November 30, 2015
University community members incur various types of expenses as they perform tasks and duties that support the operations of the university and further its mission. This policy is to ensure that individuals who incur valid business expenses are reimbursed in a fair and equitable manner; that business expenses are reported, recorded and reimbursed in a consistent manner; and that the university complies with all applicable federal, state and local rules and regulations.
USC reimburses employees, students, independent contractors and guests for necessary and reasonable approved expenses they incur in the conduct of university business. All reimbursements must be requested through the university’s travel and expense system (Concur). Certain expense reimbursements may require additional approval from a dean or vice president.
University departments may adopt more restrictive policies and such restrictions must be monitored through department level controls.
Government unallowable expenses may not be reimbursed using a sponsored project account. See https://policy.usc.edu/sponsored-project-funded-expense-provisions-expenditures/.
Substantiating business expenses
The university requires receipts to be used to substantiate business expenses. For un-restricted accounts a receipt is required:
- When a single expense is $75 or more; or
- For a hotel expense of any amount.
Sponsored project accounts receipts are required for all amounts when commercially available.
When a receipt is required and cannot be obtained or has been lost, a Missing Receipt Declaration form must be completed and signed by the individual who incurred the expense and the applicable Senior Business Officer (SBO). Information on this process is available online at https://procurement.usc.edu/payments/reimbursements/receipts/.
Personal forms of payment
For liability and tax compliance reasons the university offers several university-issued forms of payment to be used whenever possible for incidentals and travel and entertainment expenses instead of personal funds.
Reimbursement requests for expenses incurred using personal funds will be reimbursed upon event completion.
Cash advances are intended to cover anticipated expenses associated with (1) a university business trip, (2) a university-sponsored event or (3) human subject.
Because the university offers several preferred payment options (i.e., corporate cards, clinical cards or disbursement vouchers) that are more secure and less expensive for all parties to administer, cash advances will only be issued with SBO approval and all expenses must be substantiated by receipts.
The following is applicable when requesting and settling a cash advance:
- A cash advance request will not be issued more than ten (10) calendar days prior to the date of departure or event;
- Requests that exceed maximum rate allowances require approval from a dean or vice president https://procurement.usc.edu/payments/reimbursements/maximum-rates/
- A cash advance must be settled within fifteen (15) business days of returning from a trip or of event completion. A past due advance must be settled before the individual will be eligible for additional advances;
- Failure to settle a cash advance within three (3) months of trip return, or event completion, will result in
- Notifications to department SBO, vice president and or dean;
- The entire amount of the cash advance being reported to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) as income on the employee’s W-2 or as income on a non-employee’s 1099;
- Loss of cash advance usage; and
- Employee disciplinary action.
Refunds and rewards programs
Any reimbursement or payment issued by the university which subsequently results in a refund must be returned to the university.
All coupons, certificates, rebates and/or points received as a result of a university purchase are USC property and all reward redemptions must benefit the university. In the case of rewards earned as a result of a sponsored project purchase, the reward is the sponsor’s property and the reward’s redemption must benefit the sponsor.
Sufficient funds and active accounts
Funds must be available and accounts active in order to process expense reimbursements.
A nonresident alien is a non-U.S. citizen who comes to the U.S. to perform work for the university. To be in compliance with the IRS, reimbursements to nonresident aliens must be made on an actual basis; per diem reimbursements are not allowed.
Reimbursement procedures can be found on the USC Business Services website.
Senior Vice President, Finance and Chief Financial Officer