Expense report submission

Expense reports should be submitted within 45 calendar days from the end of the trip, or the hosted event, or within 45 days of the transaction date for purchases of supplies or other business expenses. Ideally, expenses should be submitted within 10 days, however the policy allows for submission of up to 45 calendar days.


PCard Receipt Requirements

A proper receipt is original, shows the itemized description of the items purchased, the date of purchase, and the amount paid. It is the cardholder’s responsibility to obtain original proper receipts from the merchant each time you use your PCard. Packing slips with itemization are acceptable, however, packing slips without itemization are not proper documentation.

When submitting an expense for hosted meals, it is best practice to submit an itemized receipt, however, the customer copy of a restaurant charge is acceptable in lieu of the itemized portion of the receipt.  Per the policy on Indirect Cost Recovery, when alcohol is purchased as part of the meal and an itemized receipt is not provided, the entire amount of the meal should be allocated as ICRX.  As with other policies or guidelines, individual units may be stricter, therefore, requiring an itemized receipt.

PCards should rarely be used to make purchases from payment systems that do not provide on the PCard statement visibility into the item(s) that was purchased (e.g., PayPal, Google Wallet, etc.). If such a system is the only way the supplier accepts payment, detailed receipts showing the final vendor and item details must be provided.

Protected Health Information (PHI)

To comply with the federal government’s Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), Protected Health Information (PHI) cannot be included when reconciling your PCard transactions.  PHI is generally defined as any information—spoken, written, or recorded—that concerns the health of an individual or identifies that person in some way (e.g., name, Social Security Number, etc.).

If you do use your PCard to pay for healthcare-related expenses for a patient or client, the information submitted to Concur, the university’s travel and expense system, should not include any PHI. All PHI on receipts or other documentation should be redacted prior to uploading the information to Concur when completing your expense report.  Failure on the part of the PCard holder or approver to comply with this requirement may result in the cancellation of the PCard.


Please use the following corrective steps if one of your PCard holders submits PHI in Concur, the university’s travel and expense system:

• If PHI has been uploaded to Concur, the employee must delete the receipts in Concur, redact the information, and re-attach receipts

• If PHI is included in the business purpose or department reference fields, these fields must be updated by the employee in the expense report before it is resubmitted

• If PHI is included in the comment field on the expense report header, the employee must delete the report and create a new report (comments cannot be removed or updated)

• If PHI is included in an expense line comment field, the employee must delete the expense line and create a new line without the comment (comments cannot be removed or updated)


Within university policy, business expenses paid with personal funds ("out of pocket") are reimbursable through the university travel and expense system. In order for out of pocket funds to be reimbursed, the employee must use an acceptable method of payment.

Acceptable Methods of Payment

  • Cash
  • Personal credit card
  • Personal debit card

Unacceptable Methods of Payment

  • Points/Miles earned through reward programs including:
    • airline miles
    • credit card points
    • Amazon rewards
    • Etc.
  • Prepayment for future use including:
    • Uber cash
    • Ride with Via
    • Etc.
  • Gift cards

**NOTE: this is not an inclusive list**

Travel Guidelines

The Travel and Business Hosting Expense Policy is published in Standard Practice Guide 507.10-1. For a summary of allowable expenses, refer to the Summary of Reimbursable and Non-Reimbursable Expenses.

Travelers should familiarize themselves with the university’s travel guidelines listed below.


Guidelines for booking airfare:

  • University policy limits airfare to seats in main cabin/coach/economy class for most flights unless traveling on a flight of eight or more hours, for which business class is allowable.
  • Air reservations should be booked at least 14 days in advance when possible.
  • Travelers should select the lowest-price fare within the bounds of the most logical schedule.
  • Federal regulations require that US carriers be used for both foreign and domestic travel unless one is not available. The Fly America Act Exception Form must be completed and submitted with the expense report if a US carrier is not used.
  • In the event travelers have to change a flight, an explanation is required if the change incurred additional costs. Travelers must state the business reason for the need to alter the flight reservation, and the total cost of the flight should be evaluated and approved as reasonable by the approver on the final expense report submission.

Car Rental

Guidelines for reserving a rental car:

  • Whenever possible, reservations should be made through Concur or through an agent-assisted call at (734) 477-6022 or (855) 200-8785. This ensures that proper waivers are met and discounted university rates are applied. .
  • Risk Management advises that travelers decline all collision insurance (Loss Damage Waiver or Collision Damage Waiver) on rental vehicles because the university self-insures for commercial rental vehicle loss/damage. However, when traveling to destinations outside the continental US and Canada, Risk Management recommends that travelers accept collision insurance.
  • In the event of an accident while driving a rental vehicle, contact Risk Management for claim handling.
  • Reimbursement will be made for reasonable charges for gasoline. Maintenance and oil changes are the responsibility of the rental company and will not be reimbursed by the university.

Train Travel

The university will reimburse the cost of train fare up to the cost of coach airfare.

Personal Car Mileage

Mileage reimbursement

At times, a personal vehicle may be used in order to save time, transport equipment, or reduce costs when several people are traveling together on university business travel.

Guidelines for reimbursement:

Effective July 1, 2022 the mileage reimbursement is 62.5 cents per mile.

  • Mileage reimbursement may not exceed the maximum allowable rate for federally sponsored programs, and is limited to the amount of coach airfare.
  • When claiming mileage in lieu of airfare, a coach class comparison from Concur at least 14 days in advance of the trip is required with the expense report submission.
  • Tolls and reasonable parking charges will be reimbursed in addition to the mileage allowance.
  • The mileage rate for reimbursement accounts for fuel costs as well as wear and tear to a personal vehicle; therefore, costs for fuel or maintenance are not reimbursable
  • When claiming reimbursement for mileage, the following information must be included: date(s) of travel, origin, destination, business purpose, and miles traveled.
  • Origin for business travel is computed from the employee's U-M office location.

Note: When considering whether to drive a personal vehicle or rent a car through National/Enterprise, it is often beneficial to choose the rental car over mileage reimbursement.  Depending on distance and length of the trip, renting a car through National/Enterprise can be the least expensive option. 

Procurement Services now has a new resource available to help answer this question. Enterprise Holdings (National/Enterprise) has provided U-M with a tool, which can be accessed here. Once the information is populated in the required fields, click enter to receive a cost estimate for claiming mileage reimbursement vs. renting a car.  Please use this information to help you decide which path to take. 

Rental cars from National or Enterprise are less than two years old with low miles and are well maintained to ensure safety.

Local mileage

The university generally does not reimburse local in-town mileage (e.g., travel between university buildings on the same campus for meetings), parking/tolls, or commuting costs (e.g., the costs associated with driving a car between home and the normal place of work or business). Detail on requesting exceptions to this policy appears below:

  • Exceptions due to job requirements (where travel is extensive and intrinsic to the type of work the employee is expected to do) may be made with approval from the appropriate  higher administrative authority and with notice to the director of procurement services.
  • When submitting an expense report in Concur, an explanation and rationale for local mileage reimbursement must be entered at the expense line in the comment field.

Hotel Reservations

Guidelines for making hotel reservations:

  • The university will reimburse lodging expense at a reasonable standard room rate that would be incurred routinely by a regular business traveler.
  • The traveler should select the least expensive option available, taking into consideration proximity to the business destination and safety.
  • The traveler or the travel arranger should inquire about the government rate, the Big Ten consortium rate, or the conference lodging rate and select the lowest available rate.
  • When the hotel or motel is the conference or convention site, reimbursement will be limited to the conference rate, if available.

Per Diem

Per diem

The per diem allowance is set by the US government to cover employee meals and incidentals during business travel to domestic CONUS (continental US) and foreign/OCONUS destinations (foreign and (non-continental US). University faculty and staff on business travel will be reimbursed for out-of-pocket meal and incidental expenses (M&IE) in accordance with the published rates based on specific destination.

Note: Travelers are allowed 75 percent of the per diem amount on the first and last days of travel.

Per diem rates are published by the General Services Administration and are specific to major cities.

Per diem specifics:

  • The per diem policy for all university employee business travel applies only to travel meals and incidental expenses (not lodging).
  • Incidental expenses included in the per diem allowance are things such as hotel mini bar charges and tips to porters, baggage carriers, and hotel staff.  Incidental expenses cannot be reimbursed separately as they are included in the per diem allowance rate.
  • Ground transportation (e.g., taxi, shuttle) to and from airports and railroad stations, and between business meetings while on travel status, is not included in the per diem incidentals.
  • While not recommended, it is permissible for departments and units facing fiscal constraints to pay per diems that are less than the published domestic and foreign per diem rates. To reduce the per diem, the employee should include the per diem in the Concur expense report, and then will mark one or more meals "provided" to reduce the reimbursement by the amount associated with the meal(s).
  • Receipts are not required for domestic or foreign per diem expenses.
  • The per diem policy applies to all university faculty and staff, not students or business guests.
  • Faculty and staff traveling together on business should not share a meal as a business-hosted meal instead of per diem.

Non-employee (guest/student) travel meal reimbursement and hosted events

Meal reimbursement for non-employee travel or for university business hosted events is actual and subject to the per person meal limits of $30 breakfast/$30 lunch/$70 dinner.

While guests and students are not subject to the per diem policy, units may reimburse per diem instead of actual expenses. Units also have the option to pre-pay per diems for students or guests with the Stored Value Card Program.

International Travel

The international travel information and registry provides important information and resources for faculty, staff, and students planning international travel. Links are available to current information on conditions in countries and world regions. The warnings that are provided are not intended to limit individual decisions, but to help university employees make informed and prudent decisions.

Non-employee Travel

Non-employees, students, and guests

University travel and business hosting expense policies and procedures apply to all individuals such as guest lecturers or prospective faculty or staff who are not university faculty or staff, but are to be reimbursed for university-approved transportation and related costs. In order to ensure compliance, it is the department’s responsibility to inform a non-employee about the university’s travel and business hosting policies and procedures prior to the non-employee’s visit.

Departmental budgets and/or the terms of contracts or grants may limit funding for non-employee travel. Whenever possible, travel and business hosting expenses of non-employees, students, and university guests should be paid by university PCard and should be arranged utilizing the university’s designated travel agency, Conlin Travel.

Spouse or dependent travel

Reimbursement for a spouse’s or dependent’s transportation, lodging, or meal expenses requires approval by a vice president, dean, chair, or senior university officer explaining why an exception is warranted. Expenses that do not have a clear university business purpose are not allowable.

Receipt Requirements

Guidelines for receipts:

A proper receipt shows the itemized description of the items purchased, the date of purchase, and the amount paid.  Receipts must contain appropriate detail, including starting and ending destinations, hotel charges, and detailed item charges.

Receipts are required for the following expenses:

  • Lodging, air, rail, and rental cars

  • All other single expenditures $75.00 and greater

As with other policies or guidelines, individual units may be stricter, therefore, requiring an itemized receipt.

Required receipts must be attached in the university’s travel and expense system (employees), or to the travel and business hosting expense report (non-employees). Approvers should confirm that the attached receipts are legible.

Business Hosting Guidelines

Business Purpose

Business Purpose:

Business meals are those taken with guests, colleagues, or donors during which focused business discussions take place. Business meals with vague, unfocused purposes (such as “to foster collaboration between departments”) are not permitted. A valid business purpose is required for all hosting expenses. Recurring hosting that takes place more frequently than once per month has heightened substantiation requirements. A unique dated agenda describing the topics discussed must be provided as documentation for frequent hosting that takes place more than once per month.



University representatives may be reimbursed for approved, necessary, and reasonable business meal expenditures. Business meal expenses, including non-alcoholic beverages, tax, and tip*, should not exceed the maximum per person allowances of $30/breakfast, $30/lunch, and $70/dinner.

Any business meal costs that exceed the maximum allowances as stated above must be accompanied by a detailed explanation and have approval from a supervisor or higher-level administrative authority. The expenses, including tax and tip*, that exceed the amounts listed above must be segregated and cannot be charged to General or Federal funds.

Expenses for alcoholic beverages are limited to $20 per person, per event, including tax and tip*. Alcohol expenses must be flagged with an “X” Class and charged to non-General, non-Federal, non-Sponsored funds or alternately may be covered with personal funds. Refer to the university’s policy on Indirect Cost Recovery Excluded (ICRX) Expenditures for a thorough explanation of ICRX expenditures, examples, and what university funds to charge to ICRX expenditures.

The following items are not included in the per-person cost for business hosting:

  • Venue deposit/rental
  • Linens and decorations
  • AV/equipment rental
  • Bartender or wait-staff fees (not including gratuity)


When development activities involve hosting donors, reimbursement for meals and alcohol will be at the actual amount incurred. The expense must nevertheless be reasonable from a business standpoint for the type of activity taking place.

When recruitment activities (for faculty, staff, or athletics) involve hosting recruits, reimbursement for meals and alcohol will be at the actual amount incurred. The expense must nevertheless be reasonable from a business standpoint for the type of activity taking place.

*The amount to tip is at the discretion of the unit, though generally 15-20% is typical.

Virtual Hosting

Virtual Hosting:

Virtual hosting for recruiting and student events that are held remotely due to extenuating circumstances are considered valid business expenses and thus non-taxable when the actual cost of the meal is covered. Providing gift cards/certificates for these events is subject to the same considerations under the University's policy on "Gifts, Prizes, Awards" (SPG 501.12).

The institutional interpretation of IRS guidelines for meals sent to the homes of employees for telephone/Zoom calls or other virtual meetings/events is that they do not represent a "valid business purpose" expense. Meals or gift cards provided to employees working remotely should be treated as taxable under the University's policy on "Gifts, Prizes, Awards" (SPG 501.12).