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Handbook of Business Procedures

Date published: 
Last revised: 
Issued by: 

Nov. 17, 2011
September 30, 2014
Travel Services

 

Part 11. Travel - Table of Contents


11.4. CASH ADVANCE FOR TRAVEL

A. Introduction

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requires The University of Texas at Austin to issue cash advances within the requirements published in IRS Publication 463, Travel, Entertainment, Gift, and Car Expenses. For specific information about cash advances, see IRS Publication 463, Section 6, Reimbursements: Accountable Plans.

The IRS allows issuance of a cash advance for travel expenses within thirty days of the travel expense. In order to ensure compliance with the IRS restrictions, the university has developed procedures for the issuance and reconciliation of a cash advance issued for travel purposes.

B. Justification

When an employee requests a cash advance, the Office of Accounting determines whether a cash advance is justified based on the specific circumstances of the travel. An employee may be eligible for a cash advance if any of the following are true:

  • The cash advance requested is a minimum of $100.00.
  • The destination is in an isolated area or region with limited access to suppliers or services that accept credit cards.
  • Travel is for an extended period of time.
  • The employee does not qualify for the university-facilitated Diners Club Travel Credit Card.
  • The employee’s university-sponsored Diners Club Travel Credit Card is lost or stolen.
  • A faculty member takes a group of students overseas for educational purposes, such as for a study abroad program.
  • It would be a financial hardship for the employee to pay the travel expenses out of pocket.
  • Important: All funds required for travel should be requested on the Cash Advance Request form Travel Cash Advance Request Form.*DEFINE VP5s for reimbursement are not to be issued after travel is completed. Expenses in excess of the original cash advance amount will be reimbursed by the Cash Advance Desk via a *DEFINE VP2 payment voucher.

C. How to Request a Travel Cash Advance

Travel cash advance requests must be submitted to the Travel Section of the Office of Accounting at least seven business days prior to the date funds are needed. To request a travel cash advance, take the following steps:

  1. Complete the Travel Cash Advance Request Form. Note: The Departmental Reviewer is listed on this form when the UBOC officer does not personally review and sign the Travel Reconciliation Summary Form. This person can be anyone authorized by the UBOC.
  2. Print the completed form on departmental letterhead. The form must be signed by two people. The form must be signed by two people:
    1. A University Business Officers Council (UBOC) member
    2. An authorized signer on the account (See GB1 screen of *DEFINE.) (Note: The traveler may not sign the request form.)
  3. Assemble a packet that includes the following items:
    1. Completed Travel Cash Advance Request Form Note: All funds required for travel should be requested on the Cash Advance Request form. *DEFINE VP5s for reimbursement are not to be issued after travel is completed. Expenses in excess of the original cash advance amount will be reimbursed by the Cash Advance Desk via a *DEFINE VP2 payment voucher
    2. A copy of the *DEFINE Request for Travel Authorization (VE5 document) for the traveler
    3. All required authorization documents listed in section D. Required Documentation
  4. Send by campus mail or hand deliver the packet of original documents to the Cash Advance Desk in the Office of Accounting, Main 132, Mail code K5300.

Two methods of distribution are available for travel cash advances.

  1. Cash Advance Checks
    Cash advance checks are held for pick-up in MAI 132 in the Office of Accounting, where the promissory note is signed by the traveler and is exchanged for the cash advance check.
  2. Direct Deposit
    On rare occasions, such as when the traveler is currently traveling, direct deposit may be approved by the Office of Accounting. The Cash Advance Desk will provide a promissory note to the department. The department must obtain the signatures of the traveler and a witness and return the promissory note to the Cash Advance Desk at least three business days prior to the date the funds are to be deposited in the traveler’s bank account.

D. Documentation Required Prior to Travel

To request a cash advance for travel expenses, complete the Travel Cash Advance Request Form and include the traveler’s budget, along with expected types and amounts of expenses during travel:

1. Travel

If the traveler expects to use the cash advance to pay expenses for any additional university employee or student, the *DEFINE Request for Travel Authorization (VE5 document) ID number for each additional person must be included, along with the expected types and amounts of travel expenses to be incurred by these additional travelers.

2. Professional services

If the traveler expects to use the cash advance to pay for any nonemployee services (guides, field workers, participants in studies, guest lecturers, transcribers, etc.) or travel costs  (meals, hotels, bus, airfare, etc.), a completed Authorization for Individual Services (PBS) document (for individual authorization) or Authorization of Professional Services Form (APS) form (for 26-accounts and blanket authorizations) must be included for each event.

3. Entertainment

If the traveler expects to use the cash advance to pay entertainment or business meeting expenses, a completed Official Occasion Expense Form must be included for each planned event.

4. Program expenses

Include a list of staff and students traveling with the program and the details of planned program expenses (the cost of the students’ travel and excursion trips, museum fees, etc.), which must be itemized, including types, locations, and amounts. The planned program expenses must be separated from the employee’s personal expenses

E. Promissory Note

If the travel cash advance is approved by the Office of Accounting, a promissory note (view sample promissory note) is prepared by the Office of Accounting and must be signed by the university employee before the cash advance check is released. The promissory note indicates the traveler’s acceptance of the travel cash advance terms, which include providing the following documentation to Travel Services upon completion of travel:

  • a complete reconciliation of the funds used
  • required receipts for all expenses incurred, according to travel rules
  • repayment of unused funds upon the completion of the trip

If promissory note terms are not met, the traveler will be subject to refusal for future travel cash advances.

F. Reconciliation

1. Reconciliation Due Date

Reconciliations are due from the traveler to the department within two weeks after the end date of the travel period authorized by the travel cash advance request. The department is required to submit the fully approved reconciliation, along with all required receipts and any unused funds, to the Travel Services Cash Advance Desk within thirty days after the end travel date. Note: If the traveler routinely does not turn in reconciliations to the department within two weeks after the date travel ended, the traveler may be subject to refusal for future travel cash advances.

2. Documentation Required After Travel is Completed

When the traveler returns, a reconciliation of the travel cash advance is required to identify how the funds were used, and to determine the amount of excess money to be returned by the traveler or the amount of the excess expenses to be refunded to the traveler. The expenses are identified by category (type of expense), date, and amount for each unique destination. The traveler must complete one of two Travel Cash Advance Reconciliation Forms: less than a week (view sample) or more than a week (view sample) or complete his or her department’s standard form and submit it with the receipts, following these guidelines:

  • All receipts must be provided, by category of expense, in date order. All four edges of each receipt must be taped to letter-sized paper (8.5” x 11”) so the receipts are ready for imaging.
  • For trips that last more than one week, the following guidelines apply if the reconciliation summary does not fit on one page:
    • All receipts must be numbered.
    • The documentation submitted must include an Excel spreadsheet summarizing each expense category: description of the expense, the receipt number, and the date and amount of each receipt within that category. Note: In lieu of an Excel spreadsheet, an adding machine tape may be submitted for each expense category. Each line item on the tape must be numbered with the number on the corresponding receipt, and a description of each item on the receipt must be provided.
  • Receipts in foreign languages must be translated to English.
  • One rate of conversion must be chosen for the entire cash advance. Add the total of all foreign receipts and then convert the foreign total to U.S. dollars.  Use the OANDA Currency Converter to choose a conversion rate. Include printed documentation of the currency conversion rate used and the rationale of how the rate was determined. Options for choosing the rate of conversion include:
    • Actual credit card rate of conversion
    • Actual bank rate of conversion
      • The date the currency was actually exchanged in the foreign country
      • The date the currency was deposited into a foreign bank account
    • The period average rate calculated in the OANDA Historical Exchange Rates table
    • Any date in OANDA that falls within the trip begin and end dates

    Note: A daily conversion rate may be used if the department provides justification. Some reasons for justification include:
    • Conversion rates fluctuate wildly
    • Actual conversions were performed several times
    • Daily conversion rate is required by the department
  • The following people must review and sign the Travel Cash Advance Reconciliation Form:
    • the traveler
    • UBOC member or departmental reviewer

G. Returning Unused Funds

When a department or individual is ready to turn in a reconciliation that includes unused funds, the department or individual must send an e-mail to the Cash Advances section at oa.cashadvances@austin.utexas.edu to set up an appointment between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. to hand deliver the funds to the Office of Accounting. The Cash Advance Desk will reply to confirm the appointment. The e-mail should include:

  • The approximate time the funds and travel cash advance documentation will be brought to the Office of Accounting
  • An attachment of the original cash advance request memo

Note: If the original cash advance memo is not available, the e-mail should also include the following information:

  • cash advance payment voucher document ID, if known
  • traveler’s name
  • destination
  • dates of travel
  • amount of the cash advance

At the appointment, the front desk personnel in the Office of Accounting will issue a receipt of payment to document the return of funds.

Forms of payment accepted:

  • cash (must be exact change)
  • checks
  • traveler’s checks
  • money orders

Reconciliations without repayment may be sent via campus mail (K5300); however, the Office of Accounting is not responsible for lost documentation. The department must keep copies of all reconciliations and supporting documentation until the cash advance is closed.

Documentation, checks, or cash should not be sent via campus mail. The Office of Accounting is not responsible for documents, checks, or cash placed in campus mail.

H. Contact Information

For more information, contact the Cash Advances section of Travel Services.

 

 

Part 11. Travel - Table of Contents