The travel expenses of a spouse or registered domestic partner who accompanies a research foundation business traveler (e.g., the SDSU President, Provost, Vice Presidents, PI’s or other employees) are reimbursable under these procedures, provided it can be established that the significant other's presence serves a bona fide university or research foundation business purpose.
Under IRS regulations, the travel expenses of a spouse or registered domestic partner are not taxable, provided it can be established that his/her presence serves a bona fide business purpose. A spouse or registered domestic partner who attends a function is considered to have a business purpose if he or she has a significant role in the proceedings or makes an important contribution to the success of an event.
Generally, protocol or tradition dictates when the participation of a high-level official's spouse or registered domestic partner is required at official university or research foundation functions, such as alumni gatherings, fund-raising or ceremonial activities, certain athletic events (see below), and community events. Documentation should be provided with the Travel Reimbursement Request to show that the spouse or registered domestic partner’s attendance at the function meets the above conditions (e.g., an event or meeting agenda, a letter of invitation requesting that the spouse or registered domestic partner attend the meeting or event, or a memo of justification that documents the business purpose and role of the spouse or domestic partner).
If a spouse or registered domestic partner has no significant role in the proceedings, or performs only incidental duties of a social or clerical nature, attendance does not constitute a bona fide business purpose. Such expenses are taxable to the employee and therefore will not be reimbursed.
Expenditures for spouse or registered domestic partner travel are typically considered unallowable on grants and contracts. Expenditures may be considered allowable only if the individual has an approved programmatic role on the award and costs associated with the travel are allowable under sponsor regulations and award specific terms and conditions. SDSURF discretionary funds and Campanile Foundation funds may be used to fund spouse or registered domestic partner travel, if the expenditures meet the conditions outlined above, are appropriate for the funds being charged and sufficient funding is available to support the cost.
Travel by a spouse or registered domestic partner who accompanies an SDSU athletic director (or assistant director or head coach) to sporting events such as bowl games and tournaments is presumed to have a bona fide University, Campanile Foundation or SDSU Research Foundation business purpose in situations where the NCAA or potential donors expect that certain high-ranking members of the athletic department, and their spouses or registered domestic partners, will participate in events associated with these athletic activities.
The travel expenses of a spouse or registered domestic partner incurred in the pursuit of such activities may be reimbursed from Campanile Foundation funds or SDSU Research Foundation discretionary funds provided documentation, such as an NCAA event agenda, or a memo of justification is provided to substantiate the business purpose of the travel. Such amounts are not taxable or subject to reporting.
Travel expenses incurred by other family members generally do not satisfy the bona fide University/Campanile Foundation business purpose test and therefore are not reimbursable.
In accordance with CSU and SDSU policy, SDSU Research Foundation requires additional approvals for executive travel. Campus executives are defined as the president and all vice presidents/executive vice presidents. The authority to approve executive level travel has been delegated in accordance with CSU Executive Order No. 688 (Delegation of Authority – Approval of Travel Requests) as follows:
- Vice President’s travel expenses must be approved by the Vice President for Business and Financial Affairs as authorized by the SDSU President.
- The travel expenses for the President, including a spouse, registered domestic partner, or an Associate of the President, will be approved by the campus Vice President for Business and Financial Affairs.
- Travel expenses of the Vice President for Business and Financial Affairs will be approved by the President or his/her designee, provided that the individual does not report to the Vice President.
Travel claims submitted for reimbursement from Research Foundation or Campanile Foundation funds must have the appropriate level of approval and include a copy of the T-2 (Request for Absence from Campus) form with the appropriate approving official’s signature.
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