Policy: 201.B – Privately Owned Vehicle Expenses

Statement of Policy

This policy applies to all employees, students, and non-employees traveling on behalf of the University. Use of personal vehicles for University business is allowed when the use is less costly than alternative means of transportation or when there are conveniences or safety issues that justify the additional costs. Employees and students who are required to drive on University sponsored business must be authorized to drive by UW-Madison Risk Management prior to operating personal vehicles, rental vehicles or fleet vehicles. Non-employee drivers need only be authorized if they intend to use a Fleet vehicle.

Note: Sponsored projects (e.g., fund 144 or 133) are subject to the terms and conditions of the specific award, as well as applicable program guidelines, which may restrict use of funds for certain types of expenses. Please contact the RSP accountant for your award with any questions.

Driving a Fleet Vehicle versus a Privately Owned Vehicle
Fleet vehicles are owned by the State of Wisconsin and may be used by employees conducting official University business. When traveling 300 miles or more round-trip, employees are encouraged to use a Fleet vehicle versus a privately owned vehicle. If the individual opts to use a privately owned vehicle in lieu of available fleet vehicles, reimbursement will be limited to a lower mileage rate. Please see UW Madison Fleet for more information.

When is Mileage Reimbursable?
Mileage is reimbursable when an individual drives a privately owned vehicle in order to conduct UW-Madison business. Reimbursement will not be made for normal commuting mileage from an employee’s personal residence to their assigned headquarters. Miles traveled to pick up additional passengers when traveling together on UW business are reimbursable. Specific mileage reimbursement scenarios are outlined below:

  • Visiting Temporary Worksites (e.g. local meetings, daytrips): Employees that travel to temporary worksites are reimbursed for mileage based on where they depart from and where they return to. Please see below.

    Note: For employees with multiple worksites, the employing department must determine which location qualifies as the official assigned headquarters.

    • Departing from and Returning to the Assigned Headquarters:  Mileage from an assigned headquarters to a temporary worksite and back to the assigned headquarters is reimbursable.
    • Departing from the Assigned Headquarters and Returning to Personal Residence: The traveler will be reimbursed for mileage from the assigned headquarters to the temporary worksite PLUS the mileage from the temporary worksite back to the assigned headquarters OR the mileage from the temporary worksite to the traveler’s personal residence, whichever is less.
    • Departing from Personal Residence and Returning to the Assigned Headquarters:  The traveler will be reimbursed for mileage from their personal residence to the temporary worksite OR the mileage from their assigned headquarters to the temporary worksite, whichever is less, PLUS the mileage from the temporary worksite to the assigned headquarters.
    • Departing from and Returning to Personal Residence: The traveler will be reimbursed for mileage from their personal residence to the temporary worksite OR the mileage from their assigned headquarters to the temporary worksite, whichever is less, PLUS the mileage from the temporary worksite back to their assigned headquarters OR the mileage from the temporary worksite to the their personal residence, whichever is less.
    • Non-Workday Travel: When employees are not scheduled to be at their assigned headquarters (e.g. on a weekend or holiday), but are required to drive to a temporary worksite or an airport for further travel, mileage from the personal residence to the temporary worksite or airport is reimbursable.
    • Airport, Train Station or other Transportation Terminal Drop Off: In lieu of incurring mileage and parking costs at a commercial transportation terminal, two round trips will be permitted if the traveler is being dropped off and picked up by another individual.
    • Relocation: One-way mileage associated with employee relocation is reimbursable.  See Policy 201.N – Relocation for specifics.

Mileage Reimbursement Rates for Use of a Privately Owned Vehicle
Mileage will be reimbursed at the IRS authorized mileage rate effective on the date of travel using the most direct route. This rate covers all costs related to the operation of the vehicle, including service, maintenance, insurance, depreciation and gas. When two or more persons traveling on University business share transportation in a personal vehicle, only the driver may claim reimbursement for mileage.

Mileage reimbursement rates vary depending on the circumstances. Individuals driving a privately owned vehicle on UW business will be reimbursed at the Standard Rate if the accumulated round trip mileage is less than 300 miles or if a fleet non-availability certification form from UW-Madison Fleet is provided with the reimbursement claim. If the round trip mileage is 300 miles or more and the individual chooses to drive a privately owned vehicle, the reimbursement is limited to the Turndown Rate. Non-employees and job applicant interview candidates should be reimbursed at the Standard Rate, since fleet vehicles are only available for UW employees. See below for specific rates and their effective dates.

Type of Vehicle

Standard Rate (per mile)
Fleet vehicle was not available or required to be used.

Turndown Rate (per mile)
Fleet vehicle was available and could have been used.

 

Effective 01/01/2017

Effective 01/04/2016

Effective 10/05/2015

Automobile

$0.535

$0.54

$0.352

Motorcycle

$0.505

$0.51

N/A

Documentation Requirements
The originating location and destination must be provided with the reimbursement claim. Travelers must submit a map indicating the total distance between their origin and destination (see MapQuest or Google Maps). A 10% tolerance may be used to account for detours, incidental miles, etc. An explanation must be provided for mileage claims that exceed the direct route by more than 10%.

Accident Reporting
It is the responsibility of the driver to immediately report an accident to the following:

Parking
Parking charges incurred while on authorized official business are reimbursable.  Parking charges incurred at the employee's permanent work site are not reimbursable.

Contacts
Travelers and departmental staff should contact their respective Divisional Business Office for policy or procedural questions.

Divisional Business Offices may e-mail uwtravel@bussvc.wisc.edu with questions.