Reimbursement Basics

LAST UPDATED: April 3, 2015

What You Should Know

A business expenses is defined as a necessary, reasonable, appropriate, and allowable non-compensation expense incurred for a valid business purpose to fulfill the mission of the University. While such allowable expenses may be eligible for reimbursement by University funds, other funding sources may have more restrictions.

For more information see the University’s Business Expense Policy and Reimbursement Policy.

Requesting Reimbursement

Requests for reimbursement must include a description of the business purpose.  Original receipts for all expenditures greater than or equal to $50 are required. If sponsor or departmental requirements are more restrictive, the more restrictive receipt requirements will take precedence. The request also must be approved by the authorized departmental approver. Department chair or head reimbursement requests must be approved by the appropriate next higher level. Requests for reimbursement should be submitted on an expense report in Concur.

Reimbursement Deadlines

In order that expenses are recorded on a timely basis, the University encourages that reimbursable business expenses be substantiated within 30 days after the expense is incurred. Expenses incurred in advance of a trip, conference, or event should be substantiated within 30 days of purchase (e.g. airfare, conference fees, registration fees, advance deposits, etc.).
In order to comply with IRS requirements, the University has adopted the IRS standards for establishing reasonable time limitations for determining the tax treatment of reimbursements, as follows:

  • If substantiation for the reimbursement is submitted within 60 calendar days of when the expenses were incurred, and if all other requirements of the University’s Business Expense Policy are met, the reimbursement will be treated as a nontaxable reimbursement of a University business expense.
  • If substantiation occurs more than 60 calendar days after the expenses were incurred, the expense reimbursement request must include an explanation for the delay. At the discretion of the Dean of the Faculty or Vice President for Finance and Treasurer, reimbursement requests beyond the 60-day limit may be approved, and the reimbursement will be reported to the IRS as taxable income paid to the individual. Note that for expenses incurred while travelling, the traveler will have 60 calendar days upon returning from travel to substantiate and submit the expenses. This does not apply to expenses incurred before the trip (e.g. airfare) which must be substantiated and submitted within 60 days of incurring the expense.

For more information see the University’s Reimbursement Policy.

If You Received a Cash Advance

When you return from the trip or make the purchase(s) for which you received a cash advance, you must reconcile your actual expenses with the advance. To do this, complete an expense report using Concur.

If your cash advance was greater than your actual expenses, then the unspent funds must be returned to the Financial Service Center and the return noted on your expense report.  If the cash advance was less, you will receive reimbursement for the additional expenses.

Even if your cash advance was exactly the same as your actual expenses, you must submit an expense report to document and properly account for the expenses associated with the trip.

When You Will Receive Reimbursement

Reimbursement requests are normally processed within three to five business days after your expense report is approved by your approver and submitted to accounts payable.

  • Direct Deposit   If you are a member of the faculty, staff, or a Princeton student, and if you are enrolled in direct deposit of your paychecks, then your reimbursement will be deposited in the bank account that is on file.
  • Checks   If you do not have direct deposit, you will receive a paper check. 

Further Reading


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