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Moving Reimbursement Policy


Effective Date:  
May 1, 2012

Last Updated:   February 15, 2014

Responsible University Officer:
  • Vice President for Business and Finance

Policy Owner:
  • Associate Vice President for Accounting and Business Services

Policy Contact:
Policy Contents
  Policy Statement
   Reason for Policy
   Who Should Read this Policy
   Policy Text
   Procedures
   Related Information
   Definitions
   Additional Contacts
   Forms
   Responsibilities
   FAQ
   Revision History
   Appendices

POLICY STATEMENT

This Policy provides for the reimbursement of moving expenses when necessary to attract a new, full-time, employee hired by the University. The Policy defines the types of expenses that are reimbursable, the procedures for processing reimbursement payments, and the treatment of such payments for tax purposes. The reimbursement of moving expenses is at the sole discretion of the University and subject to the availability of funds. The authority to approve such reimbursements is limited to a small number of high-level University officials, as provided in this Policy. See Authorization.

Moving expenses of full-time faculty and non-administrative professional librarians are subject to the reimbursement limits set forth in the collective bargaining agreement between the University and the USF Faculty Association. See Faculty and Librarian Expense Reimbursements
.

Departments may establish more restrictive procedures, if desired, consistent with the requirements contained in the collective bargaining agreement.


REASON FOR POLICY

This Policy has been established to provide the reimbursement standards for employee moving expenses. The Policy conforms to the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) and applicable Treasury Regulations governing the tax treatment of moving and relocation expense reimbursements.

WHO SHOULD READ THIS POLICY

Any new employee who incurs moving-related expenses in accepting a position with the University; the members of the Leadership Team, as well as supervisors and Business Managers who supervise an employee incurring moving expenses. 


POLICY TEXT

Actual moving expenses may be paid for a new employee appointed to a full-time academic position or a full-time staff position requiring specialized training and/or experience of a technical, professional, or administrative nature, if approved in accordance with this Policy. The new employee must reside outside a reasonable commuting distance of the University location where the individual will be assigned to work. See Distance Test.

All or part of the moving expenses listed below may be reimbursed, subject to the availability of funds.

Household Goods

Actual and reasonable costs for the use of a moving company to pack, crate, and transport an employee’s household goods and personal effects from the appointee’s former residence to his or her new residence may be reimbursed. Such costs are limited to one household move for the employee and the members of his or her household. Items placed in storage for removal and transport to the employee’s new residence at a later date will be treated as one move.

Expenses related to moving scholarly books, records, and equipment, including laboratory supplies, of a faculty appointee should be documented separately. Such expenses are reimbursable if the items will be made generally available to students and faculty.

If an employee elects to move household goods and personal effects on his or her own, costs of renting a moving van, truck, or trailer and moving equipment (e.g., hand truck) are reimbursable, as are moving supplies (e.g., packing materials and boxes). The cost of insuring the employee’s household goods and effects, however, is not reimbursable.

The reimbursement of costs related to the moving of household goods and effects is generally not taxable to the employee.

Storage and Insurance

Actual and reasonable expenses related to storage and insurance of household goods and personal effects while in transit with a moving company are reimbursable. Such expenses must be incurred within any consecutive 30-day period after the day the goods and effects are removed from the employee's former residence and prior to delivery at the employee's new residence.

The reimbursement of storage and insurance costs during the 30-day period described above is generally not taxable.

Automobile

Actual and reasonable expenses related to moving two (2) personal motor vehicles per household, which may include motorcycles but excludes certain other vehicles, are reimbursable. See Unallowable Expenses.

The vehicles may be shipped or driven. If the employee decides to drive his or her personal vehicle, the employee will be reimbursed at the moving mileage rate published in the Travel and Entertainment Policy.

The reimbursement of automobile-related expenses is generally not taxable.

Travel

Actual, one-way, air travel expenses for the employee and the members of his or her household, but not to exceed the cost of economy class, at the lowest air fare available may be reimbursed. All members of the employee’s household do not have to travel together or at the same time, but only one trip per person is reimbursable. Meals and lodging while en route to the new primary residence are reimbursable, including one day's lodging in the area of the former primary residence if the residence is not suitable for occupancy due to the move, and one day’s lodging on the date of arrival at the new primary residence. Such expenses must be reimbursed in accordance with the Travel and Entertainment Policy.

The reimbursement of travel expenses is generally not taxable except for meals, which are taxable.

Temporary Lodging

Actual and reasonable costs of furnished temporary lodging within the general location of the University or new residence for up to 30 days and meals for up to 30 days of residence in the temporary lodging if it does not have cooking facilities are reimbursable. Such reimbursements will be made in accordance with the Travel and Entertainment Policy.

The reimbursement of temporary lodging and meals is taxable.

House-hunting

Actual and reasonable expenses associated with looking for new living accommodations by the employee and a member of his or her household (e.g., spouse, domestic partner, etc.) are reimbursable, including:
  • Cost of transportation (e.g., economy airfare, car rental, parking fees, tolls, gas, etc.),
  • Meals, and
  • Lodging.
Only one house-hunting trip, consisting of up to seven (7) nights of lodging, is reimbursable. Travel will be reimbursed in accordance with the Travel and Entertainment Policy.

The reimbursement of pre-move house-hunting expenses is taxable to the employee, unless a house-hunting trip is combined with a University employment interview or other business meeting. Only the expenses that would have been incurred had house-hunting not been included as part of the trip will be excluded from the employee’s taxable income.

Household Pets

The University will reimburse actual and reasonable expenses related to transportation of household pets (such as a cat or dog) but not the expenses of kenneling such pets. The cost of moving exotic pets (e.g., iguanas, venomous snakes, tarantulas, ferrets, etc.) is not reimbursable.

The reimbursement of expenses related to the transportation of pets is generally not taxable.

Immigration Fees

Expenses associated with visa applications and renewals (primarily J, H, and TN visas) and related travel and other expenses for a non-U.S. citizen may be reimbursed when such expenses are incurred in connection with the commencement of the appointee’s work for the University.

The reimbursement of immigration and related expenses is generally not taxable.

Unallowable Expenses

Unallowable moving expenses include, but are not limited to, costs associated with the following items:
  • Animals (except for household pets);
  • Plants; 
  • Motorized recreational vehicles, including boats, kayaks, canoes, airplanes, camping vehicles, trailers, snow machines, and jet skis;
  • Frozen and perishable foodstuffs;
  • Building supplies and similar bulk materials;
  • Storage sheds;
  • Farm equipment; 
  • Hazardous or flammable materials; and
  • Firewood.

PROCEDURES


RELATED INFORMATION

Type

Name

USF  Collective Bargaining Agreement with USF Faculty Association
USF Purchasing Card Policy
USF Travel and Entertainment Policy
External IRS Publication 521, Moving Expenses

DEFINITIONS

Term

Definition

Business Manager A University employee, designated by the President, Vice President, Vice Provost, or Dean who is the budget manager for the University account(s) being used for the expense. This may include the President, Vice Presidents, Vice Provosts, or Deans.
Business Purpose A moving expense made in accordance with this Policy and in furtherance of the educational mission of the University.
Concur Reporting System The University’s on-line system for payment requests, expense reimbursements, cash advance requests, and reporting.
Members of the Household Any individual who had the employee's former residence and the employee's new residence as his or her principal place of abode. A member of the household, however, does not include a tenant or an employee of the new appointee, unless that individual is a dependent of the appointee.
Moving Expenses Moving expenses eligible for reimbursement are defined as the reasonable costs incurred by an employee in moving his or her household goods and personal effects to a new residence. Such expenses also include payments made to a third party on behalf of the employee (e.g., to a moving company) and the cost of travel to the University location for the individual and the members of his or her household. Although the University may pay all or part of an employee's moving expenses, a portion of the payment may constitute taxable wages.
Purchasing Card A bank-issued Visa card with a standard single transaction limit of $1,000 and a monthly credit limit of $2,500. This card may be used for small dollar, business-related purchases. Cards may be used for moving expenses when authorized by a Business Manager or supervisor.
Reasonable Costs Includes those costs or expenses that are reasonable under the circumstances of a particular move, i.e., a move from the old to the new residence must be made via a conventional mode of transportation using the shortest and most direct route available and in the shortest period of time normally required to travel such a distance.
Residence The principal dwelling or home where an employee actually lives and is considered as his or her legal residence for income tax purposes.

ADDITIONAL CONTACTS

Subject

Contact

Phone

Email/URL

Business Services      Cyndy Johnson 415.422.2734 cljohnson3@usfca.edu
Disbursement Services      Dennis Miller      415.422.2102 millerd@usfca.edu
Human Resources      Diane Nelson 415.422.2441 dlnelson3@usfca.edu
Payment Request Business Services    415.422.6731 moore@usfca.edu
Purchasing Card Business Services      415.422.2102 pcard@usfca.edu
Tax Compliance Dominic Daher 415.422.5124 dldaher@usfca.edu

FORMS

Form

Use

Location

Payment Request Used to initiate payment requests in the Concur Reporting System  Accounting and Business Services
Purchasing Card Application Used to requests issuance of Purchasing Card Accounting and Business Services
Rent Reimbursement Request, Faculty and Librarians Used by faculty and librarians to apply for reimbursement of first and last months’ rent

Human Resources
Relocation Reimbursement Request, Faculty and Librarians  Used by faculty and librarians to request reimbursement of relocation expenses Human Resources

RESPONSIBILITIES

Department
  • Obtains approval for moving-related expenses in accordance with this Policy and the Concur Reporting System.
  • Obtains documentation to substantiate moving expenses for submission to the Concur Reporting System.
  • Reviews and certifies that all charges for moving are correct.

Business Manager or Supervisor
  • Ensures there are budgeted funds available for expenses.
  • Reviews and approves charges in Concur Reporting System.
  • Ensures all expenses are business-related and are in compliance with this Policy.

Office of Internal Audit and Tax Compliance
  • Provides departments and the Office of Accounting and Business Services with advice on the tax treatment of moving-related expenses.
  • Requests advice from outside tax counsel, as needed.

Assistant Vice President, Human Resources
  • Ensures that offer letters provided to new employees reference this Policy and inform the individual that some moving reimbursements may be taxable.

President and Vice Presidents
  • Authorizes moving-related expenses.
  • Ensures employees in his or her division are in compliance with this Policy.
  • Approves any exceptions to this Policy for employees in his or her division.
  • Reviews and approves charges in the Concur Reporting System for his or her direct reports.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

(None)

REVISION HISTORY

  • 02/15/2014 - Updated to include references to the HR forms used by full-time faculty and non-administrative librarians to request reimbursement of rent and relocation expenses.
  • 05/01/2012  - First publication of Policy.

APPENDICES

(None)