format_list_bulleted Topic Overview

Other Reimbursable Business Expenses

The university pays directly or reimburses individuals for expenses that are necessary and appropriate to conduct university business. Depending on the category of the goods or services, reimbursement may or may not be the  appropriate purchasing and payment method.  

Specific reimbursement guidelines are available for the following business and travel expense categories:

This page includes a list of other common business expenses that may be reimbursed to the individual, and their associated policies and resources.

Roles and responsibilities for expenses

Expenditures must be consistent with the university’s purchasing policies and guidelines as well as the guiding principles and IRS regulations with regard to Business and Travel Expense policies. It is the responsibility of the individual making the purchase or incurring expenses, those who assist others with incurring expenses and those involved in the preparation and approval of reimbursement requests or financial transactions to exercise good stewardship of university funds and to adhere to university policies. These roles and responsibilities are outlined in Financial Transaction Approval and Reimbursements and Expense Reports.

Non-reimbursable business expenses

A list of common non-reimbursable expenses is outlined on the Business and Travel Expense Policies fundamentals page. If a purchase or expense is identified as non-compliant with regulatory requirements and/or university business expense policies, Stanford may consider the acquisition effort null and void and decline to pay or reimburse the expense.

Reimbursement is allowed for clothing that is required for an employee to conduct specific university business, such as commencement regalia; if the employee is required to wear the clothing as a condition of employment; and if the clothes are not suitable for any other use and not appropriate for everyday wear.

  • Generally, for conferences or training that require travel, the preferred method of purchase is the Travel Card (TCard). If no travel is required, the Purchasing Card (PCard) may be used for conference or training fees.
  • Conference registration fees may be submitted for reimbursement at the time of purchase to avoid tax implications. However, departments should keep track of the event to ensure that Stanford is reimbursed for registration fees if the conference is later canceled.
  • A conference or training fee may be submitted separately from any associated travel reimbursements.
  • A conference program or agenda that includes the schedule of events, or a screenshot of the schedule on the conference website, is a required attachment to the expense report as supporting documentation. A link to a conference website alone is not sufficient documentation because the site may be updated or removed over time.
  • Meals included in the conference registration fee or hotel rates must be indicated and deducted from the meal reimbursement portion of the expense report.
  • Expenses for travel companions (such as spouses), including lodging, meals, or activities at the conference, are not reimbursable.
  • The university provides tuition and training assistance programs, such as the Staff Training Assistance Program (STAP), which is administered by University HR. See more on the Cardinal at Work website.

The purchase of rapid antigen tests for COVID safety plans and testing protocols for visitors, events, and conferences is allowable and is a reimbursable expense. To learn more about purchasing tests, visit the COVID Testing & Exposure page on Health Alerts.

Per Administrative Guide Memo 2.2.10: Gifts and Awards for University Employees, at the discretion of each department or school, gifts or awards may be made to university employees for non-performance related recognition, such as to acknowledge years of service/celebrate retirement or provide other occasional gifts. More guidance on employee gifts is available on Topic Overview: Categories of Purchases.

The university pays or reimburses for occasional employee morale activities, local retreat and team-building events. For example, costs of employee service and retirement awards, recognition, flowers (for bereavement, serious illness or family crises), retirement party food and recreational activities.

Employee morale cannot be charged to Federal sponsored awards.

Non-SU employees cannot be charged to employee morale expenses.

As outlined in Administrative Guide Policy 2.1.19: Relocation of Faculty and Staff, expenses are subject to tax reporting and will be submitted to Payroll.

The university will pay for memberships to professional organizations and publications related to university business. The business purpose must include the length and duration of the membership. The preferred payment method for memberships or dues are non-PO payments or PCard.

Purchases such as supplies, books, and equipment costing less than $2,500 are eligible for reimbursement under the Miscellaneous Expense type. The preferred purchasing methods for purchases of more than $2,500 are iProcurement, which provides users with access to shop from Amazon Business and SmartMart catalog suppliers, or the Purchasing Card (limited to purchases of $4,999 or less).

Expense payments such as airfare, hotel, and meals incurred for the recruit during the recruitment process (including expenses related to the recruit familiarizing themselves with the Bay Area) are not taxable. However, payment for expenses incurred for family members accompanying the recruit is considered taxable by the IRS and will be reported on a Form W-2 issued to the recruit.

Stanford will pay actual costs for Stanford travelers to acquire passports, visas, tourist cards, necessary photographs, birth certificates, required inoculations, immunizations, health cards and fees for the conversion of funds to foreign currencies. For more details, refer to Topic Overview: Planning and Booking Travel for more information. Other preferred methods of payment for travel documents include non-PO payments and Travel Cards (TCards).

Last Updated: Apr 2, 2024