Claiming Expenses

Expenses going online

The University is moving from the paper expense claims form to SAP Concur eExpenses, for most expense claims.  For more information please see the eExpenses project webpages

All expenses must be in accordance with the four mandatory Principles.
Expenses Principles Logo
  1. Value for money is achieved.

  2. Expenses should only be used when it is not possible and/or practical for the University to pay for the good or service directly.

  3. Costs incurred are for business purposes only, and the individual does not receive a personal benefit.

  4. Only actual and evidenced costs are reclaimed.


The University will only reimburse costs undertaken for necessary business purposes as part of an individual’s requirement to perform their duties of employment or conduct University business.


All expense claims should be properly recorded and evidenced with supporting receipts or proof of purchase and the reason for the claim.


To remain compliant with HMRC regulations, all claimants must provide the following information on their expense form:

  • personal details (name, address, bank details).
  • sufficient information about the reason for the claim e.g. purpose of journey.
  • if the expense was incurred in a foreign currency, evidence of the exchange rate used must also be provided. Appropriate evidence includes:
    • confirmation of exchange rate on date of payment from an established source e.g.
    • evidence from bank, credit or charge card statement of actual rate of exchange.

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It is an HMRC requirement that all expense claims are supported by evidence. In addition to HMRC regulations, some research funders may also require additional documentary evidence of any expenditure incurred (for example a flight boarding pass). Before any expenditure occurs, the claimant should check with their departmental Grant Officer (or equivalent) to understand the documented evidence required for claiming expenses.

Claimants should request detailed receipts as proof of purchase and attach these in support of all expense claims made. In exceptional circumstances, if this is not possible, a full explanation should be provided together with any other supporting documentation as proof of purchase, such as a bank or credit card statement. Any claims submitted without receipts or reasonable explanations may be rejected.


Credit card slips or copies of bank statements alone are not considered sufficient evidence to support a claim as they provide don’t provide detail of the item, good or service paid for. These should only be used occasionally in circumstances when receipts could not be obtained.

Photocopies of receipts where expenses are shared, for example in the case of meals, are acceptable. Where receipts or copy receipts are unavailable, a reimbursement may be made as long as the nature and circumstances of the expense are clearly stated and approved by the department.


It is important for expense claims to be made in a timely manner. For budget management purposes and to avoid the risk of any over spend etc, expense claims should be made within three months of being incurred or two months of returning to the UK.

In exceptional circumstances, when also supported by the head of department and a full written explanation for the delay, late claims may be reviewed on a case by case basis by the Payments team.

Incomplete, incorrect or invalid late claims will not be processed and will be referred back to the authorising signatory with an explanation of rejection. Valid claims will need to be corrected and then re-submitted to the Finance Division for processing. Accepted, authorised claims will not be returned to the claimant or department.

Lack of organisation, forgetfulness or non-awareness of the procedures etc are not acceptable reasons for delay. Disputed cases will be reviewed by the Director of Finance and a final decision regarding payment will then be made. 

Any subsequent amendments made to the Claim Form must be initialled by the authoriser prior to processing or the claim may be rejected.

Any attempt to submit a deliberately false or duplicate claim will be treated as a serious disciplinary offence.

All expense claims should comply with the four mandatory principles and be signed by both the claimant and an approved authoriser in line with their financial limits.

It is the claimant’s responsibility to understand the Expenses Policy and check the legitimacy of any purchase BEFORE it is made to ensure reimbursement of their expenses claim.

For some funders and research grants, claims may also need to be counter-signed by a budget holder/Supervisor/Principle Investigator in addition to the authorised signatory, before the claim can be submitted. This should be checked before an expense claim is submitted.

All claims must be authorised by an approved signatory. Self-authorised claims, or claims authorised by a close relative, member of staff or staff junior to the claimant will NOT be paid.



Confirms expenses claim conforms to mandatory principles and any requirements established by research or external funders, and makes a declaration with each claim submitted to demonstrate:

  1. the principles have been met
  2. full evidence is provided
  3. the claim does not contravene any funding rules
  4. it is a genuine business expense
  5. is completed accurately and is supported by the necessary receipts and documentation

Budget Holder/ Supervisor/ Principle Investigator

If required by the Head of Unit (or delegate), confirms expenditure is appropriate and will be met from their budget, and approves in line with the following:

  1. the principles have been met
  2. the claim does not contravene any funding rules
  3. the costs incurred were required and actually happened
Head of Unit (or delegate)

As the Authorised Signatory, confirms the claim:

  1. conforms to the mandatory principles
  2. complies with the expenses policy and any specific funding requirements
  3. will be met by the budget available
  4. has been coded correctly
  5. has not been previously reimbursed
  6. does not contravene any funding rules imposed by sponsors


All expense claims submitted without an authorising signature will be rejected.

If the claimant’s signature is located incorrectly on the form, the claim will be processed providing all the following conditions are met:

  • Receipts are provided.
  • If the claimant is not a member of the University and not resident in Oxford at the time of the claim, documentation, signed by the claimant, must be attached that clearly ties the individual to the claim being made. This includes: name, address and payment details corresponding with those on the Expenses Claim Form.
  • If the claim relates to a member of the University working overseas for a continuous period of more than one month, the claimant must provide a written declaration reference to the particular claim which contains the wording:

“I can confirm that the claim for reimbursement of [state amount in £] whilst on University business for the period of (date range) is in respect to genuine business expenses, incurred wholly, exclusively and necessarily on behalf of the University.”

  • All other conditions for honouring a claim, as specified in the Authorisation of Expense Claims above, are met.

These arrangements are in place only to deal with exceptions and not frequent occurrences. Expense claims may be refused if these provisions are being abused.

As a general principle, the University will make all payments in Pounds Sterling (GBP). However, where the payee is not resident or has no permanent establishment within the UK, and has no UK bank account, then a foreign currency payment may be allowed.

Where expenses are initially paid out by the claimant in a foreign currency and reimbursement is sought in Pounds Sterling, an exchange rate calculation must be completed as part of the expense claim using a verifiable and reliable source such as, the Financial Times or equivalent, and the rates in force at the time of expenditure. A copy of the source and calculation should be also attached to the claim. Claimants should also ensure that any additional funding requirements in respect of expenditure charged against research grants are adhered to.

If a bank or credit card was used to make a purchase and the exchange rate is itemised on the statement, this may also be used as evidence of the exchange rate used.

For reimbursement of expense claims in any currency other than Pounds Sterling, an explanation should be attached to the claim detailing why this is necessary.

For expense claims to be made in a foreign currency, the exchange rate in force at the time of input to Oracle Accounts Payable will be used unless it is necessary (for example, to comply with funding rules on research grants) to use a different rate.

Where a different rate is required, a calculation should be provided from Pounds Sterling to the currency concerned in the same manner outlined in the above section. Chargeable exchange rate variations will be posted against the default departmental cost centre which means that the actual amount payable to the claimant may vary.

It is the responsibility of each department to understand the full impact of tax on departmental budgets if they choose to bear the tax and National Insurance costs on the individual’s behalf, and the tax implications to individual claimants on any personal benefits received.

If the department covers the cost of any tax owed by the individual for a personal benefit gained, the costs incurred to the department are significant and can be up to 107% of the cost, depending on the individual’s income tax rate.

  • For a basic rate tax payer, the expenses cost incurred to departments will increase by 42%.
  • For a higher rate tax payer, the expenses cost incurred to departments will increase by 89%.
  • For an additional tax rate payer, the expenses cost incurred to departments will increase by 107%.

For further guidance and information, please refer to the Head of Payroll.

Contact us

 : Payment Services
       Finance Division
       University of Oxford
       23-38 Hythe Bridge Street
       Oxford OX1 2ET
 :  01865 (6) 16016
 :  Team contacts