29.8 Definitions

Accountable Plan

A plan under which an employer reimburses an employee for expenses and is not required to report the reimbursement as taxable income to the employee. The employee must document business purpose, substantiate expenses, and return any amount in excess of substantiated expenses to the employer.   

Allowable expense

A necessary, reasonable, and appropriate expense incurred for the primary benefit of University business and therefore permitted to be reimbursed or directly charged based on the permission of the University or by the terms of federally or privately sponsored agreements.

Appropriate Business Expense

An ordinary and reasonable charge for goods or services that fosters or supports the ongoing missions of the university.

Away from Home

For purposes of business expenses, “home” is defined as the person’s regular place of business, not his/her personal residence. Travel expenses qualify as business expenses only if the traveler is away from home at a temporary work site.

Business travel

Travel for the purpose of conducting business for the sole benefit of the University.

Collision Damage Waiver/Liability Damage Waiver (CDW/LDW)

A type of insurance that provides protection for any damage that may occur to the vehicle you have rented. If renting a vehicle, make sure you have this coverage.

Daily Standard Allowance (DSA)

See Per Diem

Direct Deposit

A payment method in which the University directly deposits a payment into an employee’s bank account. This method is available for travel payments only if the individual is an employee of the University and has elected direct deposit for his or her payroll check.

Domestic Travel

Travel within Japan


Employee is defined as someone who has been directly hired by the University. They can be either permanent or on fixed-term contracts. Part-time employees who have been hired directly by the University are also considered employees.

Extended Travel

Travel that exceeds 30 consecutive days.

Foreign National

An individual who is not a citizen of Japan


Defined in Chapter

Foreign Travel

Travel outside Japan or travel from and to Japan


Payment to an individual in return for professional counsel, a seminar or guest lecture, service on an OIST committee etc. at the request of the University.

Incidentals Expenses

Minor expenses included in the per diem rate for "meals and incidentals" (M & I).

Key administrative staff

Staff that report directly to the President

Lodging Allowance

Allowance for accommodation including breakfast
Meetings Meetings or Ceremonies to promote University activities, goals, and mission.

Miscellaneous Expenses

Expenses for ground transportation (e.g., taxis, airport shuttle services, public transportation) and other various non-personal expenses. Miscellaneous expenses include tips, mailing expenses, etc. 

Moving Expenses

Travel expenses associated with an employee's move to a new regular place of business.

Official Travel

Travel on approved university business between “home” (i.e., regular place of business) and another destination. Travel between one’s personal residence and one’s regular place of business is commuting, not official travel.

Ordinary, Necessary, and Reasonable Expense

An expense is ordinary if it is normal and customary. An expense is necessary if it is appropriate and helpful to the business. An expense is reasonable if a prudent person would incur the expense in similar circumstances.

Original receipt


The original merchant receipt or invoice issued by the supplier or service provider to document and substantiate the business transaction. When the original receipt is not available or does not contain adequate information, a cancelled check, credit card receipt, supplier statement, or a paid notice will be accepted.

Outside Duty 

Business travel within the area of 80 km that does not require lodging

Participating/preferred Travel Agencies <PTA>

Travel agencies at which you will receive the University's discounts or superior service for travel-related services, e.g., airfare, hotels, car rentals.

Per diem

Standard allowance for meals and miscellany expenses for travel with at least one of overnight stays (same as Daily standard allowance - DSA).

Personal Expense

An expense for personal items such as clothing, luggage, toiletries, newspapers, magazines, movies, or other entertainment.

Proof of Payment

Documentation that reflects date, amount, and that a payment was made (cash register receipt, credit card receipt, a bank or credit card statement, a copy of a check, or a cancelled check).


A written acknowledgement that something has been received; some receipts do not include key information required by accountable plan rules such as date, amount, description of good or service, etc.

Senior Level Executive

Defined in Chapter

Senior staff

CEO/President, Vice CEO/Senior Vice President, Provost, Secretary General, Dean, Vice President, Faculty, Auditor

Signature Authority

The authority to make a payment from a unit operating account.

Sponsored Project

A signed award (grant, contract, or cooperative agreement) under which the university agrees to perform a certain scope of work for an external sponsor.

Sponsoring Agency

A governmental or private organization that provides funding for a sponsored project.



Written documentation to support an incurred business expense that includes the original receipt, documentation of business purpose, time and place, names of persons in attendance, and appropriate expense report or voucher for the incurred cost as evidence that the expenses were incurred or paid.

Sufficient Documentary Evidence

Information and documentation that, when taken as a whole, substantiates the expense and business purpose under the accountable plan rules. Sufficient documentation should include who, what, when, where, why, and how much.


Supervisor is the individual who evaluates the employee's performance, recommends salary adjustments, and is the hiring authority for the position.

Temporary Work Site

A work location away from an individual’s regular work site. Travel expenses qualify as business expenses only if the traveler is “away from home” at a temporary work site. An assignment that is expected to last more than 12 months is classified as indefinite, not temporary.

Transaction Authority

The authority to commit the university to receive or expend resources.

Travel Advance

Payments made to or on behalf of a traveler prior to travel, and recorded in a receivable account in the university's accounting system.

Travel Expenses

For tax purposes, the ordinary, necessary, and reasonable expenses of traveling away from home to a temporary work site.

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