Business Expense Reimbursements Policy

Revised 04/08/2022 - Addendum Business Expense Reimbursements Policy  regarding commuting/travel expenses for remote employees.

With the remote work, many questions have emerged about reimbursable expenses for remote work. As a reminder, per the Business Expense Reimbursement Policy, purchases of office/peripheral equipment and supplies for use at home are not allowed. Any exceptions must be approved by School Financial Dean or Unit equivalent.

See instructions and updates regarding tax exemption guidance for Harvard business related purchases and travel 

See Tax Exemption Forms

Effective 1/1/2018 as part of theTax Cuts and Jobs Act, all permanent staff and faculty moving expenses are considered taxable.
Effective 05/01/2017 gifts and charitable donations have been increased to $100.

This policy establishes when Harvard will pay for non-travel business expenses of any individuals conducting business on the University’s behalf.  Harvard will reimburse for allowable, reasonable, properly substantiated expenses that are necessary and appropriate in the conduct of University business. All business expense reimbursements must meet the IRS accountable plan rules in order to be excluded from the recipient’s gross income.  Business expenses paid by any method must comply with this policy.  While no policy can address every situation, this document is intended to cover the most common business expense scenarios; where unusual circumstances arise, the spirit of this policy – along with good judgment – must prevail. 

Business Expense Reimbursements Policy Table of Contents

1)      Ensure expense is allowable.  

2)      Satisfy Harvard’s rules for reimbursements. Harvard’s rules are based on the IRS accountable plan and differ slightly for employees and non-employees.

3)      Treat expenses payable by outside organizations appropriately. 


For detailed information, download the full text of the Business Expense Reimbursements Policy (PIN required).