University Payables staff processes approximately 900 TEM expense reports (ER) each day. Typically, fewer than 10% of submitted expense reports are rejected due to incorrect or missing information. The possibility of rejection decreases and faster payments happen when relevant detailed information is provided in an expense report.
Why is this important? The University is subject to the IRS Accountable Plan Rules which define the circumstances under which reimbursements are not considered reportable income. If all three rules for the accountable plan are met, properly documented reimbursements will not be included as income on your W2 (and the University’s reimbursement process maintains an ‘accountable plan’ designation!):
- The expense must have served a business purpose. That’s defined as providing a business benefit to the institution as opposed to a personal benefit.
- The employee has submitted receipts substantiating the date, time, place, and amount within a reasonable amount of time (defined as 60 days).
- The process is reconciled and the employee returns excess advances or reimbursements within a reasonable amount of time (defined as 120 days).
Tips to reduce the possibility of a rejected expense report:
- Carefully choose the correct Purpose and Expense Type in TEM to apply the correct business rules and ensure accurate tax reporting.
- Review the Purpose of the Document job aid found on the TEM Resource Page.
- Provide a detailed Business Purpose which explains the reason for the expenses and how the expenses benefit the institution.
Examples of an unacceptable business purpose:
- SSWR Conference
- Attended conference
- External Hard Drive
- Meal with colleagues
Examples of an acceptable business purpose:
- Presented a paper at the Exotic Animal Symposium to share research with colleagues.
- Business meal with John Q. Doe – guest speaker from Purdue University and Jane Q. Smith – Asst. Prof. U of I
- Portable USB Flash Drive needed for field research when away from the office.
Attach backup documentation to substantiate the expenses.
- Receipts, conference brochures, and/or T-Card transactions
NOTE: Instead of repeating the business purpose/justification for each subsequent line item, just enter “see header”.
Tip for Power Users – You can attach all unattached Arranged Travel expenses in one ER instead of multiple. Simply enter the name of one traveler in the ER and the names of the other travelers and the business justification for the travel in the notes section.
If you have questions, please contact University Payables Customer Service at 217-333-6583, 888-872-9953, or by email to OBFSUPAY@uillinois.edu.