Overview: Permissible Business Expenses

The University's policy is to pay for necessary and reasonable expenses incurred by employees and approved non-employees in support of authorized University business.

Expenditures and reimbursements are to be consistent with federal regulations.

Prices paid are to be economical; when the price paid by the individual is more than what would have been paid by the University, the lesser amount will be reimbursed.

Expenses must be reported in a timely manner. Absent exceptional circumstances, expenses submitted more than 60 days after they are incurred will be reported as additional income to the individual, in accordance with Internal Revenue Service guidance. See Overview: Reporting Expenses and Getting Reimbursed Using Expense Requests.

Some business expenses should be paid via a Non-PO Payment request which is a direct payment from Stanford to the payee. See Overview: Paying for Business Expenses not Requiring a PO.

For more policy guidance, see Policy Notes: Business and Travel Expense Reimbursement.

Reimbursable Expenses include:

  • travel expenses, related to University business, including air fare, lodging, meals while traveling, incidental expenses, use of personal auto, car rental, and taxi fares. Whenever possible, travel expenses should be paid via a Stanford Travel Card.
  • miscellaneous purchases in support of University business, such as supplies, books and equipment costing less than $2,500. (Note: a University Purchasing Card should be used for miscellaneous purchases whenever possible. Items available in SmartMart should be purchased as a SmartMart Catalog order. Purchases may also be ordered via a Zip Purchasing as a non-catalog order.)
  • payments to human subjects, made to an individual (direct payment to human subjects from the University) can be made by requesting a Non-PO Payment through the Expense Requests system. Human subject payments can also be funded by making an advance request in the Expense Requests system.
  • cost of business meals when there is a clear Stanford business purpose for the meal.
  • conference registration and training course fees, when related to University business.
  • dues & subscriptions for memberships to professional organizations and publications related to University business.
  • moving & house hunting expenses incurred by a new employee when hired by Stanford.
  • gifts (tangible personal property) related to University business.
  • Clothing required for an employee to conduct specific university business; such as commencement regalia. The employee is required to wear the clothing as condition of employment and the clothes are not suitable for any other use and not appropriate for everyday wear.
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