Travel updates - Direct Bill system and T&E policy on 45 day submission deadline

June 1, 2021
Message sent June 1, 2021
Colleagues,
 
Updates to the Direct Bill system
We’re excited to announce that we’ve updated the system that allows you to charge airfare directly to the university for business travel - Direct Bill. Using the Direct Bill system, you can quickly generate a number called the Direct Bill ID which is then used in place of a payment method when booking air travel through the UC systemwide travel program, ConnexUC. It keeps employees from needing to pay airfare out of pocket and then waiting until after the completion of travel for reimbursement. We have incorporated some general updates to improve the look and feel of the system and make it easier to navigate. We’ve also incorporated two changes in the current system process. First, we’ll require the person setting up the Direct Bill ID to choose a preferred approver and that approver will receive an email informing them that the Direct Bill ID has been generated and that it will be used to bill airfare directly to the university and to a specific chartstring. As long as the travel was authorized and the chartstring is appropriate, then no action is required on the part of the approver, the email is simply a notification. Second, when generating the Direct Bill ID, the system will ask "Is Berkeley the travel destination?" so that booking travel to UC Berkeley will be easier. More information about the updates to the Direct Bill system is available on the travel website. If you have any questions, please contact the T&E team at travel@berkeley.edu
 
T&E policy on reimbursement requests - 45-day submission deadline
There is a UC system policy that requires both travel and entertainment reimbursement requests to be submitted no later than 45 days after the completion of travel or, for entertainment, the date of the expense, as specified by the IRS in Publication 463 to ensure we maintain our Accountable Plan status. For the past two years, the reimbursement system has been sending courtesy notifications to employees and their approvers, to remind them of this policy whenever a reimbursement was submitted outside of the 45-day window, so at this point, awareness of this policy should be widespread. As of July 1, 2021, we will begin strictly enforcing this policy and any exceptions will be treated as taxable income, which would result in the employee's being subject to withholding on those reimbursements.  
 
If you have questions about these updates, please contact the T&E team at travel@berkeley.edu
 
Thank you,
Travel and Entertainment Team