Comptroller's Office
 Policies and Procedures Manual

Effective: 01/01/2000
Revised: 12/16/2013 

CMP 420-01: Faculty and Staff Reimbursements -  Accountable Plan Rules



To permit reimbursements to faculty and staff for authorized expenditures under the IRS Accountable Plan rules.


University policy
IRS Publication 463 Travel, Entertainment, Gift and Car Expenses
GAO Technical Bulletin 11-08 “Untimely Filed Employee Travel Claims


Background and Basic Policy

For NAU to reimburse faculty and staff for authorized business expenses incurred on behalf of NAU, the reimbursement must meet the requirements outlined in the IRS Accountable Plan rules.

NAU’s reimbursment policy incorporates all of the required IRS Acountable Plan rules, as follows: 

  1. Faculty and staff must have paid or incurred expenses while performing services as an employee of NAU.

  2. Faculty and staff are required to properly account to NAU for the expenses within a reasonable period of time.

a.       Requests for reimbursement of travel related expenses should be within 5 days of return but no longer than 30 days after return.

b.      Requests for reimbursement of non-travel related expenses must be requested within 60 days of when the expenses were paid or incurred.

           3.    Any excess travel advance must be returned to NAU within 30 days of trip return date. If funds are not received within 60 days of return date, the university may pursue

t               the funds through payroll deduction.

When these three rules for Accountable Plans are met, reimbursements are not included in the taxable compensation of the faculty or staff.  However, if the above requirements are not met, the amount that is paid to the employee is treated as paid under a Nonaccountable Plan and is taxable as compensation, subject to income and payroll taxes, as applicable. 

Documentation of Expenses and Original Receipts

Proper documentation is required for reimbursements.  Elements of proper documentation include records to establish the following:

  1.  Amount of expense

  2. Time and place

  3. Public purpose

Where receipts are required for faculty/staff reimbursement of university expenses that serve a legitimate business need for NAU, the original receipts must be provided. If only an emailed receipt is available, it may stand as the original.


All faculty and staff must adhere to this policy and follow the Accountable Plan rules.  These requirements also apply to non-employees (e.g., independent contractors) on University business.  If the non-employee does not properly account to the University for their reimbursed expenses, the reimbursement will be reported as compensation to the non-employee.

Post-Payment Adjustment

Subsequent to the initial reimbursement to claimed expenses, an audit or other review may identify an error that resulted in an over- or underpayment to the employee. In these cases, a repayment to the university by the employee, or an additional payment to the employee by the university, may be made.

Travel Expenses

Policy detailing allowable travel expenses can be found in current travel policy on the Comptroller’s website.

Business Meals and Food

Faculty and staff may be reimbursed for business meals and other food expenses as outlined in CMP 420-02, Food and Refreshment Policy).

Moving Expenses

New faculty and staff may be reimbursed for moving expenses for moving their household goods and personal effects and for traveling to their new home as outlined in CMP 420-03, Moving Expenses.

Other Expenses

Faculty and staff may procure goods or services for $1,000 or less directly from a vendor and request reimbursement if adequate documentation as described above of the purchase is provided.

Purchases prohibited in CMP 401-03, Prohibited Transactions, or identified in Purchasing 400, Special Procurement, cannot be processed as an employee's reimbursement.

Payments that constitute compensation for services rendered should not be paid for by faculty or staff directly. Compensation includes, but may not be limited to, payments for services performed by employees or independent contractors/consultants, payments for student support, and payment of expenses incurred by an employee or independent contractor/consultant.  Additional information can be found on the Accounts Payable web page.

Purchasing Card

The Purchasing Card is the preferred method of making off-campus small-dollar purchases. For more information visit the Purchasing Card web site.

Exception Procedure

Exceptions to the reasonable time period may be filed.

The employee seeking reimbursement will compose an email with the following information:

The email will be sent to the following people, in this order, for evaluation and approval of the request:

The request may be denied at any of these levels. Common reasons for denial include repeated requests for exceptions, insufficient explanation of the circumstances, insufficient plan to prevent exceptions in the future and lack of an extenuating circumstance.

If the exception is denied, the employee will be notified that the reimbursement will be paid through Payroll as compensation

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