Travel Expenses Reimbursement Policy & Procedures
Uniting Church SA (UCSA) will reimburse personnel for travel and related expenses incurred while carrying out specific UCSA duties.
This policy stands alongside Synod by-law 12.1.7 dealing with attendance of representatives from each Congregation at authorised Presbytery and Synod meetings:
The by-law lists authorised Presbytery and Synod meetings as:
- Standing Committee;
- Pastoral Relations Committee/Placements Committee;
- Any commission, board or other committee that has a direct reporting responsibility to the Presbytery or Synod Standing Committee;
- Meetings of Mission Network key liaison persons organised by the Presbytery or the Synod;
- Joint Nominating Committees;
- Such other meetings as may be authorised by the Presbytery, the Synod or the Standing Committee from time to time.
All travel by paid personnel must be approved by the appropriate manager/supervisor prior to travel and all claims approved by the appropriate manager/supervisor before claims are submitted for reimbursement.
Personnel are expected to take reasonable steps to minimize travel expenses incurred and charged to UCSA whilst on official UCSA business. This also applies when travel arrangements are made for visitors and guests where the cost is to be borne by UCSA.
Travel by private vehicle in lieu of air must be in personnel’s own time and, unless specific approval has been granted, the cost of this travel must not exceed an airfare to the same destination.
When personnel use their own motor vehicle for UCSA business (following approval by the appropriate manager/supervisor) a travel allowance will be paid on a cents per kilometre basis. The rate will cover costs such as fuel, oil, repairs, tyres and maintenance as determined from time to time by the Stipends Committee.
However, if this travel allowance (excluding fuel costs) is likely to cost more than the hire of a rental car, then a rental car should be used.
Before being permitted to use their own motor vehicle for UCSA business, personnel must ensure that the motor vehicle is registered and that adequate comprehensive and third party property insurance is in place.
UCSA will not be responsible for payment of any traffic or parking fines incurred by personnel.
Reimbursement of expenses will only be possible where tax invoices are produced. The only exception to this requirement will be where expenditure on an item is for less than $25.00. Expenses under $25.00 will be reimbursed providing a handwritten receipt is attached with the date, time, place and business purpose of the expense. In all cases a cheque requisition and associated tax invoices must be submitted for authorisation and verification by the appropriate manager/supervisor before a claim can be made.
All domestic and international air travel will be in economy class where the cost is borne by UCSA.
All air travel must be approved by the appropriate manager/supervisor prior to booking.
Flights should be chosen on a least cost basis taking into account taxi/bus fares to and from the airport. Personnel will not be permitted to base airline carrier decisions on personal rewards programs (e.g. frequent flyer points).
Accommodation and Meals
UCSA will reimburse accommodation and meal expenses whilst personnel are on approved UCSA business in accordance with the Australian Taxation Office guidelines accessible via the following link http://law.ato.gov.au/atolaw/view.htm?docid=TXD/TD200721/NAT/ATO/00001
If a UCSA motor vehicle is unavailable, personnel can arrange to use a taxi to travel on UCSA business.
Taxi fares for UCSA business are to be paid by UCSA corporate credit card (where a card has been issued and use of the card is possible and practical). Alternatively, personnel will be reimbursed upon presentation and approval of tax invoices, or other acceptable documentation, by the appropriate manager/supervisor.
Incidental Reimbursable Expenses
Personnel may claim any incidental expenses for UCSA business related travel. Such incidental expenses include
- Internet access (if a UCSA mobile broadband card is not available)
- Bus and train fares – if not booked in advance
- Laundry – where the trip is in excess of seven (7) days away from home
- Departure Taxes – if not claimed in advance (Note: Some Government Departure Taxes are included in the cost of the airline ticket)
- Medical/physical capacity assessments including doctors’ vaccinations
- Medical expenses – which are recoverable under UCSA’s travel insurance policy
Non reimbursable Expenses
The following is an indicative list of non-reimbursable expenses:
- Airline club or lounge fees
- Charitable contributions
- Clothing – regardless of the circumstances (e.g., lost luggage or other emergency purchase situations)
- Clubs – athletic, social, and luncheon
- House-sitting – regardless of the circumstances (e.g., accompanying spouse)
- In-room movies
- Pet boarding charges
- Unreasonable personal telephone calls, fax and internet charges
- Toiletries – regardless of the circumstances (e.g., lost luggage)
Foreign Currency Translation
When expenses have been incurred using a foreign currency, this should be converted to Australian dollars ($AUD).
- Expenses paid in cash – use the Interbank (Oanda.com) conversion rate in effect at the time of the foreign currency transaction. To support the conversion rate used, submit the documentation received at the time of exchange as well as the appropriate receipts.
- Expenses paid by credit card – the conversion rate used by the credit card provider (found on the credit card statement) will be accepted as the basis for payment.
Reimbursement of Actual Expenses
Personnel must complete and submit a cheque requisition and ensure that tax invoices are attached. The appropriate manager/supervisor must approve the cheque requisition before it is forwarded Financial Services. Claims made under this policy must be submitted within one (1) month of the conclusion of their travel.
Reimbursement of expenses will be paid directly into a nominated bank account.
For audit purposes there must be a clear trail from the receipted amounts to the amounts claimed.
Australian Taxation Office (ATO)
The ATO requires reimbursable expenditure to be supported by adequate records which clearly establish that they were:
- ordinary and necessary;
- reasonable in amount; and
- incurred for a valid business purpose.
By completing and signing a cheque requisition for expenses incurred under this policy, you are testifying that the above three (3) ATO conditions have been met.
UCSA requires that the following criteria must be met to qualify for reimbursement:
- The identity of the supplier must be indicated
- The business purpose for the expenditure must be stated
- The name(s) and business relationship of any others for whom you are seeking reimbursement (e.g., entertainment, business meal, etc.) must be stated.
- Copies of tax invoices must be attached (e.g., itemised accommodation bills, airline passenger receipt coupons, car rental invoices, parking receipts, telephone bills, etc.) for all expense items greater than $25.00. Expense items under $25.00 will be reimbursed providing a handwritten receipt is attached with the date, time, place and business purpose of the expense
- Cash payments have only been made when other forms of payment are not accepted. A formal receipt should be obtained. Substitute or incomplete documented receipts will not be accepted and reimbursement will be disallowed.
- Tax Invoices that quote ABN and reference to GST (to enable UCSA to remit back to the ATO input and output credits).
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