1.00 Introduction to MIT Travel Policies

MIT travel policies address the following:

  • Business travel on behalf of MIT by employees, students, and official business visitors
  • Payment and reimbursement for expenses related to MIT business travel
  • Requirements concerning travel expenses under federal research sponsorship regulations and terms of private research sponsorship
  • MIT support and safety networks for Travelers

NOTE: Travel expenses incurred by consultants and others providing services to MIT are not reimbursable under this policy. They should be pre-approved by the department, lab, or center (DLC) and paid for through the MIT purchase order process or designated method.

Traveling on MIT business requires Travelers to adhere to travel policies and other VPF policies to ensure:

  • Compliance with federal regulations and terms of agreement related to sponsored research (e.g., OMB Circular A-21)
  • Maintenance of the highest ethical standards in conducting MIT business and managing MIT funds
  • Budgetary control and fiscal responsibility
  • Use of preferred vendors per contractual commitments that yield overall value to the Institute
  • Safety and protection of Travelers

There are three entities connected to all MIT Travel, and each has specific responsibilities:

Traveler

MIT Travelers are required to:

  • Comply with federal regulations and terms of agreement related to sponsored research (e.g., OMB Circular A-21)
  • Assure incurred expenses are reasonable and fall within MIT policies and procedures
  • Allocate expenses to proper cost object(s)
  • Submit necessary documentation and itemized receipts
  • Make sure travel is for a legitimate business purpose
  • Retain original hard copy versions of receipts that have been scanned/imaged for one year after the scanning/imaging

    NOTE: Travelers cannot approve their own expenses. Expenses can only be approved by an individual listed in the Roles Database as having approval authority for the cost object being charged.

     

    Approver

    The Approver has responsibility to verify that:

    • Travel occurred for an appropriate business purpose
    • Appropriate cost object(s) and GL account(s) are being charged
    • Receipts are provided
    • Expenses incurred fall within MIT and sponsor policies and guidelines

    The Approver of travel expenses plays a critical role in assuring compliance with federal regulations and MIT policies and guidelines supporting good stewardship of MIT funds used for travel. If the Approver questions a travel expense, the Approver should seek clarification from the Traveler. If the Approver is uncomfortable with approving a travel expense or has concerns about a pattern of questionable travel expenses, the Approver should work with lead administrators in their areas to contact the MIT Internal Audit Division for guidance.

     

    VPF Travel and Card Office

    VPF staff in the VPF Travel and Card Office are on hand to:

    • Help assure that Travelers and Approvers adhere to federal regulations and MIT policies
    • Educate Travelers and Approvers concerning federal regulations and MIT policies
    • Provide guidance, service, and support to Travelers, Expense Report Submitters, and Approvers

    MIT Travelers should:

    • Neither gain nor lose personal funds as a result of business travel on behalf of MIT
    • Be sure to have necessary approvals and travel documents in order prior to travel
    • Book airline tickets as far in advance as possible (at least 14 days) in order to obtain advance purchase discounts
    • Use MIT preferred travel agencies whenever possible
    • Use the MIT Travel Card for travel expenses wherever possible
    • Obtain and submit original receipts for expense reconciliation
    • Retain original hard copy versions of receipts that have been scanned/imaged for one year after the scanning/imaging
    • Follow the terms of sponsored research agreements for travel under such agreements
    • Be aware of potential tax implications concerning reimbursements for business travel expenses and for expenses incurred while on Temporary Travel Status. Please refer to the MIT Tax web site for guidance.