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Travel expense report tips from the BRC

Have an expense report to submit for business travel? The most recent issues of the BRC Blasts share helpful tips for getting your paperwork in order.

1. Request reimbursement for personal car mileage, parking, tolls and ground transportation expenses without creating a pre-travel request.

To do so:

  • Create an expense report
  • In the Trip Purpose header of the report, select Mileage, Parking, Tolls/Ground Transportation
  • Selecting this option in the trip purpose will allow the report to be created and submitted without a pre-travel request

2. Submit all mileage, parking, tolls and ground transportation expenses that you’ve accumulated within a 30-day period on one report. 

3. Learn when to deduct your commuting costs.

Your commute cost must be deducted if:

  • You do not have an approved agreement for remote travel
  • You are departing from or returning to any location that is not your assigned campus location (such as your home)
  • You’re traveling during your work week (regardless of the time of day)

You do not need to deduct commuting costs if:

  • You have an approved agreement for remote travel
  • You’re traveling on a weekend or holiday

4. Submit your expense reports promptly.

Be sure to submit your expense reports within 45 days of the last date of travel. If you submit an expense report after the 45-day mark, you must include a justification for the late submission.

5. Enter last year’s mileage correctly.

To request mileage reimbursement from a previous year, calculate the dollar amount for the mileage incurred and enter this amount under the expense type Miscellaneous. Your complete trip details must be added to the comment box in the expense entry line, including how many miles you drove, to and from locations, clarification of the commuting cost deduction (see above), and the year that the mileage rate calculation is for. Check current and past mileage rates here.

6. Articulate your business purpose.

If you’re requesting travel reimbursement, you must justify every day of business travel by providing all required information and documentation in the Pre-Travel Request and Expense Report. A key component is articulating your business purpose.

  • A sufficient business purpose articulates the who, what, why, when and where.
    Example: “Thomas Traveler attended the Speakers Conference Series from Aug. 5 – Aug. 8, 2023, in Los Angeles. He connected with industry professionals and updated his industry knowledge, relevant to his responsibilities that relate to his new role as director.”
  • An insufficient business purpose provides little to no detail, lacking specifics or including undefined acronyms.
    Examples: Staff meeting; USC site visit; attending ACLU meeting; met with Director Thomas Traveler; business lunch

If your meeting is confidential in nature and you cannot include requested details, enter “Business Purpose is Confidential.”

Have more questions? Contact the BRC T&E Team.

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