Travel and Entertainment

Lewis & Clark’s policy is to reimburse employees and non-employees for reasonable and necessary travel and entertainment expenses incurred for authorized College business.

Travel and Entertainment expenses may be charged to a College-issued purchasing card or submitted for reimbursement and reported on a Travel and Entertainment Expense Report or a Check Request. All expenses must be substantiated, have a documented business purpose, and be reported in a timely manner.

Additional guidelines apply when travel expenses will be charged to a grant, sponsored project or other restricted account. The Guidelines for Travel paid by External Grants augment College policy. Completed Travel Expense Reports charged to external grants should be submitted to your Grant Administrator for approval and processing.

Travel Authorization

Each department is responsible for making its own travel arrangements. Employees must obtain the prior approval of their supervisor before booking college-funded travel.

Travel Advances

Travel Advances are available to defray direct expenditures incurred by college employees traveling on college business.   Such expenses include cab fares, meals, tips, and other incidental expenses that typically must be paid in cash.  The minimum Travel Advance will be $25.00.  

In order to obtain a travel advance, complete a Check Request in the amount of the advance.  The request must also include a budget listing the type and amount of anticipated expenses, the dates, destination, and business purpose of the travel.  An advance must be requested no more than 30 days prior to the scheduled travel date.  The budget manager must approve the travel advance request. An employee may not authorize his/her own advance.  The employee’s Lewis & Clark ID number is required for travel advances. Submit the Check Request form to Accounts Payable by 12:00 p.m. Friday for pick-up in the Student and Departmental Account Services Office at 12:00 noon the following Friday.

A Travel Advance is considered to be a loan to the employee until the employee submits a Travel and Entertainment Expense Report documenting the use of the funds for business purposes. You are personally responsible for this money until it can be accounted for. After the report is submitted to the Business Office, the advance will be cleared and the expense charged to the departmental budget.

Travel advances should be accounted for on a Travel and Entertainment Expense Report within one month of the end of the travel associated with the advance. If the properly documented Travel and Entertainment Expense Report is not received within 60 days, the amount of the travel advance will be added to the employee’s income for the month. If the employee subsequently submits a properly documented Travel and Entertainment Expense Report, he/she may be able to deduct the amount on their tax return for that year.

When your trip has been completed, return any remaining travel advance funds to the Student & Departmental Account Services Office. These funds should be deposited to your travel advance account, not your department’s budget. Attach the Student & Departmental Services Office receipt to your Travel and Entertainment Expense Report along with your other receipts. Record the travel advance on the Travel and Entertainment Expense Report as a credit in the Cash Summary section under the “Less: Travel Advances” line.

Note: Pre-paid travel expenses such as airfare, conference registration fees, and lodging can be reimbursed to the employee prior to travel through the Expense Reimbursement process. See reimbursement instructions below.

Travel & Entertainment Expense Reports

The College requires an itemized Travel and Entertainment Expense Report for all travel expense reimbursements.  A properly completed Expense Report signed by the employee & supervisor and with all required receipts attached should be sent to the Business Office within one month of the completion of each trip.  

  • If the properly documented Travel & Entertainment Expense Report form is not received by the Business Office within 60 days of the end of the travel, the amount of the reimbursement will be added to the employee’s income for the month. If a properly documented Travel & Entertainment Expense Report form is submitted at a later date, the employee may be able to deduct the amount on their tax return for that year.
  • Meal costs incurred while on an overnight trip for the college within the United States & US Territories are reimbursed on a per diem basis. Receipts are not required.  See the Per Diem Allowance for Meals policy below.  All other expenses, such as airfare, lodging, car rental, or cab fare, require original itemized receipts. Grant-funded travel may require additional documentation. 
  • A business purpose description must be provided for all expenditures. The description of the business purpose should clearly spell out the benefit to Lewis & Clark College resulting from your travel and/or entertainment. For example: “travel to Seattle” is not a business purpose; “travel to Seattle for admissions recruiting” is a business purpose.

Travel and Entertainment Expense Reports are available by download from this website and in the Business Office.

Receipts/Lost Receipts


Detailed receipts are required for all non-Per Diem expenses over the amount of $25.00. Receipts should be attached to the Expense Report, and arranged in the order that they are listed on that report. Where expenses are shared with external organizations, a duplicate copy of the receipts will suffice when submitted with either a copy of the Expense Report submitted to the other organization or a common Expense Report showing all expenses charged to both Lewis & Clark and the other organization.

In all other cases, original receipts must be submitted for reimbursement.

Lost Receipts 

Proof of payment is still required.  Without proof of payment, only expenditures of $25.00 or less will be reimbursed. Along with proof of payment, the employee must submit a signed memorandum, approved by the supervisor, and stating:

  • The amount and purpose of the expense.
  • That no receipt or canceled check is available.
  • That no other reimbursement of expense has been or will be, sought or accepted from any source.

Non-Reimbursable Expenses

In general, expenses not directly related to or required for official college travel and incurred primarily for the traveler’s convenience are not reimbursable. Examples of non-reimbursable expenses are:

  • Auto insurance, except when traveling in a foreign country
  • Baggage insurance, except where assets are owned by the college
  • Excess baggage fees
  • Life Insurance
  • Personal entertainment
  • In-room movies
  • Non-entertainment meals in excess of per diem rates

Travel and Entertainment Reimbursement Policy

The following policy complies with IRS regulations. If an employee fails to meet these guidelines, reimbursements may have to be reported as employee income on the employee’s W-2 form, and subject to withholding for employment taxes.


Day Trips
The College does not reimburse for meal costs incurred on one-day (non-overnight) trips. The IRS does not view reimbursements for meals on one-day trips as an allowable expense.   Meals that individual purchases while traveling between locations without an overnight stay or while at a local seminar are personal and not reimbursable.

This does not refer to or include reimbursements of expenditures for meals with a specific, substantiated business purpose. A substantiated business purpose in this circumstance includes lunches where business is the main topic or purpose of the meeting. The College will reimburse these meals where there is a clear, substantiated business purpose.  In these circumstances, it will be necessary to obtain and submit an itemized receipt in order to be reimbursed.  See the requirements for reimbursement of meals associated with a specific business purpose in the Entertainment policy.

Per Diem Allowance for Meals
Meal costs that are not considered entertainment and are incurred while on an overnight trip for the college are reimbursed on a per diem basis. Under a per diem method, the individual receives a daily allowance in lieu of reimbursement of the actual cost of meals while traveling away from home.  The per diem covers all meals and incidentals. Purchases of coffee, alcohol, snacks, hotel gratuities, etcetera are not separately reimbursable above the per diem amount.

The per diem amount must be substantiated by recording the dates, the location, and the business purpose of travel.  The description of the business purpose should clearly spell out the benefit to Lewis & Clark College resulting from your travel.  For example: “travel to Seattle” is not a business purpose; “travel to Seattle for admissions recruiting” is a business purpose.

The per diem rate is broken down into separate amounts for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and incidentals.  If a third party is providing one of your meals such as a breakfast provided by the hotel or lunch provided at a conference, or if you are claiming reimbursement for a meal considered entertainment, the per diem rate claimed must be reduced by the portion represented by the meal provided.  Meals that could reasonably be eaten at home on the dates of departure and return should also be deducted from the daily rate.

Per Diem Rates

The current rate, in effect, is $64.00.  The breakdown of the daily rate is as follows:

Breakfast         14.00

Lunch              16.00

Dinner             29.00

Incidentals      5.00

Your supervisor may establish lower per diem rates for your travel due to budgetary limitations or other factors such as type of lodging. The rates above represent the maximums that will be reimbursed by the college.

Per Diem Rates in High-Cost Areas

The following areas are currently considered high cost for travel: US Territories, the states of Alaska and Hawaii, and the metropolitan areas of Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Oakland, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington DC.  The per diem rate for these high-cost areas is $74.00 per day.  You may use this higher cost rate for days when you will be staying in one of the listed areas at the end of the day.  The breakdown of the higher cost daily rate into individual meals is as follows:

Breakfast         17.00         

Lunch              18.00

Dinner             34.00

Incidentals      5.00

Your supervisor may establish lower per diem rates for your travel due to budgetary limitations or other factors. The rates above represent the maximums that will be reimbursed by the college.

Per Diem Rates for International Travel

Employees may use the per diem method for international travel by searching for the current per diem rate and meal allocations published by the US State Department. The published state department meal allocations plus a $5 incidental per diem is the maximum amount reimbursable by the college. Your supervisor may establish lower per diem rates for your travel due to budgetary limitations or other factors.

US Department of State’s Per Diem Rates 

Allocation of M&IE Rates


Employees should book standard room accommodations at non-luxury/moderately priced hotels. Short-term rentals through vendors such as Airbnb or VRBO are also acceptable if pricing is commensurate to or lower than hotel accommodations. Lodging receipts must be submitted with the Travel Expense Report. Meals and other incidental expenses charged to the hotel room should be reported on the appropriate lines of the Travel Expense Report. (not under “Lodging”).    If employee lodges with friends or relatives while on a College-related trip, the College will reimburse the cost of a restaurant meal or hospitality gift in lieu of payment (and by way of saying thank you); this is generally not allowable on grant-funded travel. The cost of such a meal or gift should be less than the cost of one night’s lodging in the area. The employee should submit a memo of explanation.

Employees paying for lodging deposits in advance with their own funds may request reimbursement prior to the travel date through the Expense Reimbursement process.  See reimbursement instructions above.


Business-related expenses incurred by a College employee for the benefit of other persons (e.g. donors, Trustees, vendors, etc.) are classified as entertainment expenses. Details regarding place, business purpose, and persons entertained, must be reported in order to satisfy IRS standards. The business purpose should clearly describe the benefit gained or expected to be gained.

Entertainment expenses incurred separately from a business trip may be reported in the “Entertainment” section of a Travel and Entertainment Expense Report, or on a Check Request form - in either case, the details listed above must be reported. Receipts are required for all items over $25.00. See the Lost Receipt section above if you have lost an entertainment-related expense.


Air Travel

Each traveler is responsible for arranging, confirming, and canceling reservations and for obtaining refunds in the case of cancellations. Base economy/coach class tickets should be booked for all travel. Airline fees charged for reserving a base economy seat, checking luggage, or use of wifi to allow for work during the flight are reimbursable. Economy “plus” seats that provide extra legroom or other amenities are permissible only for flights greater than six hours. Departments may exercise tighter restrictions on the use of economy plus due to budget constraints. Comment end

Travel Insurance for flight cancellation is discouraged. Generally, the accumulated cost of flight insurance to the college exceeds the cost of canceled flights. In limited situations such as grant-funded travel or when booking travel for a non-LC employee (interviewee) travel insurance may be warranted.

Airfare must be reported on the Travel and Entertainment Expense Report as airfare expense. 

If you choose to extend a business trip for personal reasons, you are responsible for payment of all personal expenses, including any increase in airfare incurred for the extended trip. The airfare for the business-only portion of the trip is the maximum airfare for which you may be reimbursed by the College.  When you book your flight, you should print and save a quote for airfare for the business-only trip dates. Submit the quote along with the receipt for the flight you purchase when you complete your Travel Expense Report and explain in the comments section that you extended the trip for personal time.  The cost of the business-only flight will be the maximum amount reimbursed.  It is preferred that you use personal funds to pay for airfare when personal time results in a higher fare; if you use a Pcard, you will be required to reimburse the College for the portion of the charge that is not allowed.    

Use of Personal Vehicles

The current mileage rate, effective June 1, 2023, is $0.655 per mile.

Mileage is to be based on the most direct route. The College does not reimburse employees for commuting between home and campus.

The mileage rate covers all costs of automobile ownership, operation, and maintenance, including insurance. Employees’ personal auto insurance serves as the primary coverage if the employee elects to use a personal vehicle for College business. The college’s insurance policy may be available for excess coverage.

Use of personal vehicles is not recommended when transporting other College employees or students, because it exposes the owner to serious financial loss in the event of an accident. If a personal vehicle is used for College business the driver’s personal automobile insurance is primary in the event of an accident (i.e. claims filed are first the responsibility of the driver’s policy). In the event of an accident involving passengers who are College employees or students, a copy of the accident report (or other notification) should be submitted to the Business Office immediately upon return to the College.

Rental Cars

You must be authorized as a driver by the college’s Occupational Health and Safety Officer in order to be reimbursed for a rental car.  For instructions, go to  Vehicle Rental Policies & Procedures.

The College will reimburse employees for the cost of renting a compact or standard-size car and for automobile-related expenses. It is not necessary when renting a car within the United States to buy additional insurance from the rental agency, because the College’s insurance provides coverage in excess of the rental agency’s insurance. For insurance reasons, employees filling out car rental agreements should specify “Lewis & Clark College” after their own name.

Vehicle Rentals made with Purchasing cards include Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver coverage for damage due to collision or theft for rentals of 14 days or less. (Restrictions apply - Please read details on  Cardholder should decline the collision coverage on the rental agreement and report any accidents within 45 days.  This becomes primary collision and theft coverage but does not cover injuries or personal liability.

It may be necessary to purchase additional auto insurance when renting a car in a foreign country.

In the event of an accident, a copy of the accident report (or other notification) should be submitted to the Business Office immediately upon return to the College.

Spousal Travel Policy

Policy Applicability

Lewis & Clark may provide reimbursement for reasonable travel expenses for the spouse/partner of an employee (referred to as spousal travel) when such travel serves to further the interests of the College. This policy applies to short-term business travel such as visits to donors or attendance at a conference. The College recognizes that the work of cultivating donor relationships and building the reputation of the College may benefit from building relationships among spouses as well as College employees. It is generally expected that this type of travel would be limited to spouses of Executive Council members. Approval for reimbursement of spousal travel is distinct from the determination of spousal travel as taxable compensation.

Approval / Reimbursement of Spousal Travel

All spousal travel must be approved, in writing and in advance, by the employee’s supervisor. Approval by the relevant Dean or Vice President is also required in cases where the employee’s supervisor is not a member of the College’s Executive Council. It is expected that these cases would be unusual and infrequent.

Approved spousal travel expenses must comply with all College expense and reimbursement policies and be covered by budgeted departmental travel funds.

Evidence of written pre-approval must be submitted with all requests for reimbursement and must include the following information:

Description of travel: location, duration, and business purpose for employee travel.

Spousal travel justification: description of the purpose of spousal travel including specific events to be attended by the spouse and/or duties to be performed by the spouse in service of the College.

Business vs. Personal time allocation: An estimate of spousal time allocation for the trip, for example, 80% business / 20% personal.

Approval may be requested and documented via email or completion of a Spousal Travel Pre-Approval Request available on the Business Office website.

Spousal Travel as Taxable Compensation

Where an employer pays for an employee’s spouse to join the employee on work travel, the costs associated with the employee’s spouse are generally taxed to the employee as compensation. 26 CFR § 1.61-21(a)(4). However, under Code §132, spousal travel can be excluded from an employee’s pay as a working-condition fringe benefit if the following conditions are met:

  • The expense otherwise qualifies for a deduction by the employee under Code §162(a);
  • The employee and employer can adequately show that the spousal travel has a bona fide business purpose; and
  • The employee provides substantiation for the travel.

A bona fide business purpose reasonably exists where:

  • The employee and College can articulate the value in the spouse’s attendance at the conference, meeting, or other event;
  • The spouse has little free time and instead spends the majority of their time at College-related events; and
  • The spouse has a role to play during the travel that can be clearly articulated.

In the event that a bona fide business purpose that meets the criteria above is documented and submitted by the employee and approved by their supervisor, the College will exclude the reimbursement of related spousal travel expenses from taxable compensation. Reimbursement of spousal travel that does not meet this criteria will be treated as taxable compensation to the employee.

The College cannot offer tax advice, and employees should always speak with their own tax advisors. Any taxes or penalties that may become due on behalf of an employee for the costs of travel paid by the College are the employee’s and their spouse’s responsibility.

Business Office Forms

Please go to the Business Office Forms to select the form you wish to download.

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