Thursday, June 5, 2008
Q: What receipts are required for travel reimbursements?
A: Joint Federal Travel Regulations require receipts for lodging expenses regardless of amount and for all individual expenditures of $75 or more. This includes but is not limited to any lodging, rental cars, and transportation expenses reserved through the Defense Travel System (DTS), even when paid using the traveler’s Government Travel Charge Card (GTCC). For travel using DTS, these receipts are faxed or scanned, and attached to the traveler’s electronic voucher. For travel paid outside DTS, these receipts are attached to the paper travel voucher and submitted to the office responsible for the travel payment.
Q: What is a valid receipt?
A: A receipt is a written acknowledgement that the vendor has been paid for providing goods or services. To be valid, it must show:
Q: What is not a valid receipt?
A: Hotel bills. A final bill provided by hotels as part of an express check out that shows the amount due is not a valid receipt because it does not show that the bill was paid. A valid receipt must show the lodging facility name, specific dates of lodging, the unit price, any additional charges (e.g. hotel taxes, city taxes), and total amount actually paid. Travelers can get an invoice when they check out of the lodging facility, or may have it sent to them later.
Q: Why aren’t charge card statements and electronic records in DTS valid receipts?
A: Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regulations require travel expenses to be documented before travel reimbursements can qualify as non-taxable payments. Data available from charge card statements does provide proof of payment, but doesn’t provide the level of detail required, such as itemized costs and dates of service. The itinerary and ticket information available in DTS cannot be used to replace a receipt because that information can be edited by the traveler in the voucher process to make corrections reflecting changes to the travel costs after the ticket was originally issued.
Q: What do I do if I don’t have a receipt?
A: If you forget to get a receipt or lose a receipt, you should first contact the service provider to get a replacement receipt. The JFTR⁄JTR does allow travelers to provide a statement when receipts are lost or impractical to obtain. This statement must include an explanation of the circumstances, and contain all of the information that would be included in a valid receipt, such as:
For lodging costs, the statement must also include whether or not another person shared the room (and the sharer’s status as an official traveler or not).