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Accounting Office


Moving Expense Guidelines

The following guidance is to be used by departments in appropriately classifying expenses, understanding which items are taxable to the employee, and understanding reimbursable moving expenses under NDSU policy 171.
In addition to the General Instructions & Definitions below, there is a Moving Expenses Video and a Moving Expenses and Taxability Table 2014.
It is the department’s responsibility to ensure the expenses claimed for reimbursement are consistent with the limits and guidelines defined by policy.  Certain types of moving-expense reimbursements made to an employee or on an employee’s behalf may be taxable income to the employee and will be reported on the employee’s Form W-2.  For taxable reimbursements, federal and state income taxes, social security and Medicare taxes must be withheld.  The department should inform the employee of this.

Paying for Employee's Moving Expense

Before the move

  1. Authorization for Moving Expense Reimbursement: The department requesting to pay moving expenses for an employee is required to seek approval, in advance, from the Dean or Director, and complete the Authorization for Moving Expense Reimbursement form.

  2. Inform the Employee:  The department should inform the employee on the limitations on such payments, as well as, inform them that the original itemized receipts will be required for reimbursements.  Refer the employee to the moving expenses and taxability table

After the move:

  1. Employee reimbursements: The department will process an Accounts Payable Voucher; attach the applicable moving worksheets, copy of employment contract, authorization form and all necessary receipts/documentation.

  2. Employee: The employee will need to sign the applicable moving worksheets certification line “I hereby certify this itemized statement representing a reimbursement claim for moving expenses is truthful and accurate.  All expenses claimed comply with my institution’s moving expense policy, as well as State Board of Higher Education Policy and the North Dakota Century Code.” Expenses claimed have not been paid by the state through direct payments or a state credit card, and have not been reimbursed or directly paid by an affiliated foundation or an outside entity.

General Instructions & Definitions


  1. Pre-Move House Hunting Expense:  (Per NDSU Policy Section 171, part 4.2) This category includes personal travel reimbursed to employee and spouse for arranging living accommodations; limited to one round trip; length of stay limited to three days; personal travel includes airline travel, or personal vehicle mileage, lodging, and meal expenses. Meal expenses in this category are based on either the employee per diem rates or actual cost of meals (if lower than per diem); No receipt is required for meal expenses if claiming per diem rates.

  2. Moving Personal Goods Expense/Moving Expense/Travel Expense:  (Per NDSU Policy Section 171, part 4.3) Transportation expenses related to moving personal effects and household goods from old to new home. Transportation expenses are the actual costs of moving the personal belongings; may include moving supplies, gas and oil for rental van, storage costs, and moving van expenses may be paid by department or reimbursed to employee.  (Per NDSU Policy Section 171, part 4.1) Travel, lodging and meal payments for expenses of the employee and “immediate family” while in transit from old to new home. “Immediate family” will be defined as someone who is a member of the employee’s household (i.e., anyone who has both the former and new home as his/her home.)  This category includes airfare, mileage and lodging expenses while in transit to new locality. Meal expenses for the “immediate family” related to move from old to new home are based on either the employee per diem rates or actual cost of meals (if lower than per diem – receipt required); No receipt is required for meal expenses if claiming per diem rates.  Mileage Reimbursement, since state policy allows reimbursement at employee rates, the amount above the IRS allowed moving rate will be taxed to the employee and reported to the IRS.  Once destination is reached, temporary living quarters may apply.
  3. Temporary Living Quarters Expense:  (Per NDSU Policy Section 171, part 4.1) Temporary Living Expenses includes expenses once the vicinity has been reached where new home is located; includes lodging, meals, and miscellaneous expenses of employee and immediate family.  Expenses while in transit and in temporary living quarters must not exceed 10 days.

    Overall Amount Limitations – For permanent staff already employed by the North Dakota University System, but transferred to a new work location within the state, reimbursement for the above expenses is limited to the lower of the amount pre-approved on the individual’s Request to Reimburse Moving Expense form, or $5,000 (NDCC 44-08-04.3). For new permanent staff not already employed by the North Dakota University System, moving expenses are limited to the amount pre-approved for the individual on the Authorization for Moving Expense Reimbursement form.

Related Policies and Publications:

NDSU Policy 171 - Reimbursements - Staff and Faculty Recruitment and Moving Expenses
NDCC Section 44-08-04.3 – Moving expense – Allowances – Verification.
SBHE Policy Sections 806.2 & 806.3
IRS Publication 521

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Are expenses associated with moving family pets allowable?
A: No, moving expenses associated with pets are considered personal, and therefore not an allowable expense.

Q: Can an employee be reimbursed for any insurance expenses associated with moving, such as personal property insurance, transportation insurance, or airfare insurance?
A: No, insurance coverage for moving is considered a personal expense and would not be an allowable expense of the University.

Q: Can the employee be reimbursed for any detours they make in route to their new home location?
A: No, the employee will only be reimbursed for the direct route from their old location to their new location.  Additional stops, not in route to the new home location, will be considered a personal expense and the additional cost associated with it will not be reimbursable.

Q: Can a round trip airfare ticket be purchased for transporting employee and immediate family from old home to new home?
A: No, a round trip airfare ticket should not be purchased, only a one-way ticket purchase would be allowed.  An exception to this would be for the pre-move house hunting trip.

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North Dakota State University
Phone: +1 (701) 231-7432 / Fax: (701) 231-6194
Campus address: Old Main 11
Physical/delivery address: 1340 Administration Ave., Fargo, ND 58102
Mailing address: NDSU Dept. 3100 / PO Box 6050 / Fargo, ND 58108-6050
Page manager: Accounting

Last Updated: Wednesday, December 17, 2014 10:14:28 AM