Tax Issues for Travel & Entertainment

Spousal Travel

Expenses incurred by a University traveler’s spouse in connection with attendance at a University function or in the conduct of official University business may be reimbursed if it is established that the spouse’s presence served a bona fide University business purpose.

To establish a bona fide University business purpose, the following considerations must be met:

  • The traveler must show that the primary purpose of the spouse’s travel was to engage in the performance of activities directly related to the primary traveler's employment with the University.
  • Participation in official functions, which by protocol or tradition require the attendance of the recipient’s spouse, may be considered a bona fide University business purpose. Ceremonial functions, alumni gatherings, fund raising activities and community events are examples of activities that may require the attendance of a recipient’s spouse.
  • The business purpose connected with the travel of a spouse must be documented on the traveler's expense report in accordance with IRS substantiation requirements. In the absence of such evidence, expenditures for spousal travel shall not be reimbursed.

For official IRS code guidelines that pertain to spousal travel, see the related link.

Accounting for Travel Advance

Travelers on University business must submit a completed travel expense report to the UC Travel Center within 10 days of completion of the trip.

If an accounting for any single outstanding travel advance has not been received by the UC Travel Center within 120 days after the completion of a trip, the full amount of the advance will be charged to the department, and the traveler will be taxed on that amount. The amount of the travel advance will be included on the traveler's W-2 form or 1099 form at the end of the taxable year. See the related article for more information on travel advances.

Moving Expense

Once an offer of employment with the University has been accepted, travel expenses incurred by the new appointee and family are considered to be relocation expenses, some of which are taxable (as opposed to recruitment expenses, which are not taxable). For complete information on relocation and recruitment, see the related article.

Internet Travel Packages

If an itemized breakdown (including applicable taxes) for expenses purchased as a package deal (such as airfare and lodging) cannot be provided by the vendor, UCLA cannot reimburse this expense. The IRS requires that receipts provide a certain amount of detail, and if that detail has not been provided by the vendor, IRS requirements have not been met. For complete information on reimbursement for internet travel packages, see the related article.