University of Houston-Victoria
Policies

Entertainment and Reimbursement of other Business Related Expenses

Section: Fiscal B-9

Policy

The University recognizes that business entertainment can be essential to the operation of the University. This policy issues guidelines to ensure prudent control of these expenditures.  These guidelines apply to all funds of the University, except those funds appropriated by the state of Texas which cannot be expended for entertainment expenses under any circumstances. (UH System Administrative Memorandum 03.A.02, Entertainment Expenditures)

Reimbursement of other business related expenses may only be made from local funds, state funds cannot be used.

Definition

Entertainment expenses:  Expenditures for food, beverages, and tickets for shows or athletic events which involve one or more University employees and/or one or more guests, and services provided for entertainment purposes (e.g., musicians).

General Guidelines

Entertainment

Use of University funds for entertainment shall be restricted to occasions that can be demonstrated to be of clear benefit to the university and shall be limited to those whose attendance is deemed necessary to that benefit.

Entertainment and other business related employee reimbursable expenses must be approved by an administrative superior.  See UHV Policy B-1, Expenditures and Expenditure Authority.  In every case, an entertainment reimbursement must be approved by the official in higher authority than the highest ranking person of the sponsoring group who is in attendance at the event. All reimbursements to the President, whether considered entertainment-related or not, will be reviewed and approved by the Chancellor or designee.

Categories of Entertainment

Prospective faculty and staff: It is the policy of the University to invite prospective faculty and staff, and on occasion both candidate and spouse, to visit the University. Travel and other reasonable expenses for such activities will be reimbursed; see UHV Policy F-7, Prospective State Employee.

Official guests of the University: The University is not normally expected to reimburse official guests for travel and related expenses, except when guests travel to the University on specific invitation. However, it is recognized that entertainment of guests is essential. Examples of official guests would include: visitors from other universities, individuals interested in University programs or issues, guests invited to assist in the development of new programs (both paid and non-paid consultants), and business and community leaders from Victoria, the Gulf Coast region, and the State at large. The relationship between the visitor and the University faculty and staff attending the function for their areas of responsibility must be clearly documented in the description.

Receptions: Receptions for the students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends of the University held by the President and other designated campus senior officers shall be paid as entertainment.

Conference, workshops, meetings, seminars, etc: In the case of conferences and workshops conducted by the University which are supported by income from registration fees, all expenses, including entertainment, must be covered with the revenue produced by the event.

Meal and/or refreshment expenses for other group meetings which are not self-supporting and limited to University personnel must have specific prior administrative approval. Appropriate documentation shall be provided to administration, indicating that the workshop or conference is essential to the operation of the University and that provision of meals and/or refreshments will expedite the proceedings of the conference or workshop. Approval of the expense or reimbursement request will be considered evidence of prior administrative approval.

Business Meals: Business meals are considered a form of entertainment in which a University employee discusses component university business with another System employee from a different department and/or non-employee over breakfast, lunch or dinner. The business meal must be considered an ordinary and necessary expense and meet the directly-related or associated test, as described in IRS Publication 463, Travel, Entertainment, Gift and Car Expenses.

Payment/reimbursement to the employee is limited to business meals for those whose attendance provides benefit.  Business meals must be accounted for by the employee who charged or paid for the expense; the employee has to have incurred an expense for the meal to be reimbursed. Business meals may not be considered lavish or extravagant under the circumstances. If a business meal is incurred during travel, an employee should not request full per diem for the travel meal for that day.

Individual travel meals are not considered business meals or entertainment, but should be paid or reimbursed as a travel expense.  Meal expenses for one day trips (non-overnight travel) are not considered travel expenses and are not reimbursable.  However, meals included in registration fees for one day events paid or reimbursed by the University are allowed.  Refer to UHV Policy F-5, Travel Arrangements, and UHV Policy F-1, Reimbursement of Travel, for travel expense guidelines.

Allowed Sources of Payments for Entertainment Expenses

Entertainment expenses generally may not be paid with state appropriated or designated tuition funds. However, designated funds can be used for payment of business meals with prospective employees and entertainment expenses for events that primarily involve student (e.g., commencement, student recruitment, student job fairs, etc.). Other funds, such as discretionary funds or donated funds restricted for such purpose (i.e. Unit of Excellence funds, if available) may be used for reimbursement of entertainment expenses.  However, if a business meal is attended by only UHV employees, reimbursement may only be made from donated funds restricted for such purpose, such as Unit of Excellence funds, if available.

Meals and/or refreshments provided for group meetings attended only by UHV personnel may be paid with discretionary funds only if the meeting, workshop or conference is essential to the operation of the University, the provision of the meal and/or refreshments will expedite the proceedings of the meeting, workshop or conference, and specific prior administrative approval was obtained.  Payments for meals and/or refreshments provided for group meetings not meeting these criteria may only be made from donated funds restricted for such purpose, such as Unit of Excellence funds, if available.

No entertainment expenses can be charged to contracts or grants with the University unless such entertainment is specifically authorized by the terms of the contract or grant.

Reimbursement of other Business Expenses

Other business expenses can include employee reimbursement for the purchase of goods or services necessary for ongoing operations. For example, this can include miscellaneous office supplies, small tools, copy services, etc. Reimbursement can only be made from local funds; state funds cannot be used. All employee reimbursements must be approved by an administrative superior. Grant funds may be used if the grant provides for that type of purchase. Itemized receipts are required for reimbursement and the voucher must include the purpose or intended use of each purchase. Purchasing guidelines must be followed regardless of whether an employee requests reimbursement or the university makes payment directly to the vendor providing the goods or services. Reimbursements for refreshments for internal business meetings are considered entertainment reimbursements and are subject to entertainment guidelines.

Documentation Standards

Reimbursement vouchers should include the Business Expense Reimbursement Report and an itemized detailed receipt verifying payment.  If payment is to be made to a vendor, the original invoice is required.
Entertainment expenditures must be documented to show the following:

  • Who:  Identification of the persons or group entertained. If a small group is being entertained (ten or fewer), the names of all persons attending will be shown in the description. For large groups, only the name or names of the honored guests will be shown along with the number of persons attending.
  • What - Purpose and Benefit:  A statement must be included indicating what type of event occurred, how the entertainment benefited the University of Houston-Victoria and clarifying the relationship of the persons in attendance to the particular aspects of the University's programs or activities which will be benefited. (Titles, committee name, field of interest of person being entertained, reason for visitor being on campus, etc.)
  • When and Where: The time, date and place of entertainment.
  • If alcoholic beverages were served, the time that alcohol was served is also required, since employees may not consume alcoholic beverages during normal business hours. Refer to UHS Administrative Memorandum 03.A.02 for additional requirements.

Reimbursement will not be made for entertainment or other business expenditures unless the documentation and proper approvals are complete. Reimbursements that cannot be properly documented or justified will not be paid, and the individual faculty or staff member must bear the cost of the expense.

Deadline for Submission of Reimbursements

Employees must submit their requests for reimbursement of entertainment expenses, including the required documentation, to the department personnel responsible for voucher preparation no later than 60 days after the day the expense was incurred.  Requests for reimbursement of other business expenses must be submitted to the department personnel responsible for voucher preparation no more than one calendar year after the date that the expense was incurred.

Requests for reimbursements submitted after the above deadlines may not be forwarded to Finance for reimbursement unless documentation of approval by the appropriate Vice President is included with the request.

Department personnel responsible for voucher preparation should make every effort to submit vouchers for entertainment and other business expense reimbursements to Finance as soon as possible, but no later than 15 days following receipt of all required documentation from the employee.

In accordance with the Internal Revenue Service accountable plan requirements, as described in IRS Publication 463, Travel, Entertainment, Gift, and Car Expenses, all reimbursement requests submitted to the department personnel responsible for voucher preparation after the above deadlines will be treated as a taxable fringe benefit to the payee.  These vouchers must be routed in workflow through the UH Tax Department and must include a completed Exhibit B, Taxable Payments or Reimbursements to Employees Form as additional documentation.

Payment Method
Payments to employees for reimbursement of entertainment and other business related expenses incurred on behalf of the University must be made by direct deposit.

References

  1. UH System Administrative Memorandum 03.A.02, Entertainment Expenditures
  2. UHV Policy B-1, Expenditures and Expenditure Authority
  3. UHV Policy F-1, Reimbursement of Travel
  4. UHV Policy F-5, Travel Arrangements
  5. UHV Policy F-7, Prospective State Employee
  6. IRS Publication 463, Travel, Entertainment, Gift and Car Expenses
  7. Business Expense Reimbursement Report
  8. Exhibit B, Taxable Payments or Reimbursements to Employees Form

 

Approved by:

Signature Obtained                        09/28/16
Raymond V. Morgan, Jr., Ph.D.        Date
President

Next review date: September 2019
Origination: Finance Department