Type of Policy
Administrative
Policy No
6.5
Last Revised
Review Date
Policy Owner
Accounts Payable
Contact Name
Abbie Coker
Contact Title
Director of Accounts Payable & Travel
Contact Email
abbie.coker@business.gatech.edu
Reason for Policy

The purpose of this policy is to outline lodging requirements for Georgia Tech employees traveling on official business in compliance with University System of Georgia, State Accounting Office and Georgia Tech travel policies.

Policy Statement

Accommodations
Reimbursement is limited to the actual cost of lodging expense supported by itemized receipts. Reimbursement for lodging within a 50-mile radius of a person's home office, residence, or headquarters is not allowable. For exceptions, see Georgia Tech Travel Policy 6.14 Retreats and Campus Workshops Faculty and Staff.

Travelers staying overnight are responsible for ensuring the most reasonable and economical lodging rates are obtained. To accomplish this, Travelers should:

  • Make reservations in advance, whenever practical
  • Take advantage of conference hotel rates to obtain economical rates
  • Obtain corporate/government rates, whenever possible

Overnight lodging rates that exceed $500 per night require approval from the Director of Accounts Payable and Travel or the Senior Director of Business Services prior to the submission of the spend authorization.  A detailed email with justification of the expense must be sent prior to making the reservation.

The State Accounting Office prohibits the use of domestic lodging in any private residence including AirBnB (Air Bed and Breakfast), VRBO (Vacation Rent By Owner) and/or similar services as a lodging option even when it presents cost savings, and regardless of the funding source. Travelers on international travel status are exempt from this requirement, provided there is not actual or perceived conflict of interest.

Travelers who stay at a hotel that is holding a scheduled meeting or seminar may incur lodging expenses that exceed the rates generally considered reasonable. The higher cost should be justified in order to avoid excessive transportation costs between a lower cost hotel and the location of the meeting.

When a room is shared with other Travelers, and there is an incremental cost related to the extra Traveler, reimbursement will be calculated on a pro rata share of the total cost and must be claimed separately by each Traveler. Each Traveler's (if both are GT employees) Expense Report should indicate the name of the Traveler with whom the room was shared and the Appropriate cost cent number and driver worktag of the other Traveler. If the incremental cost for additional persons is not significant, one Traveler can claim the entire room expense.

State of Georgia Hotel/Motel Excise Tax Exemption
All Travelers lodging within the State of Georgia on official business are exempt from paying local hotel/motel excise tax, [OCGA 48-13-51 (H) (3)], regardless of the payment method being used.  Travelers must be able to provide proper identification to document their employment as a state or local government employee.

Travelers are required to submit the Hotel/Motel Occupancy Tax Exemption Form when they check-in to their hotel/motel. If the hotel/motel refuses to accept the form at check-in, the Traveler should attempt to resolve the issue with hotel management before checking out at the end of their stay. If the matter is not resolved by the time the employee checks out, the employee should pay the tax. The employee should explain the payment of the tax as an unusual expense on their travel expense statement.

Georgia Tech is authorized to reimburse the Traveler for the hotel tax if the Traveler provides Georgia Tech with the following information: Traveler name: date(s) of lodging; name, address, and telephone number of hotel, and documentation from the hotel of their refusal to omit the appropriate excise tax. Georgia Tech will forward this information to the State Accounting Office.

Travelers should make every effort to avoid payment of hotel/motel excise tax. Failure of the employee to submit the Hotel/Motel Occupancy Tax Exemption Form to the hotel/motel may result in non-reimbursement of the tax to the Traveler.

Per the Transportation Funding Act of 2015, effective July 1, 2015 hotels in the state of Georgia will charge a $5.00 per room per night hotel tax to travelers. Travelers are not exempt from this tax.

State of Georgia Sales Tax Exemption
Visitors and guests of Georgia Tech are exempt from State of Georgia Sales Tax when the payment method being used for lodging is direct bill to Georgia Tech.

Payment
Payment for hotel accommodations will be made after the trip in the form of reimbursement to the Traveler as requested on a travel expense report.

Claims for reimbursement should be reported by date, hotel name and amount for each day of lodging claimed.

Claims for reimbursement must be documented by a "paid" copy of the bill. Credit card receipts or canceled checks are not acceptable receipts. A travel advance can be obtained through Georgia Tech Research Corporation for all lodging pre-paid by an employee.

Scope

All Georgia Tech employees (faculty, staff and students).

Policy Terms

Traveler

Employees (students, faculty, and staff) traveling on behalf of Georgia Tech.

Responsibilities
5.1Traveler

The Traveler is responsible for ensuring appropriate travel authorization, supporting documentation and appropriate approval is obtained prior to the first day of travel.

5.2.Expense Preparer

An expense preparer may book travel reservations on behalf of the Traveler and is responsible for ensuring appropriate travel authorization and all required supporting documentation is obtained prior to the first day of travel.

5.3. Approvers

 Managers and Supervisors, or their delegates, are responsible for:

  • Verifying the business purpose of the trip;
  • Verifying the trip is allowable;
  • Verifying the reasonableness of the cost of the trip;
  • Verifying the travel class is compliant with Georgia Tech and USG policies;
  • Verifying all required supporting documentation is submitted.
Enforcement

Employees who are in violation of this policy are at risk of not receiving reimbursement for travel expenses.

To report suspected instances of ethical violations, please visit Georgia Tech’s Ethics Hotline, a secure and confidential reporting system, at: https://secure.ethicspoint.com/domain/en/report_custom.asp?clientid=7508

Policy History

Revision Date

Author

Description

12-2020

Accounts Payable

Updates to align with WorkDay implementation

08-2018

Accounts Payable

Policy updates