marriott
- Fairfield Inn
- Hampton Inn
- Red Roof Inn
- Wingate Inn
Try to find the most economical rate per night. The maximum rate we will cover is $150, including taxes, however, if you can find a more economical rate we would appreciate these efforts.
Hotel charges for nights preceding or following the meeting or conference dates are not reimbursable except when early arrival or late departure is made necessary because of flight schedules or when a longer stay results in a reduction of airfare which is greater than the cost of the additional lodging and meals.
HTI will not cover: alcohol, snacks, health clubs, mini-bars, room service (unless it is needed due to illness or late arrival at the destination, and itemized receipt is required for reimbursement), telephone use, or in-room movies. When using the service of a bellhop, the tip per piece of luggage should not exceed one dollar. Also, regarding the hotel housekeeper, a tip of one dollar per day may be left for each person in the room.
When requesting reimbursement, the original itemized hotel bill and the original receipt showing proof of payment must be attached to the T-5 form. Credit card receipts, on-line reservations, or other statements showing only the total cost of lodging do not provide adequate documentation for all hotel charges. IRS regulations require that lodging receipts indicate all of the following:
- Name and location of the hotel
- Date(s) of stay
- Separate amounts for expenses such as lodging, meals, telephone calls and other charges.
Please keep in mind that personal toiletry needs, medicine, newspapers and other incidentals are not reimbursable.
When meal expenses include charges for individuals other than the traveler, the receipt must state the name(s), the business purpose(s), and the date of the meal.
Meals will not be reimbursed when meal service, including Continental breakfast, is provided as part of the meeting agenda. Conference packages, which include meal costs, must be fully disclosed on expense reports. Any overlapping meal costs incurred over the same period of time are not reimbursable unless necessitated by illness or late arrival at the destination.
When parking at airports, reimbursement for daily parking fees will be limited to the cost of economy long-term parking. “Short-term” parking should only be used when an airport stay does not exceed four hours
Whenever possible, complimentary/courtesy shuttles typically provided by hotels should be used.
When arranging transportation from and to the airport for a group, please check if the renting of a charter bus is less expensive than individual reservations.
When expenses for cab fares or car mileage are submitted, these must be accompanied by a Google Maps search. Travel by private automobile will be reimbursed at the IRS per-mile rate (currently @ $0.58 U.S. per mile). This per-mile rate includes the overall cost of operating an automobile for local travel or transportation away from home, including such items as gasoline, oil, maintenance, repairs, etc.
Properly documented parking fees and tolls will also be reimbursed. Use of electronic toll collection systems should be documented by submitting a copy of the monthly statement (generally available on the Internet).
When traveling by car, please ascertain that the reimbursement to be collected for mileage will be less than that of air travel. If, for some reason, you find that you still prefer to travel by car, please note that we can reimburse you only for the amount that would be paid for traveling by air. In order for you to determine this, and for us to establish the amount we will reimburse, please search the Internet for flight reservations for the corresponding dates, and attach a copy of the lowest rate/itinerary found. The cost of traffic violations, parking tickets, towing charges or associated court costs will not be reimbursed.
Please note that the maximum amount for cab tipping is 10% of the fare total.
When traveling by train between New York City and Princeton, please buy tickets for NJ Transit instead of Amtrak, as the latter is approximately $60 more expensive, and make sure that you get a printed receipt.
For transportation from your home to local airports, we ask that if possible, you take public transportation. If this is not feasible, we ask you to compare the price of a cab ride and the price of mileage and parking for leaving your car overnight at the airport, choosing the less expensive of these two options.
When parking at airports, reimbursement for daily parking fees will be limited to the cost of economy long-term parking. “Short-term” parking should only be used when an airport stay does not exceed four hours.
The total expense reported for transportation by a personal vehicle may not exceed the equivalent allowable economy airfare travel.
Tolls are fully reimbursable, and receipts are required. EZ Pass tolls should be documented by submitting a copy of the monthly statement (generally available on the internet) with a T-5 form.
Cars should be rented based upon a demonstrated need (i.e., no public transportation is available, visiting several locations is required, etc.) and rental must be pre-authorized by appropriate HTI staff to be considered reimbursable. Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) may be taken, but all other insurance coverage is declined. Reimbursement for auto rental related expenses must be submitted with the T-5 form, attaching the original receipt and/or contract, which reflects that payment was made, or a copy of the credit card statement showing the expense incurred for this purpose. The cost of gasoline is reimbursable (receipts required) when renting. A rental vehicle must be returned with a full gas tank to avoid the typical excessive (and non-reimbursable) fuel costs charged by rental agencies.
When renting a vehicle, it is not necessary to purchase (and HTI will not reimburse) any additional insurance coverage from the leasing agency. Princeton Theological Seminary’s automobile insurance provides coverage for liability and physical damage for domestic car rentals when traveling is related to HTI business.
Rail travel will be reimbursed at the cost of standard coach/economy accommodations. reimbursement will generally be limited to the lesser of the cost of the rail ticket or the cost of a fully discounted airfare to the same destination, although exceptions can be made in the event that rail travel saves considerable time and/or other ground transportation costs.