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Business Expense Policy

Effective Date: October 1, 2006

Latest Revision: 04/01/17

 

POLICY STATEMENT

This policy defines the circumstances under which a faculty or staff member can be reimbursed for business expenses incurred on behalf of the University.

 

The primary components of this policy relate to the reimbursement of entertainment and gift expenses.  This defines the circumstances under which a faculty or staff member can be reimbursed for expenses incurred for the entertainment of other University employees or third party guests.  The policy also defines University policy regarding payment for gifts made to other University employees or to third parties.

 

REASON FOR POLICY:

The business expense policy:

* Assures that the University and the employee are in compliance with Internal Revenue Service regulations that define the types of expenses that can be reimbursed without being counted as taxable income.

* Assures that business expenses charged to sponsored projects conform to the regulations and restrictions placed on the use of the funds by the sponsor.

* Enables the University to protect its reputation and not-for-profit status by avoiding excessive or inappropriate spending.

* Provides departments with the ability to control how their budgets are expended.

 

PRIMARY GUIDANCE TO WHICH THIS POLICY RESPONDS:

This policy primarily responds to the regulations of the US Internal Revenue Service, the rules established by the agencies and entities that sponsor research at Columbia and the federal and state laws that govern not-for-profit organizations.  For more detail, please see the appendix A.

 

RESPONSIBLE UNIVERSITY OFFICE & OFFICER

Richard Mead, Executive Director, Accounts Payable

 

REVISION HISTORY

Revised – 01/01/2016

Latest revision-01/01/2017

 

WHO IS GOVERNED BY THIS POLICY

This policy applies to any University employee who is seeking reimbursement for business expenses. Due to budgetary constraints, some University departments have instituted more restrictive reimbursement guidelines.  In cases where there is a discrepancy between this policy and a department, granting agency or donor policy, the more restrictive policy will apply.

 

 WHO SHOULD KNOW THIS POLICY:

The employee or student requesting reimbursement should know this policy along with:

* Senior Executive Officers

* Deans

* Senior Business Officers

* Chairs of Departments, Directors of Institutes and Centers

* Department Administrators

* Divisional Administrators with financial responsibility and oversight

* Program Directors

* Principal Investigators

* Faculty

* Students

* Post-doctoral fellows

* Graduate research assistants

* Junior Officers and Non-Officers with financial responsibility and oversight

 

EXCLUSIONS & SPECIAL SITUATIONS

This policy covers local business expenses and transportation.  It does not cover business trips taken away from the NY area where there is an overnight stay involved.  This is addressed in the Travel Expense Policy.

On rare occasions, an employee may incur an extraordinary expense for which they believe they are entitled to reimbursement.  In cases where an employee believes that they are entitled to reimbursement for an expense that is not addressed in the current policy or not allowed under current policy they may request an exception. Exception requests should be infrequent and require the approval of a Dean, Vice President, Associate Dean, or Senior Financial Officer.  See the procedures for detailed instructions for requesting an exception.

 

To see the full text of this policy, please use the link on the right.