Unreasonable or Not?

The university is demanding that I provide my personal credit card statements in order to reimburse me for the trip to the MLA. Nobody else has to do this. Just me. I have provided all the paperwork we all normally do, but now all of a sudden it’s the credit card statement or no reimbursement.

Folks, am I being unreasonable in having a problem with turning over my private credit card statements to a state university? I feel it’s extremely intrusive and unfair because nobody else has been asked to do this ever, as far as I know.

I don’t consider myself to be a crazy libertarian chick but there’s got to be a limit to the state intrusion. Especially a selective state intrusion where some people get singled out for no discernible reason.

18 thoughts on “Unreasonable or Not?

  1. I can’t speak to the university’s justification, don’t know the university’s specific rules. But here’s a suggestion:

    Make a xerox copy of the relevant credit card statements, then take a marker pen and black out everything on the page not related to the trip. Also black out your card number, which is none of the university’s business. Then turn in this “redacted” document.


    1. I’m not going to do this because I’m tired of always being singled out. I have no idea what causes this but it’s always me who is being denied funding under ridiculous pretexts.

      It’s been going on for months. They keep requesting more paperwork that nobody else is asked to provide and it’s always insufficient. I think they are looking for excuses.


  2. Surely they must provide a reason for singling you out? Can’t you ask the person who gave you these instructions? And yes, I think it is unreasonable if it’s just you with no explanation.


  3. Why do I keep thinking your membership in a couple of organizations has something to do with this increased scrutiny?

    If you decide to do that, black out everything which isn’t a trip expense for which you are asking reimbursement?

    These people seem to be leaning toward the actual receipts vs. the credit card statements for expense reimbursement:
    Thoughts on Credit Card Statements as Back Up for Expense Reports Instead of Original Detailed Receipts

    Credit Card Statements and Taxes

    There is a notion that all you need for an audit is a credit card statement. According to this theory, no other receipt is necessary. This belief may not be true. I want to be perfectly clear: credit cards are not necessarily accepted as receipts. At an audit, one should provide two sides for most deductible expense transactions: a) record of payment and b) receipt for payment. A credit card statement is the record of payment only. Generally, you should also have a receipt. Some time ago one of my clients got audited. Her father is an attorney. He counseled her that all she had to do was present her credit card statements and those would serve as receipts. She called to tell me that I was wrong about credit card statements not being receipts. After all, her father was an attorney. I asked if her father was a tax attorney. The answer was that he wasn’t. I told her that she had her choice: she could decide on her own what she wanted to do but I explained that logically a credit card statement couldn’t explain what each entry represented. A receipt was needed to give the details of the purchase. For instance, one could buy something at a store that was tax deductible or buy something that wasn’t. Without a receipt you couldn’t show the detail that would prove what the item was. She chose to do what I said which was to provide the receipts along with the credit card statements. Her audit went well. At the end she asked the agent what would have happened if she had only provided credit card statements. The agent said that all of her deductions would have been denied.


    1. You know? It’s always a problem that I have and nobody else at the department does. I don’t want to be paranoid but at some point you’ve got to wonder.

      I provided the actual receipts. But somehow access to my private information is now needed.


  4. I’ve done this on a few occasions when the charges were international, and I wanted to get reimbursed at the rate I actually paid. As mentioned above, I just redacted everything they didn’t need to know. But you’re right, it is weird if you’re the only person they ever ask these additional details (and potentially personal information) from.


  5. You are most reasonable at not being comfortable with sharing your credit card statement. The uni does not provide a business credit card? And if not, can you ask them for the money beforehand? That is what I used to at the uni that didn’t provide a credit card. It is such a pain in the neck.


    1. Of course, it would be ideal if the university just paid directly and spared me the trouble. And that’s how it used to be done. But now all of a sudden they say, no, you pay, and we’ll reimburse. Obviously because then it’s easy to create so many hurdles that one never gets reimbursed.

      Of course, I could dedicate all of my time to getting together this new paperwork, but then I wouldn’t be the person who gets invited to speak at the MLA because I would have no time for actual research.


  6. I had to do this once when the receipt I got was somehow “deficient” in terms of the information provided on it. I did what others have suggested and blacked out all of the other purchases on it with a marker. It was annoying, but at least the accountant who asked me to do it was somewhat apologetic about it.

    Re: Lucy – My university is VERY strict about who can have a business credit card. They used to be pretty common, but they really tightened up on it after there were some abuses.


  7. Can you just give them the portion of your statement that has the hotel and flight expenses, and black everything else out on the page?


    1. I have no idea which card it was or even which month. I’d have to spend God knows how much time requesting last spring and summer statements from all the cards (including N’s), with no guarantee that this massive waste of time will produce any results.

      And I can’t get over the fact that we don’t normally have any people who present at the MLA. It’s a very big deal. And yet, not only is there no recognition of this, I’m treated worse than everybody else.


  8. Somewhere in the bowels of the beast there is a policy and procedures manual that dictates the necessary documentation for reimbursements on travel expenses. Find a copy and use it against them if you can. This sounds like administrative dickery.


      1. “this sounds very reasonable”

        then why did it take so long for such a distinguished crowd to come up with it?

        my suggestion would have been to provide the statement (with personal information blacked out) and then produced fingerprints, and urine, blood and stool samples and ask where their retina scanner is…

        avenger’s advice is maybe better, if you don’t want to find the information in the manual yourself then maybe you could be prissy and insist on them providing the information “Where in the regulations does it state that credit card statements needs to be provided?” if they stall “So you’re saying that university regulations don’t apply to you and you can simply demand anything you want from me?”


        1. There is also a bunch of complicating factors that I don’t want to bore people with. The credit card bill is probably in my husband’s name because he’s the one who usually does all our bookings. He has a different last name,so how do I demonstrate we are related? By providing a marriage certificate?
          And then the actual amount I paid at the hotel is different than the original booking. Because I ordered a bunch of room service, which obviously I’m not asking the university to pay for. I paid that myself but the final bill ended up different from the original booking amount. If I’d known this would suddenly be an issue – and it never was and isn’t for anybody else – I would have done it differently.

          I had just gone to the Dominican republic, and did everything as usual, and there was no problem.

          What happened between the DR and the MLA? Well, that’s when I was particularly active on behalf of the union, calling out the union-busting Chancellor in person and in public.

          I’m not saying these events are related. But I wonder.


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