The basic policy guiding travel expense reimbursement is that the individual traveler should neither gain nor lose personal funds as a result of travel assignments and that these assignments be planned so that their cost will not exceed budgetary limitations. Thus each traveler is to be fully reimbursed for all necessary and reasonable expenses incurred in connection with travel on Institute business, but should make efforts to keep all expenses at a sensible minimum. The mode of travel considered reasonable is that which provides adequate standards of comfort, convenience, safety, and efficiency.
The Institute's travel policies are designed to provide the greatest possible flexibility within these requirements and to rely on the goodwill and discretion of the traveler and supervisor in the stewardship of Institute funds. Although it is intended that travel expenses be reimbursed uniformly throughout the Institute, specific policies and procedures may be adapted to the needs of an individual department or laboratory/center to the extent consistent with this general policy.
Travelers whose expenses for normal travel are reported to and reimbursed by the Institute are not required to report the amounts of reimbursement as income for income tax purposes. However, in situations where a travel advance or pre-paid airline ticket has been given to the traveler, IRS regulations require submission of travel vouchers within a specific period of time upon completion of a trip; if vouchers are not submitted within the time frame required by the law, the entire amount of the trip expenses must be treated as salary.
This policy is intended to apply to all official travel for the Institute by its employees and, when appropriate, by official visitors. Travel expenses incurred by a consultant hired by MIT should be reimbursed under the consultant's purchase order rather than under this policy.
Faculty and staff members are covered by a travel accident insurance plan that pays up to $250,000 to beneficiaries in the event of an individual's death or dismemberment resulting from an accident while traveling on official Institute business. If more than one individual is involved in a single accident, the total amount payable is subject to overall specified limits. Further information about this insurance plan may be obtained from the Benefits Office.
For further information concerning travel expenses, consult the Travel Expense Policy Bulletin, available from the Controller's Accounting Office.