Moving Expense Reimbursement Policy

Introduction

This document contains Humboldt State University's policies and procedures governing reimbursement for moving and relocation expenses. Questions regarding these policies and procedures may be directed to the Accounts Payable Coordinator.

I. Scope

  1. Current Employees
  2. Whenever a current University employee is required to change his/her place of residence because of a change in assignment, promotion or other reason related to the employee's duties deemed to be in the best interests of the University or CSU, the employee shall receive reimbursement for his/her actual, necessary and reasonable moving and relocation expenses. To qualify for reimbursement, the new primary job location must be at least 50 miles farther from the employee's former home than the old primary job location. The appointing authority may authorize exceptions to this requirement in cases where it creates unusual and unavoidable hardship for employees.

  3. Initial Appointments
  4. An individual who has been offered a position at the University and has accepted such appointment, may receive reimbursement for his/her actual, necessary and reasonable moving and relocation expenses. This provision applies to an employee of another CSU campus who accepts an ongoing assignment at the University. Every appointee will not be authorized moving and relocation expense reimbursements. The determination of such reimbursements shall be made by the appointing authority (President or designee).

  5. Temporary Appointments
  6. A current University employee, who accepts a long-term temporary assignment offered by another CSU campus or by the Chancellor's Office, may receive a temporary relocation allowance. To receive consideration for this allowance, the employee's temporary job location must be at least 50 miles farther from the employee's permanent residence than the former job location. (The appointing authority for the temporary assignment may authorize exceptions to this requirement in cases where it creates unusual and unavoidable hardship for temporary employees.) The temporary employee must also maintain a permanent residence in the vicinity of the former job location for the duration of the temporary appointment.

    Temporary relocation allowance will not automatically be authorized for every temporary appointee meeting the requirements identified above. The determination of who is to receive such an allowance, and the amount of any such allowance, shall be made by the appointing authority making the temporary appointment.

  7. Reimbursement
  8. Reimbursement of relocation expenses shall be payable from monies made available for such purpose by the University or other CSU appointing authority. Relocation expenses incurred by newly-appointed presidents shall be reimbursed by the appropriate campus.

II. Definitions

For the purpose of these procedures, the following definitions will apply:

  1. Appointing Authority
  2. "Appointing authority" shall mean the campus president or CSU Chancellor.

  3. President and Chancellor
  4. "President" and "Chancellor" shall include their designees.

  5. Campus
  6. "Campus" shall include any one of the campuses of the CSU.

  7. Household Goods
  8. "Household goods" means personal effects and items used or to be used in the employee's residence necessary for the maintenance of a household.

  9. Long Term Temporary Assignment
  10. "Long term temporary assignment" shall normally mean an assignment period of six months or more.

  11. Employee
  12. "Employee" refers to either a current CSU employee or an individual who has been offered a position within the CSU by an authorized authority and has accepted such offer.

  13. Residence
  14. "Residence" means your main home. It can be a house, apartment, condominium, houseboat, mobile home, or similar dwelling.

III. Reimbursement of Expenses for Moving and Relocation

Full or partial reimbursement, within budgetary resources, may be allowed for the actual and necessary expenses incurred for packing, insurance, transportation, storage in transit (not to exceed 60 calendar days), and unpacking and installation of the employee's household goods at the new residence, when properly documented by invoices and receipts. Should employees elect to move themselves, reimbursement for such moves may not exceed the costs that would have been incurred had a commercial firm been used.

An employee and spouse or domestic partner may be reimbursed for relocation travel (defined as a one-way trip from the former residence to the general area of the new campus or other primary job location) in accordance with CSU Policy and Procedures Governing Travel Reimbursement. When authorized, travel expenses for spouses or domestic partners will be reimbursed on the same basis as travel expenses for employees.

An employee and spouse or domestic partner may be reimbursed for actual lodging expenses, supported by a voucher, plus meal and incidental expenses in accordance with CSU Policy and Procedures Governing Travel Reimbursement. The following provisions apply:

  • The allowance shall not be paid for more than 60 days unless the appointing authority has determined in advance that the search for a new residence will result in unusual and unavoidable hardship for an employee and spouse or domestic partner and, therefore, has granted an exception.
  • The allowance shall terminate immediately upon establishment of a permanent residence.

IV. Procedure for Payment of Claims

Receipts and/or invoices verifying the actual costs of a move shall be submitted directly by the employee to his/her appropriate appointing authority or designee.

When reimbursement is approved by the appointing authority, a travel expense claim form should be completed and forwarded to the Accounts Payable Department. After the claim form is audited, the Accounts Payable Department will process and issue a reimbursement check to the employee. If the appointing authority contracts directly with a common carrier for moving and relocation services, the payment will be made directly to the moving company.

V. Reimbursement for Sale of Residence

Whenever an employee is required to change assignment and designated place of work which requires the sale of a residence, the employee may be reimbursed for actual and necessary selling costs as determined by prevailing practices within the area of sale. Claims for reimbursement must be substantiated by the seller's closing escrow statement and other pertinent supportive documents. Actual and necessary selling costs may include:

  • Brokerage commission;
  • Title insurance;
  • Escrow fees;
  • Prepayment penalties;
  • Taxes, charges and fees fixed by local authority required to consummate the sale of the residence; and
  • Miscellaneous seller's costs customary to the area may be reimbursed if determined appropriate by the appointing authority.

Actual and necessary selling costs will be reimbursed for that portion of the dwelling the employee actually occupies if the employee owns and resides in a multi-family dwelling.

Claims for the sale of a residence must be submitted within one year following the date the employee reports to the new work location. An extension may be granted by the appointing authority upon receipt of evidence warranting such extension.

When the sale of a residence does not conform to these procedures, the appointing authority may authorize reimbursement when it is determined that reimbursement is reasonable in light of the individual circumstances and that the employee will otherwise be subject to hardship by reason of the change of residence.

VI. Settlement of a Lease

Whenever an employee is required to change an officially designated place of work and such change requires the settlement of a lease on the employee's former residence, the employee may receive the actual and necessary cost of settlement of the unexpired lease up to a maximum of one year.

Claims for the settlement of a lease shall be documented, itemized and submitted to the appointing authority within six months following the new reporting date. The appointing authority may grant an extension upon receipt of evidence warranting such extension prior to the expiration of the six-month period. Reimbursement will not be allowed if the appointing authority determines that the employee knew or reasonably should have known that relocation was imminent before entering into a lease agreement.

VII. Appointing Authority for Reimbursements

The President shall approve, deny or grant exceptions for all moving and relocation reimbursements. The President may also authorize reimbursement for actual, necessary and reasonable relocation expenditures not identified in these procedures. Any such reimbursement shall be documented and paid in accordance with established accounting practices. Authorization from the President may not be delegated to a person in a position lower than the chief financial officer.

VIII. Repayment of Moving/Relocation Expenses Reimbursements

If an employee whose moving and/or relocation expenses were reimbursed does not continue his/her employment with the University for a period of at least two years, the employee or appropriate representative shall repay a percentage of the amount received for reimbursement of such moving and relocation expenses. The appointing authority can make exceptions if discontinuance of the employment was the result of death, disability or other similar unexpected cause beyond the control of the employee. Repayment shall be made in accordance with the following schedule:

Repayment of reimbursements for moving/relocation expenses.
Term of Employment Repayment Required
Less than 6 months 100%
At least 6 months but less than 12 months 75%
At least 12 months but less than 18 months 50%
At least 18 months but less than 24 months 25%

IX. Institutional Responsibility

The University shall provide a copy of these procedures to employees authorized to receive reimbursement for moving and relocation expenses.

X. Effect of Memorandum of Understanding

If a Memorandum of Understanding entered into pursuant to the Higher Education Employer-Employee Relations Act is in conflict with these provisions, the terms of the Memorandum of Understanding and not these provisions will govern/prevail as to those employees covered by the Memorandum of Understanding.

XI. Reporting Requirements

  1. Reporting Agency
  2. All moving expense reimbursements must be reported to the State Controller's Office (SCO). The SCO in turn reports to the Federal and State taxing authorities.

  3. Tax Categories
  4. Moving expense benefits are divided into two tax categories for determining taxability: qualified and non-qualified.

    1. Qualified Moving Expenses
    2. Qualified moving expenses are always considered non-taxable income. They include:

      • Reasonable costs of moving the employee's household goods and personal effects from the employee's former residence to the new residence;
      • Reasonable costs of travel and lodging expenses incurred from the old location to the new location
      • Reasonable costs of storing household goods and personal effects within any period of 30 consecutive days occurring after the items are moved from the former residence and before they are delivered to the new residence.

      In addition, the expenses must meet the tests described in Section XI.D below.

    3. Non-qualified Moving Expenses
    4. Non-qualified moving expenses are always considered reportable/taxable income. They include:

      • All meals connected with the move;
      • Pre-move househunting trips/expenses;
      • Temporary living expenses;
      • Expenses of buying or selling a residence;
      • Expenses of getting or breaking a lease; and
      • Security deposits including any given up due to the move.
  5. Third Party Payments
  6. Payments to a third party, e.g., moving company, on behalf of an employee for qualified moving expenses are not reportable to the SCO.

  7. Test for Qualified Expenses
  8. Reimbursements for qualified moving expenses are reported to the SCO as nontaxable wages if the federal time and distance tests are met and if the employer's moving expense plan meets the requirements of an Accountable Plan.

    1. Time Test
    2. The employee's full-time employment status must be for 39 weeks during the 12 months immediately following the move. The time test can be waived by the employer due to death, disability or involuntary separation (other than willful misconduct) or if the employee is transferred for the employer's benefit.

    3. Distance Test
    4. The distance test is satisfied if the employee's move to a new headquarters is at least 50 miles farther from the employee's former residence than the employee's former residence was from the old headquarters. Example, the employee's normal commute from the old headquarters to the former residence was 15 miles. The employee's normal commute from the new headquarters to the employee's old residence must be a minimum of 65 miles to satisfy the distance test.

    5. Accountable Plan
    6. The California State University (CSU) meets the provisions for an Accountable Plan.

  9. Mileage Reimbursement
  10. The Federal Standard Mileage Rate (FSMR) established by the Internal Revenue Service for Moving Expense Mileage Reimbursement is 16.5 cents per mile. This rate determines the tax status of moving expense mileage reimbursements, as follows:

    1. Reimbursement Not Exceeding FSMR
    2. Moving expense mileage reimbursements less than or equal to the FSMR for qualified moves and relocations are not reportable or taxable.

    3. Reimbursement Exceeding FSMR
    4. Amounts exceeding the FSMR are considered taxable income subject to Federal and State Income Taxes and Social Security/Medicare withholding. When the moving expense reimbursement exceeds the FSMR the amount reimbursed up to the FSMR is reportable but no tax withholding is required. The amount reimbursed above the FSMR is reportable, considered taxable income and subject to taxes and withholding as described previously.

  11. Withholding
  12. For non-qualified moving expenses, Federal and State Income Taxes at rates of 28% and 6% respectively, and applicable Social Security/Medicare withholding, will be withheld by the SCO from a (subsequent) regular pay warrant.

  13. W-2 Reporting
    1. Box 1
    2. Wages, tips and other compensation

      Reimbursement for non-qualified moving expenses and mileage in excess of the FSMR is reported here.

    3. Box 13
    4. Refer to explanatory codes on reverse side of Form W-2

      Reimbursement for qualified moving expenses and mileage up to and including the FSMR is reported here, designated as:

      • "L", for the nontaxable part of employee business expense reimbursements; or
      • "P", for excludable moving expense reimbursement (not included in Box 1).