Travel & Business Expense Guidelines

Internal Revenue Service publication 463, Travel, Entertainment, Gift and Car Expenses sets out the requirements for travel and business related expenditures. The Williams College Travel and Business Expense Guidelines are based on that publication. The IRS states that ordinary and necessary business related expenses are deductible and reimbursable. The IRS defines ordinary as “common in your field of trade, business or profession”; and necessary as “helpful and appropriate for your business”.  The IRS states that meals, hotels and entertainment expenses cannot be “lavish or extravagant”. The IRS requires all businesses (profit and non-profit) to reimburse employees for travel and entertainment expenses under “an accountable plan”.  For a plan to be deemed “accountable”:

  1. There must be a business reason for the expenses
  2. The employee must substantiate the expenses and
  3. The employee must return to the employer any amount advanced in excess of the substantiated expenses on a timely basis.

To ensure compliance with the IRS, the College has prepared the following accountable travel and entertainment plan.  This document has been reviewed and approved by Senior Staff and our external, independent auditors.  These guidelines apply to all College employees traveling on College business.  Faculty travel funded by federal grants must also comply with federal travel regulations as outlined in their individual grant proposal and in OMB Circular A-21.


The College recommends using the online travel platform Egencia when booking airfare, hotel, rental car and train reservations. This website offers preferred pricing options.