Click on the topics below to view more information.  Please be advised that UNM policy is always the authoritative literature for UNM policy.  Any references to UNM Policies below do not necessarily include the full policy, rather, sections within these policies that Contract & Grant Accounting determined to be especially useful for Travel reimbursement requests. 

2. Accountable Plan

Under the IRS's regulations, reimbursements and payments for ordinary and necessary business-related expenses that are not lavish or extravagant are excluded from taxable compensation when made under an "accountable plan" policy.  Otherwise, the reimbursements or payments that travelers receive for allowable expenditures may be considered part of their taxable compensation.  Ordinary is defined as "common in [a] field of trade, business or profession" and necessary as "helpful and appropriate for [a] business."  To qualify as business expenses, expenditures must be directly related to or associated with the University's mission. In addition, in order to qualify as an accountable plan, travel reimbursement and payment requests must be submitted and appropriately substantiated in Chrome River Expense within sixty (60) calendar days of the last day of travel. Requests not submitted within sixty (60) calendar days after the conclusion of the travel, and those without a valid UNM business purpose, will be included in the employee's wages, subject to tax withholding, and reported to the IRS and the employee on the applicable IRS form. Reimbursements and payments will not be processed if submitted more than one hundred and eighty (180) calendar days after the last day of travel.

Click to view full Administrative Policies and Procedures Manual - Policy 4030: Travel


In collaboration between the Advance at UNM group and the Purchasing department, faculty and staff have developed a partnership aimed at creating sustainable changes in administrative policies, processes and procedures at UNM.  A new FAQ knowledge base is now available to provide guidance on a variety of topics.  To visit their homepage, please click on the following link:

Department of Energy (DOE):

  • All foreign travel from Contract Funding must have DOE approval through the DOE’s Foreign Travel Management System (FTMS).
  • The SDR has been delegated the responsibility for obtaining any required approvals and authorizing in writing both foreign and domestic travel.
  • The Contractor is prohibited from traveling until the SDR has notified the Contractor in writing that DOE approval for foreign travel has been granted. The notification from the SDR will include the approved foreign destinations, time frames, and other applicable information; a copy will be sent to the SCR. After travel is completed, Contractor shall, if requested by the SDR, provide written post-travel trip report information regarding foreign contacts, destinations, and purpose.

Department of Justice (DOJ):

  • Each separate foreign trip must be pre-approved.
  • Direct charges for foreign travel costs are not allowable unless the travel has prior approval from the awarding agency.
  • Indirect charges for foreign travel are allowable without prior approval from the awarding agency when they are included as part of a federally approved indirect cost rate and have a beneficial relationship to the project.

When using sponsored funding, the business purpose needs to specifically state how the expense benefits an award or helps to fulfill its purpose. A good business purpose addresses the five W's:

Who - names of individual(s) traveling
What - what is being paid/reimbursed
When - dates of travel
Where - location of the event(s)
Why - purpose of the travel. Should explain how the travel benefitted or supported the grant/contract

Please be advised that simply restating the purchase is not adequate.

*Chrome River Approvals*
Due to more frequent audits and increased scrutiny, beginning immediately, Contract and Grants will return Chrome River Reports that do not have a sufficient Business Purpose. Departments need to place the Business Purpose front and center for ease of review by Auditors and must include the five W's, listed above.

Click to view full Administrative Policies and Procedures Manual - Policy 4030-3.2: Documentation

9.1. Rental

Travelers are encouraged to use cost effective public transportation when available, but are authorized to rent automobiles when necessary. The business need for the rental car must be fully explained in the reimbursement request. Reimbursement for expenses incurred when traveling by a rented automobile in lieu of air travel for out-of-state travel may not exceed the cost the traveler would have otherwise incurred if the traveler had flown.

*For Chrome River reimbursement requests on gasoline purchases related to car rentals, please upload both the gas receipt and the original car rental receipt to the reimbursement request.

Click to view full Administrative Policies and Procedures Manual - Policy 4030-9.1: Rental

Chrome River Approver Training for UNM Faculty and Staff is now available in Learning Central.

Chrome River Approver Training is designed to prepare university faculty and staff to better understand their roles and responsibilities when reviewing PCard reconciliations and reimbursement requests.  Approvers will be better equipped to comply with UNM Administrative Policies.

The computer-based training will cover:

  • Approver roles and general responsibilities per UNM policy
  • Describe a fiscal review and a business operations review
  • Review the specifics of the Chrome River approval process
  • Demonstrate how to navigate reports in Chrome River

Chrome River Approver Training, course # CR 201, has been added to the learning plan of current Chrome River approvers as optional.

Effective immediately, completion of the training is mandatory for new approvers per UNM’s Internal Audit recommendation.

11. Procurement Procedures

Prepayment of conference or workshop fees should be made with a PCard or via Chrome River Invoice when paying the vendor directly. 

As an alternative to using the PCard, travelers may use personal funds to pay for their travel expenses and request reimbursement via Chrome River Expense after they return from the travel.

*For Chrome River reimbursement requests on conference registration, reimbursement cannot be made until after the travel/conference has occurred.

Click to view full Administrative Policies and Procedures Manual - Policy 4030-11.: Procurement Procedures

-Taxable Meals-

12.1 Day Trip Meal Allowance

Travel with no overnight stay, or rest period, is limited to an IRS Form W-2 tax reportable day trip meal allowance of no more than 75% of the applicable meal per diem rate, in cases where the department approving authority expects the traveler to incur meal expenses.

-Flat Rate vs. Regular-

12.2 Flat Per Diem Allowance for International Travel and Travel Within The United States

The per diem allowance for international travel and travel within the United States is defined in the New Mexico Per Diem and Mileage Act. Travelers may request reimbursement of eighty-five dollars ($85) for in-state travel and one hundred fifteen dollars ($115) for out-of-state and international travel. This per diem rate allowance is a payment in lieu of reimbursement for actual lodging and meal costs, and is intended for each twenty-four (24) hour period or for a period of less than twenty-four (24) hours if overnight lodging is required.

12.3. Actual Lodging Expenses, Plus a Per Diem Meal and Incidental Expenses Reimbursement

This allowance is a payment in lieu of reimbursement for lodging and actual meal costs, and applies whether or not there are actual lodging costs. If either lodging or meals are included in conference or program fees, reimbursement must be reduced by the applicable amount. (bolded)

Click to view full Administrative Policies and Procedures Manual - Policy 4030-12: Lodging and Meals

Per Administrative Policies and Procedures Manual - Policy 4030-3.2: Documentation, “If the traveler is a dean, director, department head, or PI the traveler’s supervisor must approve the request in Chrome River Expense.”  This approval cannot be delegated, as the purpose is to have someone in a position of authority over the PI approving their travel. This is an internal control measure and ensures that a secondary approval process is in place so that the PI (or their designee) is not approving their own reimbursement.  All core offices are requiring this approval as of 8/3/18 when the policy changed from stating “should” to “must” have supervisor approval for PI’s.  The PI can in fact delegate his authority to a person within the department with appropriate authority, such as the department administrator for travel reimbursements other that the dean, director, department head or PI.  Per David Harris’s memo that went out on 8/3/18, the approval of the PI’s travel must be completed via email or by logging into Chrome River Expense.

The following attachment is an excellent tool to make sure that you have everything that you need for your next travel reimbursement request.  The file is a fillable *.pdf, making it easer to use and communicate to others.  

Click here to access attachment: Department Checklist for Travel on Restricted Funding