Meeting and Entertainment Expenses

At UCSF "(business) meetings" means expenditures for meals or light refreshments and related services (e.g., labor charges, room rental, equipment rental, and similar expenditures) incurred in connection with meetings of employees to conduct official University business. At least one University employee or other individual representing the University must be present at any business meeting that includes non-University persons.

"Entertainment" means expenditures for meals or light refreshments and related services (e.g., labor charges, room rental, equipment rental, decorations, flowers, and similar expenditures) incurred in connection with events that are primarily social or recreational activities in support of the University's mission. These activities must support an underlying University business purpose such as promoting goodwill or cultivating donors. Entertainment usually has a guest-host relationship, in which an official guest or guests attend an event, at the invitation of a UCSF host, for a business purpose. Although administrative meetings might not typically include a guest-host relationship, they too may incur allowable entertainment expenses. In general, entertainment expenses must be cost effective and make the best use of public funds.

Allowable Expense

Entertainment-Related Expenses

  • University Employee on Travel Status – Entertainment expenses incurred while an employee in on travel status should be itemized and submitted with the Travel Expense Report to ensure that the meals associated with travel are separate from those meals associated with hospitality. Entertainment expenses should not be used to "cover the difference" between the actual expense and the maximum daily travel allowance should the traveler exceed the limit.
  • Prospective Donors, Employees and Student Appointees – The University may provide meals and light refreshments at an event to promote the good will of prospective donors, or to prospective employees and students who are under consideration for positions that required specialized training and/or experience of a professional, technical, or administrative nature.
  • Visitors, Guests and Volunteers – The University may provide meals, coffee and other light refreshments if the hospitality is necessary to the conduct of official University business to visitors from other educational institutions, members of the community, University employees visiting from another work location, medical center visitors and similar guests, campus volunteers, and research subjects.
  • Spouse/Partner of a University Guest or University Host – By EXCEPTION only: The cost of meals or light refreshment may be provided if the expenditure serves a bona fide University purpose.
  • Cash Contributions Included in a Fundraiser Fee – By EXCEPTION only: If a nonprofit community or charitable fundraising event includes a cash donation as part of the meal or registration fee.  Additional documentation must be furnished by the employee and additional approval must be obtained from University Relations.

Business Meeting Hospitality

Reimbursement of expenses for meals or light refreshments provided in connection with business meetings involving University employees are allowed when:

  1. The expenses occur infrequently (not on a routine basis)
  2. The expenses benefit the University and are reasonable and appropriate to the purpose and nature of the business being conducted
  3. Meals taken with individual colleagues at the same work location generally may not be reimbursed by the University unless the business purpose of the meal could not be conducted during working hours.

Employee Morale-Building Activities

The cost of meals or light refreshments for official employee morale-building activities that serve a University business purpose may be reimbursed as an EXCEPTION. Such occasions are:

  • To honor a departing employee who is retiring or who is separating from the University after at least five (5) years of service
  • Employee recognition receptions
  • Annual faculty/staff picnics
  • Holiday gatherings

On-the-Job-Meals

The University may furnish meals to certain employees during work hours when the employees are required to be at their work stations during a normal meal time. These meals can be provided when the department requirements necessitate that meals be provided as a condition of the employee's appointment.

  1. The meal must be approved by an authorized official
  2. The meal must be taken at the employee's work location during his/her working hours

Meals Provided to Students

The University may provide meals or light refreshment in support of the University's educational program, such as:

  • Meals for an athletic team, including training table meals, game related meals
  • Meals or light refreshments provided in connection with the recruitment of student-athletes
  • Meals or light refreshments provided in connection with a class, study hall or other academic-based activity
  • Meals or light refreshments in connection with student orientation programs, commencement
  • Meals or light refreshments provided in connection with a student government meeting, association meeting or other student meeting
  • Meals or light refreshments may be reimbursed for meeting between students and faculty or administrators

Quantity Purchases

Supplies of food, beverages, and related items may be accumulated in connection with official entertainment functions and other activities in order to simplify the planning of individual events and to take advantage of favorable pricing on quantity purchases.

  1. An Inventory Record for Quantity Purchases should be maintained by the department.
  2. Purchases should be limited to the amount that will be used within the fiscal year.

Unallowable Expenses

Some entertainment expenditures cannot be reimbursed because of the nature of the event or expenditure:

  • Entertainment expenses that are lavish or extravagant under the circumstances
  • Expenses that represent additional taxable income to an employee or student under IRS regulations.
  • Monetary contributions to a political campaign or candidate
  • Entertainment expenses for:
    • Employee birthdays
    • Weddings
    • Anniversaries
    • Farewell gatherings (excluding retirement or an employee with at least 5 years of service)
    • The purchase of property or services for personal use or for a non-business reason
    • Expenditures using restricted funds that are not permitted under the terms governing those funds
  • When two or more employees choose to go to lunch together to continue their business as an incidental part of the meal, when the meal is reciprocal in nature or when the meeting could have been scheduled during regular business hours.
  • Business meals that are frequent or occur on a routine basis, such as light refreshments provided at weekly departmental staff meetings. This type of expenditure is treated as taxable income by the IRS.

Exceptional Expenses

Some occasions and entertainment circumstances are considered exceptional and require both departmental and an additional approval.  The circumstances below require approval by the Chancellor or the Chancellor's designee.

Entertainment Expenses that Exceed the Maximum

Entertainment expenses that exceed the per-person maximum require approval by either the Chancellor or a Chancellor's designee. In addition, you must provide a written justification indicating why higher costs were unavoidable and necessary to achieve the UCSF business purpose of the entertainment.

Spouse/Partner of a University Guest or University Host

The cost of meals or light refreshment may be provided if the expenditure serves a bona fide University purpose.

Cash Contributions Included in a Fundraiser Fee

If a nonprofit community or charitable fundraising event includes a cash donation as part of the meal or registration fee, an exception must be granted BEFORE the fee can be paid by the University. The exception request must certify that the employee's participation in the event has a documented business purpose or fulfills the University's role within the community.

Employee Morale-Building Activities

The cost of meals or light refreshments for official employee morale-building activities that serve a University business purpose may be reimbursed as an EXCEPTION. Such occasions are:

  • To honor a departing employee who is retiring or who is separating from the University after at least 5 years of service
  • Employee recognition receptions
  • Annual faculty/staff picnics
  • Holiday gatherings

Tickets

The University may pay the cost of tickets to a sporting, theatrical or musical event furnished to a prospective donor or employee in connection with the conduct of official University business. Note: This does not pertain to tickets purchased as part of a course requirement.

Maximum Meal Expenses

If you entertain guests as a matter of official UC San Francisco business, read the guidelines below for details about the per-person maximum allowable expense for meals.

The maximum amount per person that can be reimbursed for allowable entertainment occasions varies depending on the type of meal served.

Meal Type Maximum per person on or after 01/01/16
Breakfast $27
Lunch $47
Dinner $81
Light Refreshment $19

These amounts include the cost of food and beverages, labor, sales tax, service and delivery charges. The cost of room rental, room set-up fees, media rental, and decorations, etc., are not included in the per-person costs unless these costs cannot be separated by the vendor.

Exceptional Entertainment Expenses

When an entertainment expense exceeds the per-person maximum provided in the chart above, the entertainment is considered exceptional. Exceptional entertainment cannot be charged against State and Federal funds. Exceptional entertainment also requires vice chancellor approval.

Note: In some cases, the vice chancellor of your area may have delegated the authority to approve exceptional entertainment to a department chair or other person.

Receipts

You must submit original, itemized receipts along with the Entertainment Purchase Order in order to receive reimbursement for entertainment expenses. The receipts must identify both food and beverage charges.

Fund Source Restrictions

Alcohol. Only a limited number of funding sources permit the purchase of alcoholic beverages and tobacco products. These product purchases may not be charged to federal or state funds.

Frequency Rules. In order to keep the value of meals provided to employees from being considered taxable income, the meals should only be provided infrequently. UCOP has provided guidelines for providing meals and light refreshments in connection with business meetings, entertainment event, or employee morale- building activity:

  • Meals should be limited to no more than once a month or twelve times per year, per group.
  • Light refreshments should be limited to no more than twice per month, per group.

State Appropriations General Funds (19900A)

  • Any portion of meal expenses in excess of the allowed amounts
  • Alcoholic beverage expenses
  • The costs of tickets to shows, sporting events, and other similar entertainment venues
  • Exceptional entertainment (entertainment requiring approval for policy exception)

Specific and Special State Appropriations (199XXA, 18000A-18199A)

  • Any portion of meal expenses in excess of the allowed amounts
  • Alcoholic beverage expenses
  • Tickets to shows, sporting events and other similar entertainment venues

Contract and Grants Funds

  • Alcoholic beverage expenses
  • Expenses not specifically authorized by the contract or grant award

Other Funds

  • Endowments, gifts, and all other funds administered by UCSF
  • Any expenses restricted by the funding agency

Contracting with Vendors

  • If your meeting will be at a UCSF location, it may not be necessary to bring Campus Supply Chain Management into the process.
  • If you are working through a hotel or non-UCSF facility to reserve meeting space and/or food for your meeting and the vendor does not require a contract, then you do not need to bring Campus Supply Chain Management into the process. Simply work with the vendor and have the vendor invoice UCSF for the services performed.
  • If you are working through a Hotel or non-UCSF facility and a contract is required by the vendor, then you must work with Campus Supply Chain Management, Business Contracts Unit, to have any contract reviewed and approved before proceeding. Start early and ensure you allow sufficient time for Campus Supply Chain Management’s review, potential changes, and negotiation process with the vendor.

Documentation

  • Keep all of your documentation related to the event in one location or folder.
  • Accounts Payable will require a detailed receipt for all expenses and list of attendees including their titles.
  • Keep copies of documents before you send them to other departments, vendors, or individuals.

Approvals Required

Regular Meeting & Entertainment Approval

All expenses related to Meeting & Entertainment will require approval from an individual who has been given approval authority and has a signature card on file with Accounts Payable or was granted an “authorized approver” role in MyExpense.

Exceptional or Additional Approval

Exceptional or additional approval is required for all: employee morale-building and recognition activities; tickets provided to prospective donors, employees or student appointees; entertainment of the spouse or domestic partner of the official host or guest.  Only select individuals throughout the campus have been delegated this authority (Chancellor, VCs, Deans, plus a few high-level other employees). Review the UCSF Travel and Entertainment Approval Matrix to determine who has exceptional approval for your area. Exceptional approvals are submitted to AP/Travel Document Submission using the Supplemental Form for Contracted Facility Rental and Exceptional Meeting & Entertainment Expenses.

A Supplemental Form for Contracted Facility Rental and Exceptional Meeting & Entertainment Expenses is also required when using the BearBuy Facility Rental Form for payment of a deposit to a vendor that cannot supply an invoice.

Cash Contribution or Donations

All contribution, donations, or table fees require additional approval by University Relations. University policy does not permit contributions in connection with any event sponsored by an organization associated either directly or indirectly with a political party, campaign, candidate, or group engaged in an attempt to influence legislation, elections, referenda or similar activities.

Payments to Vendors & Non-UCSF Employee Reimbursement

All payments to vendors must be requested through the BearBuy Meeting & Entertainment Payment Request Form. Non-UCSF employee reimbursements must be submitted through MyExpense.

The BearBuy Meeting & Entertainment Payment Request Form is generally used after the event and shows the story of the event, total expenses, who and how many attendees, funding sources, purpose of the event, type of meeting, date of meeting, etc. However, occasionally, a deposit payable to the vendor is required before the event. If a deposit is required, complete the BearBuy Meeting & Entertainment Payment Request Form, explain that this amount is a deposit, complete as much of the form as possible (you will not have a list of attendees before the meeting), attach supporting documentation (invoice, contract, etc.) and send to AP/Travel Document Submission. If a deposit is requested, a final, “closing and reconciliation” BearBuy Meeting & Entertainment Payment Request Form is required. The final per person amount should be a total of the deposit and the final expenses (total food/beverage, labor, gratuity, sales tax, delivery, and other fees from the event divided by the attendees).

Payments to Employees & Students

All payments to employee and student must be requested through MyExpense using MyAccess Single Sign-on.

MyExpense reimbursement request is generally submitted after the event and provides the business justification, total expense, who and how many attendees, funding sources, types of meeting, date of meeting, etc. MyExpense report must be routed to the appropriate authorized approver. Attach supporting documents and/or itemized receipts and list of attendees including their titles for all expenses.

Service Levels and Accounts Payable Processing

Once the BearBuy Meeting & Entertainment Payment Request Form or the MyExpense report has been approved (approved by authorized, final approver) it will be processed within the published Accounts Payable service level number of days. To follow up on the status of payment, check BearBuy, MyReports or contact the Controller’s Office Solution Center.

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