Version 12/01/2015.M01 posted 1/4/2021 contains minor changes to Appendix G.
Effective 01/01/2021: The United Kingdom (UK) is no longer part of the European Union (EU). Therefore, the Open Skis Agreement with EU countries no longer applies to the UK. See the U.S. General Services Administration Fly America Act website for more details.
Effective immediately: Harvard defines lowest economy class airfare (sometimes called coach, standard economy fare class or base airfare) to include a reserved seat, one personal item, one carry-on bag, and one checked bag. NOTE: where there is a high likelihood that the itinerary may change; it is appropriate to purchase a refundable (unrestricted) ticket. Include in the business purpose section of the reimbursement request the reason for purchasing a refundable ticket.
Effective 01/01/2018, As part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), all payments to staff and faculty for permanent relocation (moving) expenses must be treated as taxable income.
Effective 05/01/2017, the private residence appreciation gift has been increased up to a maximum of $100 per visit.
This policy establishes how Harvard University will reimburse individuals for travel expenses incurred conducting University business. As a public charity that benefits from gifts by donors and sponsored awards, Harvard University has a stewardship obligation to use its funds prudently; all Harvard University employees must use University resources wisely and in the fullest support of Harvard’s mission of education and research. As such, travel expenses must be reasonable and necessary, and travelers must always use the most cost-effective means of travel. All travel reimbursements must meet the IRS accountable plan rules in order to be excluded from the traveler’s gross income. While no policy can address every scenario, this document is intended to cover the most common travel-related situations; where unusual circumstances arise, the spirit of this policy – along with good judgment – should prevail.
Travel Policy Table of Contents
Select your means of travel
- Air travel (see Appendix A for detailed guidance for travel not using federal funds, see Appendix G for travel using federal funds)
- Ground transportation (see Appendix B for detailed guidance)
- Lodging (see Appendix C for detailed guidance)
- Meals, entertainment and miscellaneous travel expenses (see Appendix D for detailed guidance)
- Business travel accident insurance
Emergency Travel Assistance Program
Pay for travel using an approved method
- Corporate Card
- Direct Billing using Harvard General Ledger Coding
- Personal Funds
Get reimbursed for your travel
- Business connection, including combining business with personal travel and guidelines for spousal/family member travel
- Missing Receipt Affidavits (MRAs)
- Reimbursee signature required
- Timeliness of reporting requirements, including receipt deadlines for standard and extended business trips
- Foreign currencies
- Use of per diems
Understand rules for special reimbursement situations
- Third-party reimbursements
- Employee recruitment
- Moving expenses
- Fellowships (also called stipends or allowances)
- Non-resident aliens
Appendices (PIN required)