41.121: Reimbursement for Official Travel and Entertainment
SUPERCEDED on May 29, 2013
|Approved on January 21, 2005||Signatures and dates
on archival copy
Director of Procurement Services
|Herman ("Butch") Hill, Chair
Policy and Procedure Review Committee
Interim Vice President for Finance and Administration
- Ohio Revised Code 126.31 enables employees of the University to be reimbursed for actual and necessary travel and other expenses incurred while on official business inside or outside the State of Ohio if authorized by the University. This Policy outlines the procedures and authority for expenditures and reimbursement for official travel of University employees and students.
- Persons traveling on University business should incur the lowest practical and reasonable expense while completing the travel process in an efficient and timely manner. University travelers have the duty to avoid impropriety, or even the appearance of impropriety, in any travel expense.
I. Preliminary Preparation
- Go to the Finance division web-site - http://www.ohio.edu/finance/.
A. Select Travel
- If you are a first time traveler, or it has been over three years since you last attended a travel training session, you are encouraged to sign up for training by following the instructions provided on the Web site.
- If you do not have a travel manual, download a manual from this site for review.
- Check the per-diem allowance (standard, per-day dollar amount to cover Meals and Incidentals) for your destination.
- Review currency conversion for foreign travel.
B. Select p-card
- Review p-card policy and check your dollar limits at the p-card home page (use the on-line access to account information).
- Call the p-card Office (3-1960) at least 3 business days prior to travel if adjustments are needed.
- If you do not have a card, you may obtain application forms from this site. Apply at least three weeks prior to travel. Cards limited to travel-use only are available, as are a range of dollar limits. Contact the p-card Office at 593-1960 to discuss your specific needs.
II. Travel Advances
- Travel advances are funds issued to the traveler, prior to departure, to cover expenses. To request an advance:
- Download request form from: http://www.ohio.edu/finance/forms/travel.cfm.
- Submit form to the P-Card Office at least 10 business days prior to travel.
If an advance has been issued, a Travel Expense Report (TER) must be submitted within 15 days of the traveler's return, with reimbursement check attached if needed. See Policy 03.015, "Travel Advances," for details.
Any unused monies should be turned in to the Cashier's Office at 010 Chubb Hall with a copy of the completed Travel Advance form.
III. Payments and Reservations Prior to Travel
- The traveler's p-card is the preferred method for pre-travel payments and reservations. However the department secretary or department head's card may also be used, but for the travel arrangements listed below only. A p-card is required for the purchase of airline tickets for University employees.
A. Registering for the Event
- Keep a copy of your registration form (print a copy of on-line forms and meeting agendas). Information about activities and what is included in the fee must be submitted with the Traveler Expense Report, and attached to the p-card statement if the p-card is charged. Registration fee may not include extraneous activities (golf-outings, fun runs, museum tours, etc.) if they can be reasonably separated from the total.
Use of the p-card is required for the purchase of airline tickets for University employees. University employees will not be reimbursed for the purchase of airline tickets. Advance purchase is strongly encouraged. If a flight reservation is changed or canceled and results in an additional fee, a reason must be provided in the p-card Notes screen. If the purchase is on-line, print and save confirmation showing origin, destination, price paid, and method of payment.
- For domestic travel:
Only coach class tickets, or their equivalent, may be purchased. Exceptions must be explained and approved in writing by the President, Provost, or a Vice President. The approval must be attached to the p-card statement, Travel Expense Report, or Direct Payment form, as appropriate.
- For international travel:
If flight time approximates five or more consecutive hours from the United States port to the overseas port, a "less-than-first class" (e.g. business class) ticket may be purchased.
C. Hotel Reservations
- The department head or department secretary's card may be used to hold the reservation, but may not be used for final payment. If hotel policy requires pre-payment of the first night's room charge, the dept head or secretary's card may be charged for the first night only. See sub-section IX (Lodging) for further information prior to making reservations.
IV. Spousal Travel
- A spouse may travel at the University's expense if the spouse's presence has a business purpose - e.g., the spouse will be delivering a speech or a hosting an event for the University, etc. For Deans and Vice Presidents, reimbursement of spousal travel expenses requires the prior approval of the Provost; all others should obtain the prior approval of the appropriate Dean or Vice President. A copy of the approval must be submitted with the Travel Expense Report, or attached to the p-card statement.
V. Gratuities (Tips)
- Tips may be reimbursed if:
- Tip is 20% or less of the cost of the associated goods or services, or
- The tip is customary and of a reasonable amount in cases where the tip cannot be associated to a specific cost (e.g., a tip to a bellhop).
A. Privately-owned Vehicles Mileage Rate
- Reimbursement is made to the University traveler using the IRS's standard mileage rate (http://www.ohio.edu/finance/travel/). The mileage rate covers all expenses incurred by the use of a privately owned automobile for University business, including gasoline, insurance, maintenance and car washes. When more than one University traveler is transported in a privately owned auto:
- if the auto-owner is a University traveler, then only the auto-owner may claim mileage.
- if the auto-owner is not a University traveler, then only one University traveler per auto may claim mileage. It is the responsibility of that traveler to compensate the auto-owner.
B. Standard Distances Between Travel Points
- Distances are available at http://www.ohio.edu/finance/travel/. If distance claimed, between your point of origin and your destination, is more than 20% beyond the standard distance, an explanation must be provided on the Travel Expense Report (TER). To determine point of origin:
- The first point-of-origin on a TER should be the traveler's primary University work site (per Payroll Office records).
- If you begin your business travel from an alternate location, you may list that location only if the mileage to the destination is less than the mileage from your work site to the same destination.
- If your home is not located in the same city as your primary work site:
- If you begin your business travel from home, mileage between work and home cannot be included in mileage reimbursement totals.
- Travel from your home to a point between your home and your primary work site cannot be submitted for mileage reimbursement.
C. Requirements for Privately Owned Vehicles
- The driver must have a valid driver's license.
- The driver must carry liability insurance on the vehicle as required by law.
- The driver must have no pending traffic violations.
- The driver must wear a seat belt.
- Pay for gasoline out-of-pocket (a p-card may not be used to purchase fuel).
D. Rental Cars
- Rental must have a business purpose.
- Traveler should request the smallest size car that is practical. Upgrades are not allowable unless a written explanation of a legitimate need is provided.
- Driver must have a valid driver's license and no pending traffic violations.
- Seat belts are to be worn.
- Only actual expenses may be reimbursed (IRS mileage rate does not apply).
- Insurance Coverage while on University Authorized Travel:
No form of rental company insurance is allowable for travel within the United States. The traveler who plans to rent a vehicle should print a copy of the Proof of Insurance form from the following site: http://www.ohio.edu/finance/travel/rentcarins.cfm. The traveler should carry this form when using the rental car on University business. University insurance policies cover employees during authorized domestic travel. Comprehensive and collision claims are subject to a $500 deductible to be charged to the appropriate department. Liability coverage has no deductible. Rental Company insurance is suggested and allowable for travel outside the USA only.
- Rental company memberships:
Ohio University employees may register for car-rental company membership cards that simplify rental procedures. Contact the Purchasing and Contracting Office to apply.
E. University Motor Pool
- University owned or leased vehicles are maintained for the use of employees on business. Policy 47.001, "Use of University Vehicles," and Policy 47.002, "Rental of Motor Pool Vehicles," govern usage and rental procedure, respectively. Contact Transportation Services to make arrangements. Transportation Services is located in the University Garage on Factory Street. The University covers all motor pool vehicles for liability.
VII. Air Travel
A. Commercial Airlines
- Purchase of tickets:
A p-card must be used for the purchase of airline tickets for University employees. University employees will not be reimbursed for the purchase of airline tickets. The traveler is strongly encouraged to purchase airline tickets in advance. See sub-section III, sub-sub-section B (Airline Tickets), above, for further information.
- Frequent flyer miles:
The Ohio Ethics Commission has issued Advisory Opinion No. 91-010, which prohibits the personal use of frequent flyer credits by state officials and employees when the credits have been accrued during official state business travel. This Opinion applies to all University travelers.
B. University Air Transportation Service
- University personnel are encouraged to schedule University planes for business travel. Contact the University Airport in Albany to make reservations (597-2602 or http://www.ohiou.edu/airport/). Flight operations personnel estimate costs and assist with flight arrangements. Charges are based upon flying distance, airport charges, pilot services and expenses, and layover time.
C. Private or Leased Aircraft
- Private aircraft expenses may be reimbursed if the pilot has a copy of an appropriate, current pilot certificate and proof of insurance (hull and liability) on file with the Finance Office. Reimbursement may be made on the basis of either the cost of the coach airfare to the same destination (including related costs to and from the airport) or the cost of University Air Transportation, whichever is less. The Hobbs rate is also acceptable. The Avionics Engineering Center may use a cost study for reimbursement. The p-card may not be used for fuel purchase.
A. The 60 mile rule
- Overnight lodging is allowable only if the destination is further than 60 miles from the traveler's primary University work site. The 60-mile minimum does not apply to faculty teaching at regional campuses.
B. Cost of Lodging
- Allowable cost is the single room rate plus tax - unless the other party is also on authorized University travel. If the lodging receipt states multiple occupancy, indicate either the single room rate on the receipt or provide the name(s) of the University traveler(s) who shared the lodging.
C. Method of Payment
- The traveler's p-card is the preferred method of payment.
- Personal charges must be paid out-of-pocket at checkout. Such charges (e.g., personal phone calls, movies) are not permitted on the p-card.
- The traveler's room may not be charged to another person's p-card.
- The p-card may be used to pay for the cardholder's room only, with the following exceptions:
- Persons sharing a room, who are all on University business, may place the entire room charge on one occupant's p-card.
- The rooms of students or other non-University employees (whose presence is clearly related to the business purpose of the trip) may be placed on a p-card.
- The University does not make direct payment to hotels for individual accommodations, with the following exceptions:
- Team travel for Intercollegiate Athletics
- University sponsored conferences
- Organized University group travel
D. Reduced Rate Options
- Government rates:
Almost all hotel and motels have significant rate reductions for government employees, though the number of rooms at discount may be limited. To aid the traveler in obtaining the discount, the back of the purchasing card states: "Ohio University is a government service agency of the State of Ohio". It is best to inquire about this discount when reservations are made. Be prepared to show a University ID upon arrival.
- Other discounts may be available, and should be taken advantage of whenever possible. See http://www.ohio.edu/finance/travel/ for more guidance.
E. Private Lodging
- Reimbursement for lodging in a non-commercial private dwelling is authorized in the amount of $25 per night. Report in the "All Other Expenses" column of the Travel Expense Report, and note as "private dwelling".
A. Business Meeting Meals or Entertainment
- Business meeting meals or entertainment must have a business purpose and must include two or more persons (at least one non-University employee is often included). Costs should be reasonable and customary for the location. Itemized receipts are required for attachment to the p-card statement or Travel Expense Report.
- Use of the p-card:
The p-card is the preferred method of payment for such expenses. Consult the P-card Manual for proper procedures.
- Reimbursement after the fact:
If the expense was out-of-pocket, it may be submitted for reimbursement on the Travel Expense Report. A properly completed Entertainment Expense form (EE-1 available at http://www.ohio.edu/finance/forms/financeforms.cfm) must be attached to provide the proper substantiation required by the IRS. Tips for business meeting meals or entertainment are reimbursable up to 20% of meal cost.
- Alcoholic beverages:
Regardless of the payment method used, alcoholic beverages associated with a business meeting meal or entertainment may be charged to a Foundation discretionary account only.
B. Personal Meals
- Personal meals are individual, everyday meals consumed during business travel. A maximum of three personal meals per day is allowable.
- Same day travel:
University travelers do not qualify for personal meal reimbursement during same-day travel. IRS regulations require that an employee be away from home substantially longer than an ordinary day's work and during the time away from home, need sleep or rest (referred to as the "overnight rule" - i.e., overnight stay is required).
- Partial days of travel:
For partial days of travel, preceding or following an overnight stay, the following time schedule applies:
|Type of Meal||Personal meals are allowable if the traveler:
|Departs at or before||Returns at or after
|Breakfast||7:00 AM||9:00 AM
|Lunch||12:00 NOON||1:00 PM
|Dinner||5:00 PM||6:00 PM
C. Methods of Payment and Reimbursement for Personal Meals
- The p-card:
You may use your p-card to buy personal meals during business travel. Per-diem rates (see next item, 2, below) represent allowable costs. Itemized receipts are required for any meal that exceeds per-diem guidelines. Alcohol is not allowable, and your p-card may not be used to purchase personal meals for other University travelers. Tips are allowable up to 20%.
- Per Diem:
The per-diem allowance is a daily dollar amount covering Meals and Incidentals. It includes up to three meals per day, and the following incidentals: laundry, dry-cleaning, and gratuities (tips). Per-diem allowances vary according to location. Current rates can be found at http://www.ohio.edu/finance/travel/. To choose this option, the traveler must pay for meals out-of-pocket, then claim per diem rates on the Travel Expense Report. The following rules apply:
- The daily rate should be split: 25% Breakfast, 25% Lunch, 50% Dinner.
- Use whole dollar amounts only - round down for Breakfast, and up for Lunch.
- Claim per diem rates only for personal meals at your expense. If the meal was a business meal, was charged to your p-card, was provided by the conference, or otherwise provided, per diem cannot be claimed for that meal.
- No receipts are required for per diem reimbursement
Instead of using a p-card or per diem, a traveler may opt for reimbursement of the actual cost of out-of-pocket personal meals. Per-diem rates represent allowable costs. Itemized receipts are required for any meal that exceeds per-diem guidelines. Tips are reimbursable up to 20% of meal cost. Alcohol cannot be reimbursed.
If necessary during a trip, the traveler may mix reimbursement methods using any combination of the p-card, per diem and actuals. Whenever possible however, the traveler should choose one method per trip.
D. Personal Meals Otherwise Provided
- Meals included in other fees:
If meals are included in fees for items such as conference registrations, long flights, or lodging arrangements, no further expense for those meals is allowable. However, if you are unable to take advantage of such pre-paid meals because of dietary restrictions or other circumstances, you may use your p-card or claim the out-of-pocket expense for reimbursement (per diem or actual). An explanation must be provided in the p-card Notes screen, or on the Travel Expense Report.
- Meals as a Guest:
If you are a guest at a meal (a business or social event at the expense of another), that meal should not be listed for reimbursement on the Travel Expense Report.
X. Telephone Calls
- To avoid expensive hotel surcharges, the use of personal calling cards, cell phones, or the Bobcat Calling Card is encouraged. The latter can be obtained from Communication Network Services (593-1610).
- Business Calls:
Business calls are allowable expenses.
- Business-Personal Calls:
Calls to keep your family advised of your well-being are allowable, but must be kept to a minimum (5 minutes, daily, is maximum).
- Personal Calls:
All other personal calls are the responsibility of the traveler. Do not use your p-card for personal calls on your hotel bill. Pay all personal charges out-of-pocket at checkout.
XI. Miscellaneous Travel Expenses
- Reimbursement may be claimed for parking charges, ferry and taxi fares, and bridge, highway, and tunnel tolls. Tips associated with taxi fares are reimbursable, but not to exceed 20% of the fare. Other miscellaneous expenses may be charged to the p-card or reimbursed, if a full description is provided in the p-card Notes screen, or accompanies the Travel Expense Report. Receipts are required for any expense greater than $75. Traffic fines, towing, and like expenses are not allowable.
XII. Purchasing Card As Travel Card
- The p-card must always be used in accordance with policy set forth in the P-card Manual, available at http://www.ohio.edu/finance/pcard/. Review your manual prior to travel. Some items of note that are specific to travel are:
- The use of a p-card is required for the purchase of airline tickets for University employees.
- Your p-card is the preferred payment method for all allowable travel expenses with one exception: The p-card may not be used to purchase fuel for a privately owned vehicle or aircraft.
- Never charge personal expenses to the p-card, even if you intend to deduct or reimburse them later.
- Reimbursement policies for grants and contracts take precedence over this policy, and may require more comprehensive documentary evidence for expenses. The following requirements apply as a minimum:
A. Conference Information
- While traveling, the traveler must take care to save all documents substantiating the business purpose of the travel. Save conference registrations, agendas and programs outlining basic activities.
- Receipts must show the amount, date, place, and essential character of the expense.
The traveler must save original itemized receipts as follows:
- All Lodging expenses: Hotel receipts should show separate amounts for lodging, meals, telephone calls, etc. (No receipt is required when claiming the $25/night allowable expense for private lodging).
- All Car rentals: The rental agreement and itemized receipt are required.
- Business meeting meal or entertainment: Restaurant receipts should be itemized and show location and name of restaurant and number of people served.
- Actual meal reimbursement in lieu of per diem: Restaurant receipts are required, as described above, if amount claimed exceeds per-diem.
- All other business-travel-related expenses: Itemized receipts are required for any expense greater than $75.
- Credit card statements or charge slips are not acceptable. Photocopies of receipts are accepted only with an explanation of why the original is unavailable.
- Gather your receipts to attach to your p-card statement(s) or Travel Expense Report as appropriate. Personal expenses are not permitted on the p-card and are not reimbursable on the TER. See sub-sections V through XI, above, for a listing of allowable expenses and the policies that regulate each type.
XV. P-Card Transactions
A. Updating information on-screen
- The traveler, or whoever is assigned the duty within the department, should update p-card travel transactions on-screen as soon as possible. Check the P-card Manual for the notes and descriptions that must be included for items such as business meals, hotel stays, etc.
- Receipts for p-card transactions must be attached to the p-card monthly statement and filed in the department. Files are subject to audit by the Internal Audit and Finance Offices.
XVI. Completion of a Travel Expense Report (TER)
- To receive reimbursement for out-of-pocket travel expenses, the traveler must complete a Travel Expense Report (TER) and submit it to the General Accounting and Financial Reporting Office (GAFR), 218 HDL Center. If a p-card was used for all expenses, a TER is not required.
A. Allowable Expenses
- Any amount listed for reimbursement must be for an allowable travel expense and must be accurate. It must also reflect an out-of-pocket expense to the traveler (i.e., it cannot have been charged to a p-card or otherwise provided).
B. Basic Instructions
- The TER is available at http://www.ohio.edu/finance/forms/travel.cfm. Check the website often for form enhancements or revisions. New, higher mileage reimbursement rates are often issued - use of an older version of the form can result in insufficient reimbursement.
- Comprehensive completion instructions can be found in the Travel Manual, available at http://www.ohio.edu/finance/forms/travel.cfm. Incorrect or incomplete TERs delay reimbursement.
- Complete all fields.
- Explain business purpose thoroughly.
- Attach conference registration forms, agendas or programs - whatever is needed to outline basic activities and schedule.
- Attach all required itemized receipts for expenses claimed.
- Include EE-1 form for business meeting meals or entertainment.
- If needed, attach spousal travel approval.
- Even if paid by p-card and therefore not being claimed on the TER, attach a copy of hotel folio (itemized bill) and car rental agreement and receipts.
- Double-check accuracy of per-diem and mileage amounts.
- Include explanatory comments for any unusual circumstances or costs.
- Obtain all needed signatures.
- List p-card charges as reimbursable items.
- Leave information or signature spaces blank.
E. Use of the Same-day TER
- A simplified version of the TER, for simple, same-day, roundtrip automobile travel, is available at http://www.ohio.edu/finance/forms/travel.cfm. Check the website often for enhancements or revisions to the form. Download a new form every January, when mileage reimbursement rates often change.
XVII. Approval and Authorization Process for the TER
- The traveler must sign and date the TER personally, certifying the expenses shown are accurate and qualify for reimbursement per University policy. The TER must also contain an approval signature as follows:
- The approval signature must be that of an individual who is an authorized signer for charges to the account.
- When various accounts requiring varied approval signatures are charged, the individual who is an authorized signer for the primary account should sign as approval authority. For all secondary accounts, the appropriate approval authority should initial the form near the account number entry.
- When the authorized signer for an account is the traveler, a higher-level signature must be obtained.
- Whenever possible, the authorized signer should be the traveler's direct supervisor or his or her designee. The designee cannot be someone supervised by the traveler.
XVIII. Missing Receipts
- A properly substantiated receipt is required for reimbursement or pcard substantiation of business travel and entertainment expenses. See subsection XIII, sub-subsection B, for details. If the missing receipt is:
A. Your airline ticket passenger receipt or coupon
- You must contact the airline for a copy (you may be charged for this service). All agencies are required by the Airline Reporting Commission to keep copies of every ticket they issue.
B. A hotel portfolio
- You must contact the hotel to request a copy or legible fax of the original hotel itemized receipt. A fax originating from the vendor will be accepted in lieu of the original receipt.
C. A personal meal
- Itemized receipts are not required for reimbursement or pcard substantiation if actual cost is less than per diem. If cost is more than per diem, you will be given the per diem allowance for that meal.
D. A business meal or entertainment expense
- Contact the vendor for a copy of the receipt.
XIX. Charging The Correct Natural Account
- Use the following natural account, as appropriate, when updating your p-card travel transactions on-screen, or filling out the account number information on your TER:
|Expenses to be charged against that code
|400000||Travel and Living Expenses - Domestic
|400900||Development and Fund Raising Travel and Living Expenses - Domestic (fundraising, public relations, alumni meetings, etc)
|461000||Business Meetings (does not include conference registrations)
|461900||Entertainment, Public Relations and Social Expenses
|493000||Travel and Living Expenses - Foreign
|493900||Development and Fund Raising Travel and Living Expenses - Foreign
(fundraising, public relations, alumni meetings, etc)
See "Expense Natural Account Code" list located at http://portal.finance.ohiou.edu/nalookup/ for further information.
XX. Submission of the TER
A. Timeline for submission
- The traveler should submit the TER within a reasonable time after return:
- Traveler received a travel advance: within 15 days.
- Traveler used a p-card for all expenses: TER not required.
- All others: within 60 days
B. Where to submit your TER
- For reimbursement by check: The TER should be submitted to the General Accounting and Financial Reporting Office (GAFR), 218 HDL Center. A check will be sent to the traveler for any reimbursement amount owed. A negative amount on the TER represents the amount owed by the traveler to the University, due to left-over travel advance dollars, or disallowed p-card charges. The traveler must return left-over travel advance dollars to the Bursar's Office. To reimburse excess disallowed p-card charges, attach a check for that amount to the TER, made payable to Ohio University.
- $300 or less - Rapid Reimbursement: The traveler may present the approved TER, complete with all attachments, at the Chubb Hall Petty Cash window for immediate cash reimbursement. A web-version of a TER must be used. The traveler will be asked to show University ID, sign for the cash received, and authorize payroll deduction for any amounts subsequently determined not to be in accordance with this policy. The traveler will be notified of any adjustment prior to payroll deduction.
A. Reimbursement By A Third Party
- If it is known that third party reimbursement will occur, no such charges should be incurred by, or submitted for reimbursement to, Ohio University. If a third party pays the traveler's expenses after the University has made payment, the traveler must prepare a check payable to Ohio University for the amount in question. The check must be sent to Procurement Services, 213A HDL Center, referencing the number of the original TER, or the p-card transactions involved. For p-card transactions, a refund form can be downloaded from the Finance website (http://www.ohio.edu/finance/forms/pcard.cfm). The account(s) originally charged will be credited.
B. Relocation Expenses
- For payment of travel expenses related to relocation of new regular faculty and staff, refer to Policy 41.111, "Relocation Expenses". Do not charge these expenses to a p-card, or submit them on a Travel Expense Report
C. Exceptions To Policy
- Grant accounts: Grant accounts, like all other University accounts, are subject to University travel regulations as described in this policy. However, if the grantor specifically authorizes a different policy in writing, the grantor's policy takes precedence.
- Approved exceptions: Any deviations from this policy must be identified as such and must have the approval of those persons authorized to approve reimbursement, and either the Provost or the Associate Vice President for Finance. A copy of the approval must be submitted with the TER, or attached to the p-card statement, as appropriate.
D. Planning Units Discretion
- Greater restrictions: Planning units of the University can amend this policy to make it more, but not less, restrictive. If a restrictive change is desired, a copy of the supplemental policy must be forwarded to the Associate Vice President for Finance before implementation.
- Department adjustments to reimbursement amount: To pay a traveler less than policy allows, the department must deduct the desired amount on the "Less Departmental Adjustments" line of the TER. The traveler should show all expenses "gross" on the TER - i.e., departmental adjustments should all be reflected, and will be accepted, only on the "Less Departmental Adjustments" line.
- Proposed revisions of this policy should be reviewed by:
- Policy and Procedure Review Committee
- Planning Unit Heads
- The forms that are specific to this policy can be found on-line at http://www.ohio.edu/finance/customercare/forms.cfm.
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Dick Piccard revised this file (http://www.ohio.edu/policy/s41-121.html) on May 30, 2013.
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