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Travel and Business Expenses Policies and Procedures

These policies and procedures are intended as a guide for payment of USATF travel and business expenses applicable to all USATF Professional Staff, Board of Directors, independent contractors and other volunteers; collectively referred to as “Individuals”.

As stated in the USATF by-laws, contracts and other agreements binding USA Track & Field can only be signed by the President and CEO.

Individuals often incur out of pocket expenses while fulfilling their USATF functions. Reimbursement of these expenses may be claimed by completing a Request for Reimbursement Form (Exhibit I) for submittal to the accounting department, with approvals as specified below: (Original receipts must accompany the completed forms or the request will be returned).

  • Volunteer reimbursements must be approved by the committee chair or treasurer and Professional Staff liaison. Those with travel elements must also be approved by the COO.
  • Professional Staff reimbursements must be approved by the supervisor and the COO.

USATF has developed travel policies and procedures to control costs and ensure consistency, accurate financial reporting, and compliance with federal tax law, which includes all of the following. Failure to comply could result in personal income tax penalties or denial of reimbursement.

  • Expenses must be business related, reasonable and necessary.
  • There must be adequate reporting of the amount, time, use, and business purpose within a reasonable period of time (not to exceed sixty days).
  • Original receipts must be attached.
  • Reimbursements or excess cash advances must be returned within thirty days after completion of the activity.

Travel Agency - National Travel Systems (NTS) is USATF's official travel agency, referred to as "USATF Travel Services." Individuals must use USATF Travel Services.
Travel Authorizations - USATF Travel Services will not issue tickets without a Travel Authorization (TA), approved in advance by the appropriate committee chair or Professional Staff, and the COO. Blank TA forms are available upon request from the USATF Accounting Manager or USATF Travel Services.  Individual travelers should then contact USATF Travel Services to make specific arrangements. USATF Travel Services does not call out to Individuals listed on the authorization. It is also helpful to inform all travelers of the Travel Authorization number to refer to when calling to ticket. 
Travel Lead Time - TAs should be filed as early as possible, even if travel specifics are not final. TAs should be filed no later than 25 days prior to travel and tickets must be purchased at least 21 days in advance. Exceptions resulting in higher fares must be approved in advance by the COO. USATF Travel Services, upon consultation with the COO or CFO, may decline to ticket or reimburse any Individual who fails to make the necessary arrangements in advance. For group events, TA’s should be filed at least 60 days in advance to allow for group discounts.
Airfare - Travel is booked on the lowest-cost class reasonable itinerary (no double connections or red-eyes typically required). USATF will reimburse checked baggage fees up to one bag.
Bookings other than USATF Travel Services - Travel arrangements made outside USATF Travel Services must be approved in advance by USATF Travel Services, the COO or CFO. If USATF Travel Services can match or beat the fare, they will purchase the ticket for you. Other notes:

  • You must have your travel authorization completed in advance as described above.
  • You must have competing fare quotes in hand before calling USATF Travel Services.
  • If you reach USATF Travel Services' voicemail, leave details of your itinerary (including price) and note if you believe the airfare will expire in a short time. If you call during normal hours and do not receive a return call within 6 hours, purchase the internet ticket.
  • The buyer assumes all responsibility. USATF will not reimburse change fees or other costs. Purchasers of these tickets should understand all fees, restrictions and penalties.

Special Requests - If a special request to fly a certain airline (e.g., frequent flyer miles or upgrades), make non-business stopovers, or upgrade from coach class results in a higher ticket price, the difference must be paid by the Individual at the time of booking.
Changes or Missed Flights - USATF will not reimburse costs associated with flight changes unless an external factor, such as a change in meeting schedule, predicates the change. Costs associated with missed flights, including stand-by fees or other charges, shall not be reimbursed. Non-emergency calls to the 24-hour USATF Travel Services line will be charged a non-reimbursable $25 fee.
Airport Mileage and Parking - Costs for travel to and from the airport in an Individual’s home city are reimbursable for the lowest cost of the following:

  • airport parking in the lowest cost parking lot, plus mileage to and from the airport;
  • mileage reimbursement for your drop off/pick up round-trip; or
  • taxis or other ride services

Hotels and Lodging - USATF Individuals generally stay in hotels designated for the given activity and centralized at economical rates. Those attending must use the designated group hotel. For non-event travel, hotels are arranged by USATF Travel Services.  Hotel charges are limited to room & tax for a standard room. Upgrades to suites or other higher cost rooms shall not be reimbursed. Charges for tips, movies, health clubs, mini-bars, etc. are not reimbursed.
Ground Transportation - Individuals are expected to use no or low cost transportation systems where available. Event shuttles and hotel courtesy vehicles cover many typical transportation needs. Subways or other public transit systems should be used when the service locations allow and Individual safety is assured. Rental cars, taxis or other services will not be reimbursed if a reasonable low cost alternative is available. When a no-cost system is unavailable, airport transfers (to and from the airport) should be made by the most economical available option.
Rental Cars - When business requirements dictate the need for a rental car and no public transportation alternative is available, rental car arrangements must be made through USATF Travel Services. Authorization of the COO or CFO must be obtained in advance. Other policies:

  • Rental cars should be shared when two or more Individuals are on a common itinerary.
  • Economy class cars should be used unless group size dictates a four door vehicle. Luxury vehicles, SUVs or other high cost cars and non-essential options will not be reimbursed.
  • Rentals should be refueled prior to return.
  • USATF provides liability insurance for those on USATF business, so liability coverage should be declined. USATF also provides some property damage for rental cars (known as loss damage waiver coverage). Damage due to negligence, non-USATF use, or violations of the law are not covered and are the responsibility of the Individual. USATF will not reimburse collision insurance coverage offered by the rental company. Proof of insurance can be obtained from USATF Travel Services.
  • Rental cars not reserved by USATF Travel Services are not covered under USATF's insurance policies. USATF will not reimburse either the rental car company insurance or damages, since USATF Travel Services provides automatic coverage.

Use of a Personal Car - USATF will reimburse mileage for approved USATF business. This reimbursement, currently 54 cents per mile, is intended to pay for gasoline and other direct costs of driving your own car.  As a general guideline, trips greater than 50 miles roundtrip are eligible for reimbursement. Mileage for trips is limited to the cost of an airline ticket for the same trip.
Other car expenses - Reasonable parking costs while traveling are reimbursable, as are toll charges. Parking tickets, traffic violations, car repairs and collision damage are not reimbursable.
Per Diem and meal expenses A $52 per diem is normally used to simplify expense reporting. If a per diem is not used, meal expenses are limited to per diem amounts, except in certain high cost locales, such as New York City or internationally (generally $65 per diem). Per Diem is intended to cover the incremental cost of meals and other incidentals while away from home on USATF business. Alcohol and bar charges are not reimbursed beyond a minimal amount consumed with dinner. When an Individual is traveling for less than a full day or meals are made available, the per diem amount is adjusted. This usually happens on the first and last day of a business trip. Per Diem is based on the travel departure and return times according to the following:

Midnight - 9 am
Midnight – 11 am
9 am – 2 pm
11 am – 6 pm
2 pm – Midnight
6 pm - Midnight $52

Individuals must include their travel itinerary to support per diem calculations. A $10 per diem for non-meal incidentals is allowed for certain international team travel that includes meal plans.

High Cost Locality Rates

Midnight - 9 am
Midnight – 11 am
9 am – 2 pm
11 am – 6 pm
2 pm – Midnight
6 pm - Midnight $65

List of High Cost Localities

Memberships - Memberships for USATF or other organizations are not reimbursable. Airline club or other travel memberships are not reimbursable.
Telephone Charges - Telephone charges will be reimbursed when such costs relate directly to USATF business and cause an Individual to incur incremental costs above their personal phone plan (home or cellular). Documentation of business purpose, person called and original receipts are required. Summary bills and other documentation of the total charge are not acceptable. Care must be taken to avoid high-cost phone calls, especially long distance calls from hotel rooms.
Conference Calls – Conference calls must be arranged through USATF Professional Staff. Contact the USATF Office Manager, Patty Hogan, at 317-713-4696 to make arrangements.
Other Communications Charges - Costs for in-flight phone service ("AirFone") and airport internet connections are not reimbursable. High speed internet purchased while traveling will be addressed on an event by event basis, must serve a business purpose and be approved in advance.
Office Supplies, postage, printing and other - USATF will reimburse the reasonable cost of such items. If needs exceed $25, please contact the accounting department in advance as low cost, tax exempt purchasing may be available. A detailed, original vendor receipt is required.
Mailing - USATF has low-cost mailing options for documents and publications that meet certain postal regulations (regarding content, quantity, mailing list). Large mailings that are planned in advance can use non-profit or bulk rates that save 33%-65% over regular first class postage. These rates require an electronic mailing list (Word, Excel, etc.) and sufficient notice to certify the addresses. Lower cost rates must be mailed from Indianapolis and may result in slower delivery times than first class mail.
Shipping – USATF has a discounted shipping contract for shipments from Indianapolis.
Stationery - Stationery is provided to committee chairs to conduct committee business. No one is authorized to create letterhead, business cards, envelopes or other stationery with the USATF logo or marks (including the phrase "USA Track & Field") other than the designated printing vendor under the supervision of the communications department. Committee chairs should not use USATF letterhead unless his or her name and title are on it. Envelopes shall not include the USATF return address.
Office Equipment - Computers and other business machines are not purchased for use outside the office without advance approval by the COO or CFO. All such purchases must be made in collaboration with the Professional Staff. A detailed, original vendor receipt is required.
Apparel, embroidery, medals, awards and related - All requests for these items must be coordinated through the Professional Staff. This is necessary to ensure compliance with USATF marketing and licensing contracts and to take advantage of corporate discounts and tax exemption. Requests for reimbursement to non-approved vendors will not be honored.
Entertainment – Certain Individuals (generally Professional Staff senior management or Board members) may have occasion to entertain to conduct USATF business. Such entertaining must adhere to conservative business practice. All such expenditures must be in an approved budget or approved in advance by the COO or CFO. When requesting reimbursement for entertainment expenses, receipts are required, regardless of the amount of expense, and must include documentation of the name(s) of the person(s) entertained, their relationship to USATF and the nature of the business conducted.

If a cash advance is needed for a program or event, the Individual must submit a program description and detailed budget along with the Request for Cash Advance form to their Professional Staff liaison. Individuals requesting a cash advance must provide a social security number. Certain payments, notably honoraria, must be paid directly to the recipient.
If an Accounting for Cash Advance form (provided by USATF with the original advance check) and all related receipts are not returned within 30 days of completion of the related activity, future advances will be withheld until all paperwork is properly completed and submitted. Payment of cash per diem to other Individuals must be documented on a signature sheet (signed at the time per diem is given) and submitted with the advance settlement. If Accounting for Cash Advance paperwork is not submitted, USATF is required, under IRS regulations, to report taxable income on Form 1099, and the recipient must pay taxes on the advance. An Accounting for Cash Advance Form must be completed even if there is no net settlement amount.

Meeting Guidelines - Meeting locations, dates and attendees are determined in consultation with the Professional Staff program objectives, Individual schedules and locations, and cost. Generally, meetings are held in central, low cost locations. Meetings can be scheduled at event locations when a number of attendees are already traveling to meet program, convenience and cost goals; however, meetings shall not be scheduled at events when a primary goal is to attend the event.  If meeting space is needed, Individuals must coordinate meeting space in advance with USATF Travel Services. Hotel suites are not to be used for meetings.
Annual Meeting - Committees may not spend more than $4,000 on travel, housing and other costs for attendance at the USATF Annual Meeting. Committee budgets may not pay Annual Meeting registrations, USATF memberships, or banquet tickets. The Athletes Advisory Committee is exempt from this policy. Special needs such as audio-visual equipment must be arranged through the Professional Staff. Cost of these items will be charged based on actual cost.
Honoraria – Honoraria may be paid for certain professional services, as long as such amounts were in an approved budget and comply with all USATF policies, including the USATF Code of Ethics. Honoraria will only be paid if proper tax information (social security numbers) is provided in advance. Recipients of honoraria will receive a form 1099 at the end of the year, generally only when in excess of $600.
Reduced reimbursement arrangements - Committee chairs, in consultation with the Professional Staff, may limit reimbursement to committee members to lesser amounts than allowed throughout this policy. Variances must be submitted in writing and approved in advance by the COO and CFO then communicated in writing in advance to the affected Individuals.
Non-Allowed Payments - Committees are not authorized to make certain program-related payments.  This list is not intended to be all-inclusive. Questionable items should be referred to the Budget and Finance Committee Chair, Board Treasurer, COO or CFO.

  • Salaries, wages or other compensation other than approved honoraria;
  • Athlete support,  travel reimbursement, competition or training costs;
  • Equipment or other assets;
  • Activities that violate USATF Bylaws, Operating Regulations or Ethics Policies;
  • Activities that violate any Federal, State or local laws; and,
  • Transfers to other committees, programs or events.

Over-Spending Budgets - If a committee exceeds its total budget, the Budget and Finance Committee may deduct the excess from the next year’s budget after review of the facts and circumstances.
Non-Budgeted Requests – Budgeted funds must be spent on the items listed in the approved budget. If an Individual wishes to incur a cost that is not listed on the approved budget, he or she must obtain advance approval from COO or CFO, who will consult with the Budget and Finance Committee Chair and Board Treasurer as necessary. Failure to do so will result in denial of reimbursement.
Paperwork and Timeliness Guidelines - If a Request for Reimbursement or other accounting form is not submitted within 90 days of the related activity, the following action will be taken: first offense - written warning; second offense – non-payment. If a request for reimbursement is not accompanied by adequate receipts, then the item will not be paid (until such receipts are turned over to the accounting department). Receipts are required for all expense reimbursements. Exceptions will be made in extenuating circumstances (receipts were lost) for items less than $25 that are consistent with similar items. USATF may refuse to reimburse undocumented expenses less than $25 for those Individuals that repeatedly submit such undocumented expenses. The deadline for filing at year end is February 28 of the following year.

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