Carroll College, Helena Montana

Travel Policy

Carroll College Business Office

Carroll College will reimburse employees for reasonable and necessary travel expenses incurred in the conduct of College business, including transportation, meals and lodging.

Reimbursement requests are not to be submitted for items provided free of charge, not personally paid for by the requestor, reimbursed by another source, or which will be paid or reimbursed by another source. Any reimbursement which is received by the requestor from another source for items reimbursed by the College shall be returned to the College.

Documentation Requirements

Allowable Travel Expenses


  1. Air Travel – Travelers are required to book the lowest-priced coach class airfare available. If you decide to change your airline ticket, the costs/penalties incurred by changing restricted airline reservations will not be reimbursed by the College unless approved in advance by your supervisor.
  2. Automobile Travel– The use of a private vehicle is discouraged, except for regional travel or for travel of one day or less. Employees are encouraged to use College owned vehicles while on College business. Employees utilizing personal vehicles shall carry their own insurance protection. The employee’s personal vehicle insurance is considered primary.

    The College will pay the Standard (Per Diem) Mileage Allowance rate per mile or Automobile-related Expenses as outlined below for official travel by private automobile.

    • Standard Mileage Allowance- Reimbursement will be based on the actual driving distance to reach the intended destination using the most direct route. The College will not reimburse employees commuting expenses between home and the College. The Standard Mileage Rate used to calculate the reimbursement is currently $.51/mile.
    • Automobile-related Expenses – actual expenses for fuel may be submitted in place of the Standard Mileage Allowance.
    • Other Allowed Transportation Expenses – necessary and reasonable charges for the following automobile-related expenses are allowed: Economical Rental Cars, Tolls, Ferries, Parking. Traffic and parking ticket expenses will not be reimbursed.

Prior to using a personal or College owned automobile, please notify the Business Office for Insurance Requirements.

College employees are entitled to a single room of good quality. If accompanied by guests, the employee is to cover any additional room charge from personal funds. Employees are to be reimbursed for the number of nights necessary for attendance at the assigned business activity. This normally means the night before the start of a morning session, any intervening nights prior to adjournment, and the following night if convenient transportation is not available.

The College reimburses all reasonable meals connected with the activity. Meals for spouses and other guest should be paid from personal funds. The employee may elect to be reimbursed under the per diem rates as outlined below or for actual meal expenses.

  • Per Diem Rates – a daily allowance for three meals has been established for the reimbursement of meals. Currently the per diem rate is $32.00. No receipts will be required if the traveler accepts the Per Diem rate for meal allowances. If the Per Diem rate for meal allowances is exceeded, justification, full documentation and receipts for all meals will be required. Acceptable meal receipts include charge card receipts, cash register receipts, and hotel receipts with meal costs itemized. In those cases where travel is less than one day, the meal allowances will be prorated as follows:
    • $6.00 Breakfast
    • $10.00 Lunch
    • $16.00 Dinner
  • Actual Meal Expenses an employee may elect to have actual meal expenses reimbursed instead of using the per diem rate. Justification, full documentation and receipts for all meals will be required for reimbursement. Acceptable meal receipts include charge card receipts, cash register receipts, and hotel receipts with meal costs itemized.
  • Reasonable tips and gratuities included on the receipt are reimbursable.

Non-Allowable Travel Expenses

Expenses submitted for reimbursement should be reasonable, necessary and business related.The following list of non-allowable expenses is not intended to be all inclusive:

  • Expenses not related to College business
  • Travel costs of spouses or family members (unless spouse or family members are employees on official college business)
  • Personal entertainment
  • Traffic citations, parking tickets and other fines
  • Kennel fees
  • Excess cost of circuitous or side trips for personal reasons
  • Childcare costs
  • Extra costs for additional person(s) in room
  • Purchase or rental of clothing to attend business functions
  • Purchases of toiletries, books, magazines, sporting goods, health or sporting facility usage, movie or theater tickets, movie rentals, laundry, personal telephone calls, or other items of a personal nature.
  • Lost/stolen cash or personal items.

Travel Advances

Travel Advances may be requested to cover reasonable out-of –pocket expenses related to official College travel. Advances should not be requested for lodging, conference fees or other substantial costs that can reasonably be prepaid or invoiced. Where feasible, direct payment to vendors is encouraged. A travel advance will be recorded as receivable in the requestor’s name until cleared with a Travel Reimbursement/Advance Request form documenting appropriate expense accounts.

Advance Request Requirements

  • Advances should be requested at least 7 days prior to travel
  • An employee may have only one travel advance outstanding at any given time
  • Travel advances are to be requested on Travel Reimbursement/Advance request form.

Expense Reimbursement Request Associated with Travel Advances

  • Travel advances must be indicated and deducted from total travel cost on a Travel Reimbursement/Advance Request form.
  • Any unused travel advance funds along with a completed Travel Reimbursement/Advance Request form must be received in the Business Office within 30 days of the associated travel.
Expenses > Advance Expenses < Advance Expense = Advance
Amount due employee Amount due College from employee No amounts due
Receivable cleared, expenses charged to appropriate accounts and payment made to employee Receivable cleared, expenses charged to appropriate accounts and employee to return excess Receivable cleared and expenses charged to appropriate accounts

IRS Requirements

Reimbursement procedures must comply with IRS Accountable Plan rules in order for travel advances and reimbursements to be considered non-taxable income to employees. Without proper documentation, advances and reimbursements must be reported as income on an employee’s W-2 form. Accountable Plans must meet the following requirements:

  • Advances and reimbursements must be made for business related expenses only
  • Requestors must provided written substantiation of expenses within a reasonable time. Carroll College requires reimbursement requests to be made within 30 days of the associated expense.
  • Employees must return any advance amounts in excess of properly substantiated expenses within a reasonable time after incurring the expenses. Carroll College requires return of excess advance amounts within 30 days of associated expenses.

Documentation Requirements

Reimbursement requests should be submitted on the standard Travel Reimbursement/Advance Request form. Using the form insures collection of necessary documentation in a standard and consistent format.

  • Original receipts must be included for any expense to be reimbursed unless an employee elects to be reimbursed under the College’s per diem guidelines.
  • Lodging receipts must be itemized. Credit card receipts, statements or cancelled checks are not sufficient to satisfy itemization requirements.
  • Reimbursement requests for entertainment or hospitality expense must include a description of the business purposes and names/titles of those being entertained.
    • What Information Should I Include When Submitting an Employee Expense Reimbursement Report?
      The Business Office must make sure that each employee expense reimbursement report includes the documentation that the IRS is known to look for in its audits. The general rule is that the IRS requires documentation of the “5 Ws”  


      Who, What, When, Where, and Why

      • Who – Names/Titles of those entertained including and explanation of the relationship if applicable.
      • What – Nature of the expense incurred and substantiation of the expense incurred (usually on receipt)
      • When – When was expense incurred (usually on receipt)
      • Where – Where was expense incurred (usually on receipt)
      • Why – Business Purpose of meal/entertainment/lodging/expense


Requestor: Requestor’s signature is required to certify that reimbursement requests are true, correct and in compliance with the policies of the College.

  • Requestor must sign and date the form
  • Use of a signature stamp or signing another person’s name is not allowed.

Approver: Approvers have primary responsibility for insuring that reimbursement requests are submitted in accordance with College policies. This includes reviewing accompanying documentation for completeness in support of reimbursement requests. Missing, incomplete or inadequate documentation should be resolved with requestor’s submission of expenses for payments.

  • The Approver must have authorization to sign for the account(s) being charged
  • The Approver cannot be the requestor
  • Whenever possible, the Approver should be the requestor’s direct supervisor
  • The Approver should not report to the requestor

How to Complete the Advance Request Form (Submitted Prior to Travel)

  1. Payee Information: Provide the full name and the employee number. Please type or print.
  2. Purpose: For a non-travel advance, indicate the intended expenditure and why an advance is required. For a travel advance, indicate the purpose of travel and destination.
  3. Budget code: Enter valid account you want to charge expenses to.
  4. Need advance by: Remember checks are processed on Thursdays and you must have request to Business Office by Tuesday at 4:00 PM to get a check within the week.
  5. Estimated Expenses: Provide the dollar amount for the expenses being requested. The minimum amount processed for an advance is $50.00
  6. Signature: Read conditions of advance before signing.
  7. Department Head Approval: Authorized department head must sign.
  8. Business Office Approval: Controller or Assistant Controller must sign.
  9. Where to Send the Advance Request- After completing the Advance Request send it to the Accounts Payable Department.

How to Complete the Travel Reimbursement Form (Completed After Travel takes Place)

  1. Name and Employee Number: Your employee number is found on the top left hand corner of your paycheck stub. Please enter your employee number to facilitate processing.
  2. Advance Form:Please attach a copy of any advance you’ve received related to any particular trip for which you are completing the expense report form.
  3. Department to Charge: Please indicate the department to charge the expenses to. Just because you work in a particular department doesn’t mean that is the department that the travel is for. For example, faculty development comes from a different account.
  4. Travel Destination: Indicate destination.
  5. Date: Indicate month, day and year of travel for each column.
  6. Hotel: Under a particular date, enter hotel charges for that date and attach original receipts.
  7. Meals: Meals are either reimbursed at actual cost for all meals or on a per diem rate. Use either the per diem rates or actual costs incurred, but do not use a combination of the two for any particular trip.
  8. Transportation: Indicate mode of transportation and attach original receipts for all plane tickets, bus tickets, rental cars, taxicabs, parking and other transportation costs such as fuel receipts. If you are taking the standard mileage rate of 32.50 cents, you need to indicate miles driven from destination to destination.
  9. Totals: Please total your expenses by item across the page and down the page by day. The grand total of line items must be the same as the cumulative total of daily expenses.
  10. Subtract Advance Received: Enter the amount of any advance received.
  11. Balance Due Employee: If the expenses exceed the advance, enter the amount due the employee. A check will be drawn and you can pick it up in the Business Office within (10) business days if your report has been filled out completely.
  12. Balance Due College: If the advance exceeds expenses, enter the amount due the College. For a balance due the College, attach a check to this form made payable to Carroll College and submit it to the Business Office.
  13. Accounting Distribution of Expenditures: Indicate the account code to charge the expenditures. Remember to code expenditures to the type of expenditure not where you may have budget funds available.
  14. Signature: the recipient must sign this portion.
  15. Approval Signature: Obtain your supervisor’s signature.
  16. Where to Send: Attach original receipts to expense form and forward to the Business Office for processing. If all information is not provided, the expense form will be returned to be completed and reimbursement will be delayed.

Travel Policy

Download the printable version of Carroll's travel policy. (.docx format)