Office of Innovation Services Procurement Guidelines


nb: All purchases in  Buy 2 Pay, RFP reimbursements, Travel reports, and Pro Card receipts require a justification/reasoning. Transactions will not be approved without a justification, as this information is needed for auditing purposes. This rule applies for all transactions and all account types.


Receipts: The finance and research administration team in Innovation Services is your resource for procurement and travel related matters. Please be sure to provide all receipts and documentation to them in a timely manner.


Buy 2 Pay (Electronic Catalog)

MIT offers a convenient purchasing method that does not require credit cards and is automatically tax-exempt. We have several preferred vendors, and their websites can be accessed through the Atlas portal. A step-by-step guide to using the B2P website is available here.

Regardless of the type of account or transaction, as justification is always required. If a justification is not provided the Req will be returned and not approved until it is corrected.

If you plan on having a recurring charge with a vendor, use B2P instead of the p card, especially if the vendor is in the system.


Procurement Card

For each purchase you make with the procurement card, you will need to provide an itemized receipt for purchase over $75 (specially for meals) and a brief explanation of the expense.  Receipts and purchase details are submitted via e-mail[1]. Please include the cost object, GL, and justification along with the receipt.

Per MIT’s new receipt retention policy, our office would like to encourage you to take pictures of your receipts, especially for VPF managed apps, such as reimbursements (eRFPS), procurement card, and travel card purchases (Concur).


There are a few items that may NOT be purchased with an MIT card, so please note that the following items are restricted:

  • Equipment purchases costing $1000 or more, this does not include cell phones, accessories and warranty.
  • Computers/laptops
  • Furniture
  • Rentals/leases (including equipment, furniture, fleets)
  • Travel-related expenses (including hotels, airlines, car rentals, and out-of-state conferences)
  • RAD substances, controlled drugs, firearms, ammunition, and other regulated items
  • Hypodermic needles and syringes
  • Respirators and protective masks
  • All chemicals
  • Gases and gas cylinder rentals
  • Fire extinguishers and space heaters
  • Alcohol
  • Live animals
  • Flowers and plants
  • Contributions, greeting cards (life events such as birthday, get well, sympathy, farewell, etc.)
  • Gifts and gift certificates (except for the Rewards & Recognition program)
  • Cash advances
  • Consulting, profession, or temporary services
  • Software (except standard over-the-counter)

When making purchases, please inform the vendor that your credit card is tax-exempt (the official exemption certificates are available here). The cardholder is responsible for contacting the vendor and recovering any sales tax mistakenly charged to their card, and if tax is never recovered, the cardholder may have to pay the tax out-of-pocket.

Hold Policy:  If a cardholder has three swept charges for which they have not submitted documentation, a hold will be placed on their card until they provide proper documentation for ALL charges to their card (including charges that have not yet swept).

90 Day Holds: If a cardholder is going to have their card put on hold for the third time within a year, the hold will be for 90 days.


Innovation Services P Card Sweep Policy


  • This policy establishes an Innovation Services-specific process for ensuring compliance with MIT’s Procurement Card Policy by addressing Cardholder noncompliance with MIT Procurement Card (or “ProCard) transaction detail/documentation submission requirements.


  • MIT’s Procurement Card Policy requires cardholders to provide purchase details/documentation to the ProCard verifier within 21 days of the purchase. Transactions that are not verified after 21 days are automatically swept to a Innovation Services headquarters account. All swept transactions must be transferred to an appropriate cost object and G/L after the required details/documentation is submitted to the verifier.


  • Cardholders with 3 or more swept ProCard transactions will not be authorized to use the ProCard until the detail/documentation for all purchases on that card have been submitted by the cardholder and validated by the ProCard verifier. Cardholders will still be able to pay for purchases out of pocket and submit a request for reimbursement using the eRFP online tool.


  • Per MIT Policy, it is the responsibility of the cardholder to provide details/documentation for each purchase made with the ProCard within 21 days. In order to make it easier for the cardholder to submit detail/documentation, the finance office will provide an online tool that will allow cardholders to review all ProCard transactions online and complete the required detail and upload the required documentation. The online tool will enable cardholders to monitor the status of ProCard transactions, and will provide weekly email notifications to cardholders and administrative assistants.
  • If a ProCard is placed on hold, the cardholder is responsible for contacting the verifier to report the successful submission of all details/documentation required to release the ProCard hold.
  • It is the responsibility of the ProCard verifier to contact MIT’s Procurement Office to request the release of the ProCard hold once they have reviewed the documentation for compliance. The finance office cannot guarantee the immediate release of the hold.


  • 06c Cardholder Responsibility (



Cloud services purchase is not allowed on the P-card. Examples of such would include but not limited to Amazon Web Services, Dropbox, Google App and etc.


Documenting Meals

Documentation for meals requires a clear explanation of the purpose of the meal and who was in attendance.  This is required to determine allocability – to show the meal is a legitimate business expense. There are two types of meal-related G/Ls, defined by the affiliation of the attendees of the event in question:

  • If any persons present at a gathering with food are not MIT-affiliated, it is considered a “Business Meeting”, and the food G/L 421000 must be used regardless of the content of the meeting itself.
  • If all persons in attendance are MIT-affiliated, then this would not be considered a business meeting, and the food G/L 421200 can be used.


Unallowable Procard Charges:


MIT policy states that alcohol should not be purchased with the pcard. Should an individual wish to purchase alcohol it is best to request an eRFP or use the Travel Card.  If a cardholder’s alcohol purchase is audited by the pcard office, they will have a mark on their record.

Since this is the case, always be sure to break out alcohol with GL 421205 when verifying.  Do not lump in with the food (421000).


Unallowable/Personal Charges:

  • In the event of personal charges made using a ProCard, there are a number of avenues we can take to ensure the funds are returned. Initially, the employee who has made a personal purchase can submit a check to the Finance team, made out to MIT. As well, the employee may request a Payroll Deduction form from the finance team, that will automatically take these funds from the employee’s next paycheck, rather than issuing a paper check.
  • For unallowable purchases, the policy is similar to having sweeping transactions. If a cardholder makes multiple unallowable charges within the same calendar year, their card is subject to a hold, and will need to be reconciled with the finance team to restore purchasing privileges.


Sales Tax:

Because MIT is sales tax exempt, sales tax is not allowable on the pcard.  If a cardholder is charged sales tax, they must seek a sales tax refund.  The alternative is that they write a check to MIT for the amount of the sales tax.



Travel Polices


What is the new Travel Card policy? How is it different than current policy?

The new Travel Card Policy has very specific requirements for filing travel expense reports, and consequences—from warnings to card suspension to eventual card cancellation—for cardholders who use the card, but do not file travel expense reports on time.


  • Travelers are required to submit a travel expense report via Concur, MIT’s online expense reporting tool, within 60 days after the completion of a trip.
  • If no travel expense reports are filed, travelers will be notified every 60 days reminding them of late reports. Once travel expense reports are more than 90 days past due, notifications will be sent to the Administrative Officer in the traveler’s DLC and the Assistant Dean in the traveler’s School.
  • If a traveler does not submit a travel expense report after more than 120 days following a trip, the MIT Travel Card will be suspended.
  • If a travel expense report is not filed after 150 days, the MIT Travel Card will be canceled.
  • If a traveler wants to have his/her card reinstated following suspension, they will need to file all outstanding travel expense reports.
  • A canceled card cannot be reopened or reactivated. Travelers can reapply for a new MIT Travel Card after all outstanding travel expense reports have been filed. Please be aware that the policy above is in force at all times.

This credit card may be used for any MIT-related travel expenses, including trips within Massachusetts. Please be sure to retain ALL receipts when using your travel card, and you must have itemized receipts for food purchases. If you neglect to submit a receipt, you may be required to reimburse MIT for the expense out-of-pocket. You can download the application here. Here are the instructions for submitting a travel request.

There are different restrictions for purchases on your travel card, so please read through the following carefully:


  • Federal regulations prohibit the charging of Business Class or First Class to federally sponsored research projects, unless it is specifically approved by the sponsor and is documented in COEUS. Please be aware of the conditions of your research project when making such purchases.
  • Travelers who have a medical condition necessitating the use of Business Class (or First Class if Business Class service is not offered on the flight) may do so with the submission of proper documentation from the MIT HR Office of Disability Services.
  • Travelers may fly Business Class (or First Class if Business Class service is not offered on the flight) only when the flight has a scheduled in-air flying time greater than six hours or if any part of a round trip is in excess of six hours.
  • Baggage fees and additional legroom purchases are permitted.
  • MIT will not reimburse travelers for airline tickets purchased with frequent flyer miles.
  • Travelers using online or independent travel agencies must document the lowest available coach fare to the destination traveled and submit this information with the completed expense report for proper reimbursement.

Rail Travel

  • Rail travel is reimbursable as long as the total cost of the trip is comparable to, or less expensive than, the lowest available coach airfare.

Private Car

  • Reimbursement is based on the prevailing IRS rate (which can be found here), rounded down to the nearest whole penny. This mileage allowance is intended to cover all transportation and operating costs, including fuel.
  • MIT will reimburse for the cost of ferry transportation, tolls, and reasonable parking charges, in addition to the mileage allowance.
  • Under no circumstances will the traveler be reimbursed for traffic tickets due to parking or motor vehicle violations.
  • No reimbursement will be made for the cost of repairs to the private vehicle, replacement of the private vehicle, or insurance deductibles or surcharges.

Car Rental (READ!!)

  • MIT strongly encourages travelers to use MIT’s partner car rental agencies, which provide volume-based discounts and insurance on vehicles for MIT travelers.
  • When traveling domestically, travelers should NOT purchase insurance offered by car rental agencies when booking a rental car. (One exception: MIT travelers should purchase rental car insurance when renting in Alaska.)
  • When traveling internationally, including Canada, Mexico, Bermuda, Puerto Rico, and the Caribbean islands, travelers should purchase insurance under all circumstances.

Miscellaneous Vehicles

  • MIT will reimburse travelers for shuttle service to and from airports and train stations (including tips), to the extent that such service is not included in air and rail fares, and when public transportation or shuttle service is not practical or available. This includes taxis between hotels and train stations/airports, between appointments, or between hotels and places of temporary duty.
  • The use of 15-passenger vans is not an approved travel expense unless authorized by the MIT Office of Insurance.

Conference Registration

  • Registration fees should be paid using the MIT Travel Card if attendance at a conference or seminar requires air travel or overnight lodging. Registration fees for local conferences or seminars may be paid using the MIT Procurement Card.

Cash Withdrawals

  • Because the MIT Travel Card is widely accepted and will satisfy the majority of the traveler’s expenses, cash withdrawals are issued on an exception basis. Exceptions will be limited to trips to areas designated by VPF Travel as remote locations, where the MIT Travel Card is not accepted and the banking infrastructure prevents other means of payment. Other unusual travel needs may also exist where it would be appropriate for VPF Travel to approve cash withdrawals.
  • The cash obtained through an approved Travel Card cash withdrawal must be used for MIT business purposes, and any unused funds must be returned to MIT after the trip ends.


  • It is recommended that travelers use the MIT Travel Card to pay for immunization charges necessary for MIT business travel. Immunization charges are allowable under sponsored projects and do not need to be charged to a discretionary cost object.

More about MIT’s travel policies can be found here.


Requesting Reimbursements[2]

The Request a Reimbursement for Me link on the Atlas My Reimbursements page can be used to submit a reimbursement request when you have used your personal funds (credit card or cash) to make an MIT purchase. Be sure to keep all your receipts to attach with your reimbursement request. For the policy on reimbursements, see Buying and Paying Policies, Section 4.08. If approved, the requested funds will be deposited to your bank account within 1-2 business days. A step-by-step guide to submitting an RFP (Request for Payment) is available here.


RFPs past 60 days will not be approved.

If you have receipts that need to be processed for reimbursement before July 1, 2022, please send it immediately to Karma for review and approval. This will require extensive justification as to why the transaction is late for submission.


VPF Retention Policy and Procurement Policies

Retention Policy: In light of VPF’s retention policy our office would like to encourage you to take pictures of your receipts, especially for VPF managed apps, i.e.: reimbursements, pro-card and travel card purchases.

nb: for purchases on research accounts, or purchases related to research, all back up documentation and originals will be filed locally.



In addition, this is a friendly reminder to please contact the following for specific related matters:

Benjamin Hampson, Financial Officer, contact for:

  • All inquires related to:
    1. iHQ
    2. Project Manus
    3. Catalyst
    4. iCorps
    5. HK Node
  • All procurement related support in B2P
  • Travel
  • P Card approvals
  • Time sheet approval

Rosaleah Brown, Senior Financial Officer, contact for:

  • General Institute Budget related inquires (GIB)
  • MIx
  • Hacking Medicine
  • HR Matters

[1] Quick Base will replace email by 8/31/2022

[2] MIT does not reimburse sales tax, however exceptions will be made for meal tax. MIT is a tax exempt institution.